While many can agree what songs are on the best of all-time punk classics, here are some songs that are rarely considered but should still carry a torch as creating punk and transcending it:
Walking with a Ghost by Tegan and Sara
The ferocious slap of the guitar and the marching band guitars from the pixie chalky twins is a one of legend because its instantly infectious beat sounds like the summoning of the rock god from a 24 hour party séance.
Be My Wife by David Bowie
The Jerry Lewis-esque ragtime piano rock-out intro kicks off a jambalaya effect of guitars and drums as The Thin White Duke makes an eleventh-hour request to his cover girl starter wife Angelina in attempt to save their marriage. The most conventional punk rock song on the surrealist classic Low, Bowie struts his rock star image and shows his bones at the same time.
I Will Dare by The Replacements
A staple on college radio, this punk alternative rock inspired Green Day to terrorize the airwaves and took on a more simplistic songwriting that talked about growing up in a busy world.
Rock the Casbah by The Clash
This dance punk classic about the fabulist account of totalitarian sharif’s ban on punk rock music and the people that defied him is a stereophonic sensations was actually inspired by their manager Bernie Rhodes heard an interminable track and the result: Joe Strummer penned the coup d’état club-thrasher with an epic line, The King told the boogie-men ‘you have to let that rāga drop,’ and more lyrics followed. A song that sounds like its being played through the Zeus’ ghettoblaster, is still as radiant as it was in 1982.
Radio Radio by Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Known as the “pop encyclopedia” because of his far reach into several diverse genres, Elvis Costello dropped this punk rock new wave classic with the signature 50s rock ‘n roll piano jingle in 1978 and was full of moxie. Protesting the widespread commercialization of radio broadcasts and the selective hearing of record companies and the airwaves—which decided what was considered “good” for audiences—Costello hit the motherlode of pop perfection with this classic. He even referenced “God Save The Queen” to drive the nail in faster.
Chick Habit (Laisse tomber less filles) by April March
Film auteur Quentin Tarrantino had something right when he added this song to the sassy badass chick-with-ammo horror classic Death Proof. . song that was relatively forgotten came into pop conscious at the climax of the film when the girls start kicking the crud out of mass murdering speed demon Stuntman Mike. The result, the song with the 60s wild party razzle-dazzle jingle jam became an in-demand item on free-sharing sites everywhere.
Venus by Television
Ephemeral, urgent and simply beautiful with its cascade of drums and garage guitar flourishes, the boys of TV land made a punk classic on their not-a-bad-song-in-the-bunch Marquee Moon.
Walking in LA by Missing Persons
Karen O of the New York City underground bar crawl scene-stealers Yeah Yeah Yeahs took notes with a pen ready somewhere when this new wave punk staple crushed radio airwaves. Dale Bozzio’s killer tigress sex appeal and bloodcurdling a kewpie baby doll vocal amidst orange alert synths make the urgency even more pressing and we get to come along for the ride.
Eat to the Beat by Blondie
The flashy, ferocious, furious and feisty punk staccato of Debbie Harry’s rip and roaring hebephrenic feline riot grrl yowl is enough to sell the song, but its Clem Burke carpal tunnel inducing drum smashing, Nigel Harrison steady bass line, and so great guitar licks from Chris Stein and Frank Infante! The boys finally give the bottle blonde focus a run for her money.
Spiderwebs by No Doubt
After invading radio with their massive international debut, the candy-eyed third wave ska droogs divvy up a starling second single with hair metal guitars, reggae horns, post-grunge basslines and Stefani’s Ethel Merman wails defied convention and wrote them off as one-hit wonders at a time where critics checked them off as being too Blondie-esque. The urgent little girl gone astray coos about avoid the telephone calls of a psycho persistent man was (and is still) used on people’s answering machines.
In The City by The Jam
Never quite staying inside the tiny conventions of what is considered punk rock music, this lovely band of bollocks cut a very sweet record and success was the ultimate pay-off.
Basket Case by Green Day
Rounding off the list of legendary face melters in punk rock, is the ever juvenile “Basket Case” by Green Day. Okay, maybe “juvenile” is not the right term to describe a song about panic disorder and fearing you’re off the rocker. Maybe if you were referring to “Longview,” the other big standout from their magnum opus Dookie, but certainly not this song that starts of with a solemn Billie Joe Armstrong strumming before Mike Dirnt comes in with the power chords and Tré Cool starts slapping the hell out of the drums. Epic.