Top Punk Bands of the ‘80s

Even if punk rock’s first wave was a ‘70s phenomenon, the music genre surely made it into the ‘80s and more specifically on America’s West Coast where several punk rock bands were formed. Punk also had several sub-genres that rose into fame such has hardcore punk rock and it proved that punk music during the ‘80s became more diverse. Along with that, several bands became famous as well but not all of them managed to get through. That’s why in this article, we are going to list down the best punk bands during the ‘80s.

Bad Religion


Formed in Los Angeles, California in 1980. Led by vocalist Greg Graffin and guitarist Brett Gurewitz, Bad Religion has become one of punk’s most consistent and long-lasting bands. During the 1980s, the band has been fiercely independent in its commercial and artistic directions. They even released an album in 1983 entitled “Into The Unknown” that was similar with ‘70s hard rock. Bad Religion was so popular they even served as a vital link between punk’s first wave in the 1970s and the ‘90s punk revival.


Dead Kennedys

Dead Kennedy’s was an iconic band that was formed in San Francisco. Their lead singer and lyricist Jello Biafra has long been a cult figure because he had a tremendous influence to impaling all layers of cultural stagnation and American authority through his scowling wit which is evident in their songs. The band itself is also a musical marvel that featured the provocative guitar styles of East Bay Ray and the wonderful blend of surf music styles with a rough but authentic punk rock vibe.

The Misfits

The Misfits was formed in New Jersey in the 1980s and most critics say that the band served as a highly vital link between hardcore punk and heavy metal. The original lineup of the band might not be together by 1983, most music fans throughout the ‘80s continued to see the group’s potential. With only a few recordings of their song, news about The Misfits and their talent spread through the power of reputation and word of mouth. Their songs “Attitude”, “Last Caress”, and “Where Eagles Dare” are just some of the hard punk rock anthems of the ‘80s music.

Circle Jerks

This punk band became the major bands in the ‘80s and one of the representatives of punk rock that stood the test of time. The group was founded by former Black Flag frontman Redd Kross, Keith Morris, and their guitarist Greg Hetson. Throughout the ‘80s, Circle Jerks broke-up and re-formed three times, in which they just replaced their drummers and bassist. When the group released their album “VI” in 1987, they followed it up with the news that they will be disbanding. But they decided to regroup in 1994 in which they released their album entitled “Oddities, Abnormalities and Curiosities.” Circle Jerks often cited being influenced by Anti-Flag, Flea, Pennywise, and The Offspring.


T.S.O.L or True Sounds of Liberty is a punk rock band that was formed in Long Beach, California in 1978. Even if the band is often associated with hardcore punk, T.S.O.L’s music has varied on each of their albums such as art punk, deathrock, horror punk, and other sub-genres of punk music. Their members include vocalist Jack Grisham, bassist Mike Roche, drummer Todd Barnes, and guitarist Ron Emory.



MDC or Millions of Dead Cops is a punk band that was formed in 1979 in Austin, Texas. They were formerly known as Stains before they relocated to San Francisco, California in 1982 where they also decided to rename their band MDC. This band performs fast hardcore punk music that has far-left sociopolitical views about gay rights, animal rights, pro-racial equality, transgender rights, and anti-capitalist convictions. During the ‘80s, the band had several albums such as “This Blood’s For You”, “Smoke Signals”, and “Millions of Dead Cops” which featured songs that tackled social issues.


Ramones was a punk rock band that was formed in Queens, New York City in 1974 and they have been called as the first true punk rock band because they carried on from the first wave of punk rock in the 1970s through 1990s. One interesting fact about this band is that they all adopted pseudonyms which ended with the surname “Ramones” even if they were not biologically related. Throughout their career, they have released several albums and produced a handful of hit songs. Today, Ramones is still considered to be one of the iconic band in the music scene.