The development of punk rock in Serbia started in Novi Sad with the bands Pekinška Patka and Gomila G, both formed in 1978. Pekinška Patka, formed by vocalist Nebojša Čonkić, pronounced themselves "the first Orthodox punk rock band", which was against the attitude of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, which promoted atheism. Another pioneer of punk rock in Serbia was the band Gomila G (this name being a censored version of Gomila Govana, trans. A Pile of Shit), also from Novi Sad. The band initially performed cover versions of Ramones and Sex Pistols songs, but soon started writing their own songs. Gomila G usually performed as an opening act for Pekinška Patka, and their appearance at the Celebration of the World War II liberation of Stepanovićevo in 1979, where the band performed the song "God Save Martin Bormann" and Čonkić of Pekinška Patka blown condoms on stage, made the media turn against the two bands, even asking for banning of their public appearances. Gomila G disbanded in 1980 as the band members, guitarist Žolt Horvat and drummer Robert Radić formed the first Serbian ska band, Kontraritam.
In the meantime, Pekinška Patka gained mainstream popularity and recorded their first releases. At the Subotica Youth Festival, they won the Audience Award and their whole performance was broadcast on national television, which was the first TV appearance of any punk rock band in Yugoslavia. The popularity of the band then gave them the opportunity to release two singles, and then a studio album, Plitka poezija, the first punk rock album by a Serbian band, released in 1980 by Jugoton. After the album release, the lineup changed, and the arrival of the young Zoran "Bale" Bulatović on guitar, brought the stylistic changes, firstly moving towards New Wave, and eventually to post-punk. The band's second album Strah od monotonije is considered the first post-punk release in Serbia and former Yugoslavia. After the album release, the band disbanded.
The appearance of the first post-punk album on the Serbian scene influenced appearance of post-punk and gothic rock bands and releases. Zoran "Bale" Bulatović (guitar) and Marko "Mare" Vukomanović (bass guitar), both from Pekinška Patka, with La Strada members Slobodan Tišma (vocals) and Ivan Fece Firchie (drums) formed the first gothic rock band in Serbia, Luna, releasing only one album, Nestvarne stvari (1984). Beside Luna, the notable gothic rock act was also Trivalia from Niš, formed in the second half of the 1980s. Gothic rock, however, saw little popularity in Serbia. Another Niš band, post-punk/darkwave band Dobri Isak, released their only album Mi plačemo iza tamnih naočara in 1983. The album, which was one of the first albums in Serbia released through an independent record label, saw little success at a time of its release, but saw critical acclaim when it was rereleased in 2009. Other bands which featured the post-punk/gothic rock influences were the New Wave bands Električni Orgazam, on their second album Lišće prekriva Lisabon (1982), and Idoli, on their debut Odbrana i poslednji dani (1982), and the alternative rock band Ekatarina Velika, firstly called Katarina II, on the albums Katarina II (1984), Ekatarina Velika (1985) and S' vetrom uz lice (1986).
The second generation of punk rock acts in Serbia featured Partibrejkers, Kazna Za Uši and Toni Montano from Belgrade. Serbian garage punk band Partibrejkers, formed in 1982, brought the public's attention to themselves with their live appearances and musical style, even as a demo act. The band was formed by former Urbana Gerila and Radnička Kontrola frontman, Zoran Kostić "Cane" and guitarist Nebojša Antonijević "Anton", the two being the mainstay members of the band. By the time the band released their debut, self-titled album, in 1985, they already gained much popularity, kept through their later successful releases Partibrejkers II (1988), Partibrejkers III (1989), Kiselo i slatko (1994) and Ledeno doba (1997), entering the 2000s as one of the top mainstream acts of the Serbian rock scene. In 1986, another prominent garage punk band was formed, Kazna Za Uši, but the band became prominent in the 1990s, winning the first place at Gitarijada festival in 1992 and releasing their debut Ispod zemlje in the same year. During the mid-1980s the former vocalist of the punk rock band Radost Evrope, Velibor Miljković performed as a solo act using the pseudonym Toni Montano, and his albums featured a combination of punk rock and rockabilly, also found on his future releases.
Other prominent representatives of the second generation of punk rock bands in Serbia featured Kragujevac bands KBO! and Trula Koalicija, both formed by Saša "Vuja" Vujić. Vujić formed KBO! in 1982, and their first recordings were released by foreign record labels, which was also the case with their first official studio album, Forever punk (1989). The band performed in many foreign countries, and also formed their own independent record label, KBO! Records, which released the band's demo recordings and studio albums. Vujić also formed the band Trula Koalicija in 1986 with the vocalist Predrag "Skaki" Drčelić.
Punk rock continued to be popular in the 1990s with the appearance the bands Atheist Rap and Zbogom Brus Li from Novi Sad, Goblini from Šabac, Džukele from Subotica and Novembar from Niš. Atheist Rap's sound, a combination of punk rock with humorous lyrics found on their studio albums Maori i Crni Gonzales (1992), Ja eventualno bih ako njega eliminišete (1996) and II liga zapad (1998), was described by the band themselves as "happy punk". Zbogom Brus Li combined punk rock and folk music of Vojvodina into a style the band describes as "tamburaški punk" ("tamburitza punk") on their albums Penk Punk Pink Pank Ponk (1995) and Zlobro (1997). The band Goblini was formed in 1992, and with the release of their first two studio albums, Goblini (1994) and Istinite priče I deo (1994), the band had become a live attraction, performing in Serbia and abroad. On their third studio album U magnovenju (1996), the band was joined by Leonid Pilipović from the band Džukele. After the album release, Pilipović returned to his own band, which, having released their debut Gledajući u mrak in 1994 and the second album Zubato Sunce in 1998, disbanded. Punk rock band Novembar released three studio albums, Deguelo (1994), Blues južne pruge (1997), and Licem prema zemlji in (2000) featuring the band's combination of American guitar oriented rock sound combined with punk rock, pop punk and New Wave influences.
The 2000s featured disbandment and reunions of many punk rock groups. In 2001, Goblini disbanded, reuniting in in 2010. In 2002, Džukele, Novembar and Trula Koalicija disbanded, but the latter two reformed a few years later, Trula Koalicija with a new lineup in 2005, and Novembar in 2007, releasing a new album, Radulizam in 2008. Džukele guitarist and vocalist Slobodan Vukosavljević formed the band garage rock Nafta, which released the albums Samo senke prolaze (2008) and Alternator (2011). In 2004, at the EXIT festival, gothic rock band Luna reunited in the original lineup, and, four years later at the same festival, the original Pekinška Patka lineup reunited to perform at the festival main stage, alongside Sex Pistols. The band announced the release of a cover album, featuring songs performed at the Yugoslav 1960s pop festivals.