Following up on Sound Opions analysis of 1977 as the year punk broke, if there's one album that best characterizes the punk explostion of that time, it was "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols". Yes, there were punk albums before this --notably the New York Dolls and The Ramones --but the Sex Pistols created a media frenzy and inspired dozens of bands.
The Pistols had released their first single: Anarcy in the UK / Good Save the Queen in late 1976 on EMI records. However, some raunchy comments on the Bill Grundy television show a few weeks later cost the band their record contract. Over the next 9 months, with constant rehearsals, two more label changes and the replacement of their original bass player Glen Matlock and eventually the band launched their debut album Richard Branson's fledgling Virgin Records.
Never Mind the Bollocks had an explosive sound, especially when compared to the overly produced rock and pop music of mid 70's. The Pistols were loud and raw with Johnny Rotten's snarling vocals overtop of Paul Cook's pounding drums and Steve Cook's layered power chords. By today's standards, the music is less shocking than it was, but it still has energy, powerful lyrics and great pop hooks. Standout songs include "Holdiays in the Sun", "Pretty Vacant", "Sub-mission", "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the UK". While there's a certain sameness to a few of the songs like "New York" or "Bodies", on balance it's a great album.
Although the Sex Pistols blew up in early 1978 amidst a tough touring schedule, infighting, drug abuse and the divisive leadership style of manager Malcolm Maclaren, the band's influence has only grown over the years. Rolling Stone rated "Never Mind the Bollocks" as #2 of it's list of 1987's top 100 rock albums of the last 20 years. Q Magazine rated it #28 in its list of top 100 albums. The Sex Pistols influenced bands as diverse as The Clash, The Smiths, The Buzzcocks, Guns n Roses, Nirvana and Green Day and Oasis.
If you don't have it, I encourage you to pick up Never Mind the Bollock from Amazon.