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The Best '80s Punk Songs

Updated July 31, 2020 1.4k votes 186 voters 9.7k views39 items

What are the best punk songs to hit the charts during the 1980s? When you think about the 1980's, the decade featured a ton of new(ish) genres, and while punk began more in the 1970s, the '80s featured some of the best tracks the genre had to offer. Let's rank the best '80s punk songs that helped to define the decade and establish a genre that persists to this day.

Punk songs from the 1980s include a wide variety of tracks from the genre. Folks who aren't too familiar with punk have likely sang along to hits like "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash while fans who know the genre a bit more than most are likely listening to Suicidal Tendencies' "Institutionalized" even to this day. The decade also featured many memorable bands like The Ramones, which dropped huge hits like "Psycho Therapy" before undergoing a genre shift that would take the band into more of a pop style. Other incredible tracks that helped to define the decade often associated with the genre itself include "Mirror in the Bathroom," "Orgasm Addict," and "This Ain't No Picnic" by The Minutemen.

Vote up your favorite '80s punk songs on this ranked list, and add any tracks that aren't here already.

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  • 1
    Should I Stay or Should I Go
    80
    28

    Should I Stay or Should I Go

    The Clash
  • 2
    Too Drunk to F*ck
    46
    13

    Too Drunk to F*ck

    Dead Kennedys
  • 3
    Institutionalized
    58
    28

    Institutionalized

    Suicidal Tendencies

    AlbumsSuicidal Tendencies

    More Institutionalized 

    #7 of 31 The Best Metal Songs About Insanity#248 of 284 The Best Rock Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • 4
    Rise Above
    46
    18

    Rise Above

    Black Flag

    AlbumsDamaged

  • 5
    Psycho Therapy
    40
    17

    AlbumsSubterranean Jungle

    More Psycho Therapy 

    #111 of 174 The Best Songs About Being Crazy#31 of 68 The Best Ramones Songs of All Time

  • 6
    Punk Rock Girl
    39
    16

    Punk Rock Girl

    The Dead Milkmen
  • 7
    Orgasm Addict
    38
    16

    Orgasm Addict

    Buzzcocks
  • 8
    Bad Reputation
    45
    23

    Bad Reputation

    Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

    AlbumsBad Reputation

    More Bad Reputation 

    #21 of 21 21 Most Annoyingly Over-Used Movie Trailer Songs#8 of 115 The Best Songs with Bad in the Title

  • 9
    Nazi Punks F*ck Off
    43
    23

    Nazi Punks F*ck Off

    Dead Kennedys
  • 10
    Let's Have a War
    28
    8

    Let's Have a War

    FEAR
  • 11
    Suburban Home
    30
    11

    Suburban Home

    Descendents
  • 12
    Let’s Lynch the Landlord
    29
    9

    Let’s Lynch the Landlord

    Dead Kennedys

    AlbumsFresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

  • 13
    Rock in the Casbah
    41
    24

    AlbumsCombat Rock

    More Rock in the Casbah 

    #679 of 3,866 The Best Songs Of All Time, Ranked#20 of 113 The Best Alternative Songs Of The '80s, Ranked

  • 14
    The KKK Took My Baby Away

    AlbumsPleasant Dreams

    More The KKK Took My Baby Away 

    #58 of 161 The Best Songs to Sing at Karaoke#14 of 49 The Best Punk Songs About Breakups, Ranked

  • 15
    Live Fast Die Young
    22
    9

    Live Fast Die Young

    Circle Jerks

    AlbumsGroup Sex, Group Sex / Wild in the Streets

  • 16
    When the Sh*t Hits the Fan
    22
    9

    When the Sh*t Hits the Fan

    Circle Jerks
  • 17
    Sailin’ On
    27
    16

    Sailin’ On

    Bad Brains
  • 18
    Guilty of Being White
    19
    6

    Guilty of Being White

    Minor Threat

    AlbumsScreaming at the Wall

    More 

    #78 of 93 The Best Songs with White in the Title#87 of 100 The Best Songs With Being in the Title

  • 19
    Pink Turns to Blue
    24
    13

    AlbumsZen Arcade

  • 20
    bottled violence
    5
    0

    bottled violence

    Minor Threat
  • 21
    John Wayne Was a Nazi
    29
    21

    John Wayne Was a Nazi

    MDC

    AlbumsMillions of Dead Cops

  • 22
    My War
    4
    1

    My War

    Black Flag

    AlbumsMy War

  • 23
    Mirror in the Bathroom
    24
    15

    Mirror in the Bathroom

    The Beat

    AlbumsSpecial Beat Service, I Just Can't Stop It

  • 24
    Bata Motel
    2
    1

    Bata Motel

    Crass

    AlbumsPenis Envy

  • 25
    England Belongs To Me
    2
    2

    England Belongs To Me

    Cock Sparrer

    AlbumsShock Troops