1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Punk Pop


Green Day - Dookie

Green Day - 'Dookie'

(Courtesy Reprise Records)


Punk pop (or pop punk) music finds its roots in the punk rock revolution of the late 70's. Punk rock was a reaction against the dominance of corporate rock and soft singer-songwriter pop music at the time. Punk sought to bring back a more raw, do-it-yourself sound based in classic rock and roll with a strong sense of pop melody. Among the key pioneers of punk rock were the Ramones <Listen>, Richard Hell & the Voidoids <Listen>, Sex Pistols <Listen>, and the Clash <Listen>.


Development of Punk Pop:

Much of punk rock mutated in the 1980's into hardcore, a harder, faster, and less melodic form of punk. Other punk musicians headed in the opposite direction toward the synth-heavy, danceable pop that dominated the pop music world in the early 1980's. By the late 1980's, a new form of punk began to emerge with a hard and fast guitar and drums base but powered by pop melodies like much of 70's punk rock. California-based independent record label Lookout! helped spearhead this development.

First Wave:

A group of California-based bands, often referred to as the first wave of punk pop, began to succeed commercially in the wake of the mass success of grunge rock in the early 1990's. Among these bands were Green Day <Listen>, who originally recorded for Lookout! Records, and Rancid <Listen>. Green Day moved to major record label Reprise in 1994 and gained such commercial success with the album Dookie they were accused of being sell-outs.

Second Wave:

A second wave of punk pop bands emerged in the late 1990's. They were led by another California-based band, blink-182 <Listen>. The sound of second wave bands is marked by a radio-friendly sheen to their music, but it still maintains much of the speed and attitude of classic punk rock. Other punk pop bands from around the U.S. and Canada were soon signed by major labels. These included Good Charlotte <Listen>, Bowling for Soup <Listen>, and Sum 41 <Listen>.

The Future of Punk Pop:

New punk pop bands continue to emerge and gain commercial success. The acclaimed annual Vans Warped Tour has become a primary venue of exposure to mass audiences for new punk pop groups. Among those that have recently made a significant impact on pop charts are Simple Plan <Listen>, All-American Rejects <Listen>, and Fall Out Boy <Listen>. Fall Out Boy reached the top 10 of the pop singles chart with a hard-edged punk pop sound that sometimes teeters on the edge of hardcore.

Key Bands and Recordings:

All-American Rejects


Fall Out Boy

Good Charlotte

Green Day


Sum 41

  1. About.com
  2. Entertainment
  3. Top 40 / Pop
  4. Pop Music 101
  5. Punk Pop Music: A Guide

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.