The results are in for Rolling Stone's readers' poll asking who the best punk-rock bands of all time are, and Green Day has topped the list, understandably stoking a bit of controversy. Given that online polls usually wind up being popularity contests, it's not surprising that the California trio would garner the most votes. (And Rolling Stone points out that fan site Green Day Authority and both posted voting links.)

If you want a true list of the best punk bands of all time, you ask a scenester from the golden age, like Legs McNeil, who founded Punk magazine in 1975. He undoubtedly would have the number two and three finishers, The Clash and The Ramones respectively, ahead of Billie Joe and the boys. And Green Day themselves would probably agree with that. Although who you prefer is subjective, you have to give it up to bands who were at the epicenter of an antisocial youthquake, a genre's founding.

The rest of the list is a pretty representative and expected lineup of "mainstream" punk legends: The Sex Pistols, The Dead Kennedys, Iggy and the Stooges, Black Flag, The Misfits, Social Distortion, and Bad Brains. This list can easily be shuffled around with additions and subtractions. Green Day is a kickass band, but they're not known for cutting themselves with glass onstage, or writing songs entitled "Nazi Punks Fuck Off." At least The Offspring didn't make the list.

Tags Green Day

Commentarium (46 Comments)

Aug 03 11 - 12:06pm

Why is RS even still around? They stopped being even halfway decent in 1972...

Aug 03 11 - 12:07pm

Way to stay relevant, Rolling Stone!

Sep 04 12 - 12:18pm
Brandon T

I keep hearing they should of put "Black Flag" or the "Sex Pistols". Obviously, some up and coming Myspace bands like that arent going to be the best punk band in history, come on you guys.

Sep 04 12 - 5:17pm

The Sex Pistols are not a "myspace" band.... and neither are "black flag" The Sex Pistols are the only true punk band in history, green day are pop stars

Sep 04 12 - 6:52pm

Nice to see we all understand sarcasm here.

Aug 03 11 - 1:45pm

isn't Green Day post-punk?

Aug 03 11 - 3:33pm

Exactly my thought. They're a fine band, but they're not punk rockers.

Aug 03 11 - 2:01pm
Greatest Punk Band

X-Ray Spex! Accept no substitutions. All other answers are lies put out by the government and grandparents.

Aug 03 11 - 2:45pm

1. Oh god
2. What
3. Why

But yeah,Rolling Stone crossed the line for me when they put out a list of "greatest singers" that included pretty much everyone they could think of, and somehow skimmed over Ella Fucking Fitzgerald. And no, that wasn't a poll -- it was them.

Aug 03 11 - 3:41pm

I'm sorry but didn't Green Day turn into what punk rock is against, selling out, corporate media, conforming?!? Well if my Sex Pistols and Ramones albums are telling me different message than i thought was "punk rock" than everything I've grown to know and live has gone down to hell. So thank you Rolling Stones, thank you for fucking up the idealism of Punk Rock.

Aug 03 11 - 3:55pm


Aug 03 11 - 3:58pm
Vinegar Bend

No Jilted John?

Aug 03 11 - 4:38pm

"In related news, the majority of contemporary Rolling Stone readers were not clear on what the definition of the word 'punk' was."

Aug 24 11 - 7:06am

I LOVE this reply.... BEST EVER!!!!!

Aug 03 11 - 4:38pm

"Many cited wrestler CM Punk as the likely originator of the term."

Aug 03 11 - 5:24pm

Green Day, best punk band on Broadway ever!

Aug 03 11 - 6:41pm

Well I would call Green Day neo-punk, not punk, purely on the grounds they were TWENTY FUCKING YEARS TOO LATE! I do like a lot of their stuff BTW, we're just arguing here about what it should be called.
I know I'm going to take shit for this, but I think Green Day are also disqualified from being called punk because PUNK IS BRITISH! The frigging Ramones? Give me a break. Their shit was just too goddam cheerful to be punk. They were a hair band in black leather jackets.

Aug 03 11 - 7:28pm

Isn't a "popular vote" contest sort of antithetical to the anarchist brand of freedom Punk Rock promotes?

Maybe I've been wrong in what I identify punk rock with, but this seemed to be one of the central tenets of the punk genre..

Aug 03 11 - 9:18pm


I would put Social D at the top.

Aug 03 11 - 10:16pm

i don't see why the minutemen, husker du and flipper have been excluded from this debate. i contend these groups were more daring than green day.

Aug 04 11 - 10:03am

+1 for flipper, but they were never going to win a popular vote.

Aug 03 11 - 10:49pm

the ramones. (period)

Aug 03 11 - 11:10pm

Barry Manilow is punker than Green Day.

Aug 04 11 - 4:16pm


Aug 24 11 - 7:14am

hahahaha.... TRUE

Aug 04 11 - 4:17pm

Honestly it's impossible to categorize bands anymore. It's kinda like art, and anti-art and anti-anti-art. There's folk, indie folk, anti, folk, folk rock, country folk, etc etc etc etc etc etc >_>

Aug 05 11 - 9:58pm

I'll agree with you there, buddy. I hate it when I go to a record store and I will be looking for a band which could reasonably go in rock/pop or electronic or avant garde, and those are pretty broad categories for genres.

