Few modern songwriters have a feel for what it means to write a classic rock song. If you don’t quite understand what that phrase refers to, simply listen to Social Distortion’s Greatest Hits front to back. Stretching from 1982 to 2007, the album contains the Orange County group’s most popular songs, which, when stacked together, form one of the most airtight collections of roots/rock/punk songwriting of the last 40 years. Group leader Mike Ness was fully formed from a young age—as evidenced by “Another State of Mind” and “Mommy’s Little Monster”—but he really found his voice in his late 20s. By that time he'd beaten his heroin addiction, grown into his rusty tenor, and embraced the early rock ‘n’ roll and country songwriting that would fuel his best work. “Prison Bound,” “Story of My Life," and “Ball and Chain” combine Johnny Cash's old-world disposition with Bruce Springsteen's passion and The Sex Pistols' sonic attitude. With each album, Ness delivered new anthems: “Bad Luck,” “I Was Wrong," “Reach for the Sky.” He's one of the few people who could convincingly transplant Chuck Berry to the punk generation.