Henry Rollins, best known for being the frontman of Californian hardcore punk band Black Flag, has been a strong advocate of the punk genre ever since he procured a copy of The Ramones’ eponymous debut album.
In 1980, after becoming a fan of Black Flag, Rollins began exchanging letters with bassist Chuck Dukowski and later decided to invite the entire band to stay in his parents’ home while they toured the East Coast. At the time, Black Flag vocalist Dez Cadena was becoming desperate to move away from singing duties to focus entirely on the guitar role of the band, thus freeing up a frontman spot.
After a partial audition for the role at Tu Casa Studio in New York City, Black Flag eventually asked Rollins to become the new face and vocals of the band. From then on in, Rollins never looked back. Fully immersing himself in the genre of punk, the new Black Flag vocalist became obsessed with the music and, in later years, chose to write about the music as a columnist for both Rolling Stone and LA Weekly.
In one of his articles for LA Weekly, Rollins put together what he believes to be a comprehensive list of the best punk albums ever made. “This list is in no particular order,” Rollins said while fronting his article. “Lists like these often get confusing because they beg the question, what is Punk?”
He added: “Could Wire, also be considered Post Punk? Where do you put bands like PIL, Joy Division, Television, Patti Smith, Suicide, and Killing Joke? What about Gang of Four, 999 and the Banshees?” he meandered.
Partially answering his own questions, Rollins continued: “For me, as a lean definition, I go by the classic UK 1977 graduating class, Pistols, Clash, etc., and go from there.”
“So many great bands and great records in this genre and the surrounding/resulting genres. Best bet is just to get the music playing for as long as possible.”
Here is Henry Rollins top 20 punk albums of all time:
- The Clash – The Clash, 1977.
- Generation X – Generation X, 1977.
- The Adverts – Crossing the Red Sea, 1978.
- X Ray Spex – Germ Free Adolescents, 1978.
- The Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, 1977.
- The Ramones – The Ramones, 1976.
- Eater – The Album, 1977.
- The Damned – Damned Damned Damned,1977.
- The Fall – Hex Enduction Hour, 1982.
- The Buzzcocks – Another Music In A Different Kitchen, 1978.
- The Saints – (I’m) Stranded, 1977.
- UK Subs – Another Kind of Blues, 1979.
- Wire – Pink Flag, 1977.
- The Lurkers – Fulham Fallout, 1978.
- Alternative TV – The Image Has Cracked, 1978.
- The Ruts – The Crack, 1979.
- The Germs – GI, 1979.
- X – Los Angeles, 1980.
- The Minutemen – The Punchline, 1981.
- Stiff Little Fingers – Inflammable Material, 1979.