Aug 08 11 - 12:55am
Brandon I

Absofuckinglutely disgusting

Aug 24 11 - 7:15am

i second that....

Aug 08 11 - 7:25pm

Green Day is not "a kickass band". Do over!

Feb 17 12 - 2:49am

ya they r

Aug 08 11 - 7:37pm
Heavy Critters

Um, it was a READERS' poll. Not a big fan of Rolling Stone, but read the goddamn headline before you start hating. Hate the readers, not the game.

Sep 02 11 - 5:57am

Green Day? Best Punk Rock band ever? HAHAHA, Green Day isnt Punk Rock, If Anything, they are Alternative Pop, even Bubble gum pop, And which it doesnt surprise me one bit, Green Day has alot of wimpy fans, their music has a couple Punk Rock Songs but not enough to being a Punk Rock Band, Even The Offspring are concidered Pop Punk, but they have awsome punk Rock songs on all of their albums, and Im not even an Offspring Fan, if any band, it should be either Bad Religion, Social D, NOFX, The Vandals, TSOL, heck Even The Offspring are better choices than Green Day as much as you Green Day fans might not like to admit to the fact that Green Day is not even close to being the Best Punk Rock band.
And the only reason Green Day got the most votes is because their Mainstream Justin Beiber fans. A lot of kids these days think Green Day is super hardcore punk it seams. Ah well, at least the true Punk Rock fans know who the best Punk Rock band in the world are, and it sure in the hell is not Green Day.

Sep 08 11 - 11:28pm

This was a readers choice poll, so everyone needs to calm their balls for a bit. I really don't see what's wrong with a Green Day fan site (Green Day Authority is not run by Green Day, it's run by fans only) telling other fans to vote for Green Day? Plus, Green Day has won more awards and sold more records then most bands on this list, so why shouldn't they be number one? And for those of you who say Green Day isn't punk...I just don't get that either- they're not hardcore punk that's for sure, but their genre of music is Pop-Punk, thus making them applicable for this category. It's also not very "punk" to complain about how you're precious little rock band didn't make number one. Music isn't about the fans, it's about the music, who cares if a band is mainstream? If their music is good, then I like them. The people have spoken, Green Day is just better.

May 09 12 - 4:42am

I totally agree with you the GD haters just complain cause their band cant even come close to Green Days record sales of 65-70 million copies

Sep 05 12 - 12:09pm

BS, the guy you were replying to said its about the music, not the fans. What you are referring to is sales, which is directly against what the guy you supposedly "agreed" with said. Anyone who talks sales when we are talking quality is immediately wrong. On the other hand, selling a lot also does NOT mean that the band sucks because its "mainstream". THAT is what he was saying.

Nov 13 11 - 4:08am
Pedro G

If it wasn't so much favoured towards mainstream bands, Green Day fans are all Bandwagoners, they think Green Day is Gods. The make millions by acting like punks even though they do a terrible job at it. And every album they have been making since their dookie success has been changing to the more MTV fans and truth is that Green Day who once were a decent punk rock band turned into a soft punk style. Tell me the truth, what punk rock bands relieses a Musical from one of their albums? is that where the punk rock genre is heading? God Help Me. Punk Rock isnt about musicles like the Sound of Music. Punk Rock is about staying true to yourself, and not worrying what anyone else thinks, and writing songs about the reality of life, wether it is political or current events, its about standing for your rights etc... Green Day is not a terrible band by any means, they just don't really belong as the best Punk Rock Band ever catagory, they belong in the Alternative Mainstream section. If any band should be named as best Punk Rock Band ever, It should be the band that the most Punk Bands vote for, like The Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, etc... but none of that should really matter because Punk Rock is not all about being the best band in the world. Their are too many bands who have huge ego issues that think they are king shit but so be it. And as for The Offspring being better than Green Day? Most people agree that they were the Underdogs since smash being a Indie Label release, and I have to admit that Smash influnced alot of good Punk Rock, Rock, Grundge Bands that are around today. And that shows alot expecially when the album wasn't commercialised than Green Day - Dookie which I honestly think its a rip off of Stiff Little Fingers songs. Anyways If I had to pick the best Punk Rock Band in my opinion, it wouldve been Bad Religion, with The Ramones close behind. But thats just my opinion. So Green Day as best punk rock band? Nope, But knowing the mainstream popularity, Green Day will probably have most votes because Green Day Fans are mostly Late Elementry and High School brats who spend most of their time searching the Internet and try to find ever forums or websites just to vote their favourite band. Green Day Fans think that Green Day is Punk music, but most of those fans havent even heard of bands like Minor Threat, DI, Adolescents, Dead Kennedys, TSOL, Social Distortion, etc... because all they want to hear is their favorite band Green Day. That is how Awards are handed out to, like MTV Awards and more. But everyone who knows what really punk Rock is all about will agree with me when I say Green Day is the most Overrated pop punk, alternative, If it wasnt for the Internet and commercial success, Green Day wouldnt have won as many awards like they did, and one more thing, to the guy who posted before me (Jonathan), Don't take this the wrong way. You say that Music isnt about the fans, but its all about the music? well hate to break it to you, Green Day wouldn't be here still if it wasn't for their fans, That is why Green Day has the most Bandwagon fans in the industry. Without their fans Green Day is shit. And if it were all about the music, Green Day would win the most tallentless award for not showing an effort to alot of their songs. Green Day couldn't care less what fans want or think. Money is the only thing that Green Day cares about. And in punk rock, it is not all about the money, its about pride and much more.

