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The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time

People may not realize this, but ska music originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ska music's influence ranges beyond ska bands. Without ska music, genres like reggae and rocksteady may not have come to be. The ska beat is heavily influenced by American R&B music and has grown into one of the most popular standalone musical genres. It is also one of the most distinct - famous ska bands are rarely confused as being from another genre. The best ska bands are some of the most popular in the world due to the eclectic sound and the diverse instruments used in shaping the music. Ska bands had a surge in popularity in the 1990s with albums like Sell Out (Reel Big Fish) and Super Rad! (The Aquabats) taking over the radio waves. This is the era where some of the best ska bands emerged and haven't let up since.

So, what are the best ska bands? Any list of ska bands has to include names like Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, The Specials, Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, the Aquabats and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. These bands are widely considered some of the best in the genre and with good reason. With some of the best ska songs, exciting live shows and a sound that encapsulates the best of what ska music has to offer, there's no doubt that these bands are rightfully considered at or near the top of the list of ska bands.

That said, it's up to to you to determine what are the best ska bands. If you notice that a ska band is missing from this list, feel free to add them. This list answers the questions "who are the best ska bands of all time?" and "who is the greatest ska musician ever?" If you know enough about the genre, please vote based on the quality of the band's music instead of just voting for the most popular ska bands that you might've heard of. 

The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time Bands/Musicians
  • 14 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 776
    - 190

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Specials, Ghost Town, In the Studio

    ; buy at  
  2. 2
    + 520
    - 130


    Ball of Fire, Lucky Seven, In Orbit

    ; buy at  
  3. 3
    + 565
    - 162


    Our House: the Original Songs, The Rise & Fall, One Step Beyond…

    ; buy at  
  4. 4
    + 603
    - 173


    Let's Face It, Question the Answers, Live From the Middle East

    ; buy at  
  5. 5
    + 494
    - 131


    Lint Rides Again, Energy, Plea for Peace

    ; buy at  
  6. 6
    + 424
    - 169


    Peculiar, Slackness, Close My Eyes

    ; buy at  
  7. 7
    + 395
    - 140


    The Harder They Come, Israelites, This Is Desmond Dekkar

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  8. 8
    + 414
    - 114

    added by fatherrhyme
    Dub 56, Skaboom!, Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down Ska, 2-Tone, Dub, 3rd wave ska

    ; buy at  
  9. 9
    + 524
    - 260


    Somewhere in the Between, Everything Goes Numb, 99 Songs of Revolution: ...

    ; buy at  
  10. 10
    + 416
    - 174


    Oolooloo, Willis, All Day

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  11. 11
    + 637
    - 315


    Everything Sucks, Cheer Up!, Turn the Radio Off

    ; buy at  
  12. 12
    + 357
    - 139


    Out of Nowhere, Right on Time, Scientific

    ; buy at  
  13. 13
    + 306
    - 101


    The Harder They Come, Jimmy Cliff, Many Rivers to Cross

    ; buy at  
  14. 14
    + 480
    - 246


    Hello Rockview, Pezcore, GNV FLA

    ; buy at  
  15. 15
    + 394
    - 167


    …and Out Come the Wolves, Let's Go, Indestructible

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  16. 16
    + 347
    - 118


    Stupidity, Gosh It's... Bad Manners, Mental Notes

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  17. 17
    + 271
    - 170

    often listed & added by fatherrhyme
    Just One More, Quality Soft Core, Duck and Cover Ska, Ska Punk, Reggae, Punk Rock, Pop Punk

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  18. 18
    + 480
    - 310


    Sublime: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, 40oz. to Freedom, Sublime ...

    ; buy at  
  19. 19
    + 231
    - 57

    ranked low on reranks & added by OneontaSka
    Dirty Reggae, The Aggrolites, IV

    ; buy at  
  20. 20
    + 266
    - 113

    added by WallyZialcita
    I Just Can't Stop It, What Is Beat?, Special Beat Service

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  21. 21
    + 99
    - 13


    The Harder They Come, Funky Kingston, Sweet and Dandy: the Best of Toots ...

