The 40 Sexiest Punk Rockers of All Time

Smashing the state never looked so good.

by Nerve

Punk rock, for all its other saving graces, isn't exactly the sexiest of musical genres. It's loud, unsubtle, and occasionally violent, and it isn't overtly concerned with sexuality. That said, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who didn't at one point carry a torch for their neighborhood punk rocker, and it's in that spirit that we're counting down the sexiest punk rockers of all time.


40. Dave Vanian, The Damned

The Damned were the first English punk band to release a single (1976's "New Rose"), but it's Vanian's later transformation into a proto-Goth vampire that really amped up his sex appeal. We'll take his loopy, high-spirited stage presence over Peter Murphy's dour contortions any day.


Image via Michael Yampolsky

39. Penelope Houston, The Avengers

Penelope Houston remains one of the most important female trailblazers in punk. Her buzz-saw howl on tunes like "We Are the One" is sexy enough, but it's the spiky blond hair that really does it for us. Billy Idol might have taken that haircut to the bank, but Houston wore it first, and better.


38. Glenn Danzig, The Misfits

Danzig is a walking punch-line at this point, but we remember the way things used to be. Before he was a humorless, muscle-bound clod, he was a scrappy, sexy Jersey boy with a skyscraper of a voice. He sang like Elvis, brawled like Rollins, and won the hearts of horror-film obsessed punk girls everywhere.



37. Wendy O. Williams, The Plasmatics

Wendy O. Williams is like if Debbie Harry were an incredible badass. She dueted with Lemmy on a cover of "Stand By Your Man;" spent an entire record advance by loading a car with explosives, driving towards a stage, and then jumping out at the last minute; and repeatedly battled the law over indecency charges. And seriously, just look at her. If you're not in love, we don't know what more we can offer you.


36. Laura Jane Grace, Against Me!

Be honest: when Tom Gabel went public with his decision to live as a woman earlier this year, how many of you thought, "He's going to make a really hot lady?" Because we did. Just saying.


35. Darby Crash, The Germs

The Germs were one of the terrors of the late '70s punk scene in L.A., and much of their legend came from Darby Crash's feral sex appeal. Shane West did a decent job of approximating that in the recent biopic What We Do Is Secret, but nobody could really capture Crash onstage, mostly out of fear of physical injury.


34. Jello Biafra, Dead Kennedys

Back in the day, Jello Biafra's adenoidal ranting may have distracted us from his classical good looks — in some pictures, he's almost like a brooding '40s movie star. As for that ranting, it was the result of a passionate, lacerating intelligence and a lot of empathy for the underdogs of the world. Those are good qualities.


33. Johnny Thunders, New York Dolls/The Heartbreakers

Johnny Thunders was the mold from which half the Sunset Strip in the '80s was cast. The low-slung Les Paul, the towering inferno of jet-black hair; anyone who got laid playing hair metal owes Thunders. (C.C. DeVille, we're looking at you.)


32. Exene Cervenka, X

Exene Cervenka's firmly in the lineage of Patti Smith-influenced literate punks, though her otherworldly harmonies with John Doe in X came from somewhere entirely different. Discordant but intimate, they were like if nails on a chalkboard were somehow arousing. After spending the '80s with John Doe, now she gets to hang out with Viggo Mortensen. That's talent.


31. Poly Styrene, X-Ray Spex

Poly Styrene was about the furthest from a "traditional" punk lead singer as you could get. She was a little heavy; she wore dental braces, and she used to dress like this onstage. Of course, then she'd open her mouth and let loose with "Oh Bondage! Up Yours!," establishing a fearlessly sexy template still being seen today in ladies like Gossip's Beth Ditto.


30. Dee Dee Ramone, The Ramones

None of the Ramones were exactly pageant contestants, but Dee Dee had a sinewy appeal. Add that to his aura of enduring sweetness in the face of personal problems, and you have the perfect punk boy: a bit damaged, but sensitive, and with great upper-arm definition.


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