The 10 Best Social Distortion Songs

Categories: Bands We Like

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Social Distortion were among the first generation of OC punk bands, and arguably is one of the most influential, turbulent, and commercially successful. Formed in Fullerton in 1979, a primitive version of the band featured front man Mike Ness, along with Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitar and Casey Royer on drums. Royer soon formed DI while the Agnew brothers formed the Adolescents, and Social Distortion carried on with Mike Ness as lead singer/song writer and guitarist Dennis Darnell, until his death in 2000. The band's career has seen numerous revolving lines ups, but today includes Ness, guitarist Jonny "2 Bags" Wickersham, bass player Brent Harding and drummer David Hidalgo Jr.

Over the span of a seminal career that is still going strong after more than three decades, Social Distortion has seen a balance of highs and lows, mainstream success also came with problems with substance abuse (Ness was strung out on heroin off and on, for several years throughout the life of the band); but the music has always spoken for itself, and the band's early days of classic OC hardcore evolved and went down a divergent path, to include roots rock influences, country music and rockabilly, creating a sound and niche of their own, and a legacy that still grows stronger as the years go on.

This month marks the 24th anniversary of the band's land mark self-titled album (released March 27, 1990), which produced some of its most well known songs, which were played in heavy rotation on KROQ and even MTV. The lasting impact of this classic album cannot be denied, as the songs reflect angst, rebellion and passion, but also showcase a true talent of songwriting. As a celebration of the band's longevity, we now present our list of the Top 10 Social Distortion songs.

See also:
The Top 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List


10. "Don't Drag me Down"
This song, from the band's fifth studio release in 1996, White Light, White Heat, White Trash, starts out fast with loud, in your face powerful and upbeat drums. It is a celebration against oppression, ignorance and hatred; a musical inspiration of a punk rock tune that is catchy, but still manages to convey a positive message sense of and urgency in melody, music and lyrics.


9. "Telling Them"
A song from the 1983 album Mommy's Little Monster, this was a tale of the OC punk scene, with glimpses of alcohol, rebellion, violence, shattered glass and abandon. "My girl stands very close to me, That's where I want her to be. They say it costs $6 to get in this shack, I'll go around sneak in back. I hope the police don't show up here, Then we'll have to hide out of fear," sings a younger Mike Ness to end this song.

See also:
Top 20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time: The Complete List



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29 comments
gregbpc
gregbpc topcommenter

One of my top 5 favorite bands.  I would remove Drug Train, Telling Them, & Born to Lose.  Replace with When She Begins, Machine Gun Blues, & 1945.  I really like California, Reach for the Sky, and I was Wrong, too.

FloodOfBlood
FloodOfBlood

I know it's not easy picking only 10 songs among SD's catalog.  I would put 'Cold Feelings' and 'Highway 101' and 'This Time Darlin', on the list.

brianfoy22
brianfoy22

I can only stomach the early stuff.  After Mommies Little Monster, they changed to a watered down punkabillly joke.

Totally boring live but Playpen rules.


Tim Foye
Tim Foye

King of fools / Footprints on my ceiling

mhip
mhip

I liked their cover of Backstreet Girl...

Dan Velderrain
Dan Velderrain

Just "discovered" these guys a few years ago... Thank you Erin for the introduction!!!

William Batok
William Batok

Yeah, I remember croaking that one out a few times ! lol, but it was the only SD song they had...

William Batok
William Batok

Don't thin k "Ring of Fire" really qualifies. Would replace it with either "Sick Boys" or Down on the World Again".

John Dennis
John Dennis

I know they were around when I was in high school back in the 80's.

Aaron Roach
Aaron Roach

Pleasantly surprised, I'm only desperately sick of hearing 3 of these songs. My fault for listening to KROQ.

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