Jun 14 12 - 10:24pm
John Yuloha

Hey you DumbFuck, Green Day does stay true to themselves, they dont give a crap about what anybody thinks about them...they do what they want! Do you think they care about what your saying, nope! They do right about whats going on in the world, like politics, thats what American Idiot is about! And have you even seen American Idiot on Broadway, holy shit... its not like the sound of will blow your f - ing head off! And are you f - ing kidding about Not showing effort in their songs? Thats like saying a Football Field is 20 Yards long...Got to be the stupidest thing ive ever heard. Maybe if you actually knew anything or listend to Green Day you would know that they are about the hardest working band in music, yes, they like to have fun, but they love making music. And about the "all they care about is making money" really, I guess you dont know that on their Dookie tour they kept ticket prices under $5 so they fans could come see them!! Next time use your brain....your talking about shit you dont even know about.

Mar 08 12 - 10:27am
Sebastian Howard

This is shit. Dead Kennedys, Misfits, I don't know, anyone but these fucks.

Mar 23 12 - 10:11am

greenday better than the clash hahahahahah come on what aload of bullshit!

Mar 24 12 - 6:46pm

what else did you expect from a doll in the pawns of the system??
punk rock and DIY ethic which is the heart and soul of punk represent the exact opposite of that .. i bet if rolling stone mag. did this list back in the 80's the sex pistols would reply : " SHOVE IT UP YOURS !! " .. it's logic .. you're a punk => you hate the system => you don't need no list !!

Apr 05 12 - 6:06am

Green day may not be the hard out punk we remember from way back but they are still punk and the well apparently the best. So to all you haters out the get the fUk over yourselves we are not in 1973 anymore punk has evolved.

Apr 05 12 - 6:20am

For all you people that are saying that people that listen to green day dont know about sex pistols, bad religion, ramones ect you are absolutly wrong. I listen to them they have great music but lets face it like the dude above me said we arent in 1973 anymore and music changes. And you guys should thank bands like green day because they kept a almost dead genre alive with the help of other bands. and you say they are sell outs well on their dookie tour the managers and stuff wanted to make their tickets super expensive because they were so popular but no the made the tickets super cheap $7-$15 because they werent gonna help the corparate. And they did a political album american idiot and thats what punk is about showing your politcal view and letting people hear your view. So it seems they complete the cheklist for being punk. Btw dead kennedy deserve second or a tie :).

Aug 10 12 - 10:25pm

Husker Du for me. Even throw in Cracker.

"What the World Needs Now" is more "punk" than anything Green Day's ever done.

It's got REAL spit and attitude.

From the mid-90's on so-called "punk" for me is all shit!. G-Day, The Offspring(hideous fucking name) Blink 182, Good(Fucking Crap in my opinion Charlotte) et al. Blah-Blah-Blah, they're all the same...just Gen-Y facsimiles of the real thing...all of them with their music festival friendly Bop-Along Plod-Along palaver.

For me, something really changed in the culture in the Mid-Late 90's/noughties music just seemed to become less authentic, less real....Hope the generation coming on next shows a bit more respect for what came before and re-invents the genre/s free of the primary school 'punk' of today.

Sep 04 12 - 12:24pm

If this is a punk poll shouldn't the least popular band be the winner?

Sep 16 12 - 3:13am

Green Day should stop trying to make political songs, they suck really bad at it. And the true kings of Punk is The Ramones. Green Day was good in their prime, now they are too radio friendly. And like someone said before, Green Day doesnt give a damn about their fans, I know that for a fact. Green Day wont play a show unless they are the headliner. Green Day is MTVs favourite band. Green Day use to have more Punk rock spirit into their albums but after Isnomiac and Nimrod, Green Day lost their edge. Either way, I know that most Green Day fans are going to hate my comment but I am only speaking the truth. Most so called punk fans these days are biased these days and they think they know the fact but in reality they are just a bandwagoner. Green Days Punk days are long gone, they might make 1 or 2 pop punk songs that their fans would say are punk but the rest is all Radio friendly Alternative. Sorry but if any band deserves to be named the Kings of Punk it should be a band that represents the genre to its fullest, so if only active? than Bad Religion, Green Day is MTV Pop Alternative.