reggae The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time  

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103.6k votes 8.7k voters 324.1k views 237 items

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. 
list ordered by

1
2,105 596
The Specials is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Specials New Wave, 2 Tone, Ska punk

2
1,617 546
The Skatalites is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Skatalites Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

3
1,611 592
Madness is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Madness New Wave, 2 Tone, Pop music

4
1,007 261
Toots & the Maytals is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Toots & the Maytals Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

5
1,219 470
Desmond Dekker is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Desmond Dekker Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

6
1,581 711
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Noise rock, Ska punk, Third-wave of ska

7
1,132 496
The Slackers is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time

8
906 362
Jimmy Cliff is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Jimmy Cliff Ska, Reggae

9
1,257 669
Operation Ivy is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Operation Ivy Ska punk, Punk rock, Hardcore punk

10
926 388
The Selecter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
OneontaSka added The Selecter New Wave, Ska

11
1,178 437
Hepcat is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Hepcat Ska, Rocksteady

12
840 357
The Beat is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
WallyZialcita added The Beat New Wave, 2 Tone, Pop music

13
1,714 1,018
Reel Big Fish is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Reel Big Fish Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

14
1,114 434
The Toasters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
fatherrhyme added The Toasters 2 Tone, Pop music, Ska punk - Ska, 2-Tone, Dub, 3rd wave ska

19 Things Most People Don't Know About Bob Marley

15
1,016 387
Bad Manners is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Bad Manners 2 Tone, Ska

16
770 285
The Aggrolites is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
OneontaSka added The Aggrolites Ska, Reggae, Soul music

17
604 131
Prince Buster is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
JeffreyBryson added Prince Buster Blue Beat, Ska, Reggae

18
1,401 791
Streetlight Manifesto is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Streetlight Manifesto Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

19
801 620
Mad Caddies is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
fatherrhyme added Mad Caddies Ska punk, Punk rock - Ska, Ska Punk, Reggae, Punk Rock, Pop Punk

20
1,293 732
Less Than Jake is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Less Than Jake Pop punk, Ska punk, Third-wave of ska

21
768 313
Laurel Aitken is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Jean-marieGerard added Laurel Aitken Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

The Best Current Pop Groups/Singers

22
657 267
Derrick Morgan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Derrick Morgan Blue Beat, Ska, Reggae

23
1,136 641
Rancid is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Rancid Pop punk, Ska punk, Street punk

24
787 474
The Pietasters is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Pietasters Ska punk, Ska, Rocksteady

25
1,238 805
Sublime is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Sublime Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Rock music

26
745 459
Voodoo Glow Skulls is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Voodoo Glow Skulls Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

27
611 258
Alton Ellis is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Alton Ellis Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

28
831 341
Fishbone is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Fishbone Heavy metal, Reggae fusion, Hard rock

The Very Best Reggae Songs

29
746 568
Big D and the Kids Table is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Big D and the Kids Table Ska punk, Ska, Reggae

30
551 413
Skankin' Pickle is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Skankin' Pickle Ska punk, Ska, Rock music

31
400 163
Lee Perry is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time

32
709 480
Mustard Plug is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Mustard Plug Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

33
776 562
Goldfinger is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Goldfinger Pop punk, Ska punk, Alternative rock

34
624 455
The Suicide Machines is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Suicide Machines Ska punk, Punk rock, Hardcore punk

35
439 374
The Interrupters is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
OneontaSka added The Interrupters

16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

36
698 529
Save Ferris is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Save Ferris Ska punk

37
626 483
Catch 22 is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Catch 22 Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

38
347 101
English Beat is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
tmcandrews3 added English Beat

39
883 420
The Aquabats is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
The Aquabats Pop punk, Synthpop, New Wave

40
601 257
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra Ska, Japanese ska, Jazz

41
383 214
Delroy Wilson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Delroy Wilson Ska, Reggae, Rocksteady

42
410 385
The Planet Smashers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
OllieRocksteady added The Planet Smashers Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Punk rock

The Best Ska Punk Bands of All Time

43
312 231
Dance Hall Crashers is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Dance Hall Crashers Pop punk, Ska punk

44
448 233
New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time

45
474 327
Mephiskapheles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
behessel added Mephiskapheles Ska punk, Ska

46
445 396
Buck-O-Nine is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Buck-O-Nine Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

47
388 284
Bim Skala Bim is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
Bim Skala Bim Ska punk, Third-wave of ska, Ska

48
651 699
No Doubt is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
No Doubt Pop punk, New Wave, Pop music

49
207 313
The Allstonians is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
RightOn added The Allstonians Ska, Reggae

50
240 209
Los Fabulosos Cadillacs is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Ska Bands of All Time
rex-fett added Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Ska, Rock music, Folk music