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  22. 22
    + 295
    - 123


    Pray for Mojo, Big Daddy Multitude, Skapocalypse Now!

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  23. 23
    + 262
    - 165

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Porch Life, Shot by Lammi, How It Goes

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  24. 24
    + 197
    - 74


    Seven Letters, I Am the Ruler, Moon Hop

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  25. 25
    + 240
    - 102


    The Potty Training Years, Symbolic, Baile de los Locos

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  26. 26
    + 185
    - 69


    Mr Soul of Jamaica, Cry Tough, Sunday Coming

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  27. 27
    + 210
    - 124

    added by OneontaSka
    Out on the Streets, Celebrate the Bullet, Street Feeling

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  28. 28
    + 239
    - 146


    Keasbey Nights, Alone in a Crowd, Washed Up and Through the Ringer!

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  29. 29
    + 228
    - 121


    Battle Hymns, War Profiteering Is Killing Us All, A Match and Some ...

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  30. 30
    + 203
    - 129


    Sing Along With Skankin' Pickle, Skankin' Pickle Fever, Skafunkrastapunk ...

    ; buy at  
  31. 31
    + 270
    - 181


    Stomping Ground, Teen Beef, Open Your Eyes

    ; buy at  
  32. 32
    + 254
    - 162


    It Means Everything, Introducing... Save Ferris, Modified

    ; buy at  
  33. 33
    + 188
    - 93

    added by Jean-marieGerard
    The Pioneer of Jamaican Music, Godfather of Ska, Volume 3

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  34. 34
    + 161
    - 107

    added by OllieRocksteady
    Mighty, No Self Control, Life of the Party

    ; buy at  
  35. 35
    + 212
    - 143

    added by OneontaSka
    Dirty Jersey!, Blood, Sweat

    ; buy at  
  36. 36
    + 200
    - 206

    Ranked High on Reranks
    Rump Shaker, Dance Like Nobody's Watching, Origin Edition

    ; buy at  
  37. 37
    + 179
    - 130


    Twenty-Eight Teeth, Songs in the Key of Bree, Sustain

    ; buy at  
  38. 38
    + 307
    - 107

    ranked low on reranks
    Truth and Soul, The Reality of My Surroundings, It's a Wonderful Life

    ; buy at  
  39. 39
    + 92
    - 89

    often listed & added by OneontaSka
    Family, Liberty, The Interrupters

    ; buy at  
  40. 40
    + 220
    - 236

    often listed
    Tragic Kingdom, Rock Steady, Icon

    ; buy at  
  41. 41
    + 288
    - 128

    ranked low on reranks
    The Aquabats! vs. The Floating Eye of Death!, Punk Goes Metal, The Fury of ...

    ; buy at  
  42. 42
    + 82
    - 102

    often listed & added by RightOn
    Go You!, The Allston Beat, Bottoms Up!

    buy at  
  43. 43
    + 113
    - 71

    added by OneontaSka
    Live! Volume 1, Ska in Hi-Fi, The Scofflaws

    buy at  
  44. 44
    + 208
    - 80

    ranked low on reranks & added by behessel
    God Bless Satan, Maximum Perversion, Might-Ay White-Ay

    ; buy at  
  45. 45
    + 158
    - 107

    added by OneontaSka
    ... The Infamous, Banished to Bogeyland

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  46. 46
    + 122
    - 162


    Soul Caddy, Ferociously Stoned, Kids on the Street

    ; buy at  
  47. 47
    + 104
    - 107


    No Gods, No Managers, Crack Rock Steady / Squatta's Paradise

    ; buy at  
  48. 48
    + 81
    - 84


    Destroy What Destroys You, All Fall Down, 24 Hour Roadside Resistance

    ; buy at  
  49. 49
    + 133
    - 177


    Upbeats and Beatdowns, Our Newest Album Ever!, All the Hype That Money Can ...

    ; buy at  
  50. 50
    + 77
    - 95


    Special Wild 1989-1994, Demonstration, What You Can Do

    buy at  
153 +

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