Most Influential Songwriters of All Time

PetSounds
The musicians who, by the force of their writing, have changed the way we view music and, quite often, life.

The Top TenXW

1Bob DylanBob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist and writer . he won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016 .

The second most covered artist of all time he inspired and influenced so many people such as Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon his ability to reinvent himself has caused him to produce number one albums in six decades. - liamh1381

Again, I'm not a big fan of his music, but he's still going after over fifty years, which is something not many musicians can claim. - PetSounds

Actually, after getting past his voice, I am now a big fan of his music. Should have put him higher. - PetSounds

His voice puts off many but often the expression and emotion fit the world weary, battle-scarred nature of his songs. Anyway, glad you saw past that to appreciate his art. Unfortunately it's not accessible for everyone - Billyv

The top 3 is great in my opinion

V3 Comments
2John LennonJohn Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40 .

His most influential song is certainly Imagine. Others include In My Life and Strawberry Fields Forever. - PetSounds

3Paul McCartneySir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer . With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music .

It was a toss-up between Lennon and McCartney for the top spot. But Paul holds the first two slots on the TheTopTens Best Beatles Songs list with Hey Jude and Let It Be. Not to mention the most covered song of all time in Yesterday. - PetSounds

Lennon or McCartney, The Beatles are the most influential ever!

No Debate, He just simply make my days of life, and maybe your days...

Good old Beatles chap... - HezarioSeth

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4David BowieDavid Robert Jones was born in London on January 8, 1947, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He died in New York on January 10, 2016 at the age of 69, a hero to millions. ...read more.

I'm more a queen fan in fact, but in songwriting I think bowie would beat them anyway...

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5Michael JacksonMichael Joseph Jackson was born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana and passed away on June 25, 2009. Michael Jackson was a singer, songwriter, producer, choreographer, entertainer and humanitarian. He donated (at least) a remarkable 300,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King ...read more.

Can't say I'm a fan, but there's no denying his influence. - PetSounds

He has definitely changed peoples' lives! - funnyuser

6Brian WilsonBrian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the Beach Boys.

The album Pet Sounds is Brian's greatest contribution to popular music. It includes the beautiful God Only Knows. But his most famous and influential song is, without a doubt, Good Vibrations, slated for release on the cancelled SMiLE project. - PetSounds

The one songwriter who Lennon and McCartney thought they had to try extra hard to keep up with.

7Paul SimonPaul Frederic Simon is an American musician, singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with musical partner Art Garfunkel.

As a duo with Art Garfunkel, he crafted materpieces such as The Sound of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water. After they split, Simon had a successful solo career. - PetSounds

Insecure, neurotic genius. Hardly a crap song in his repertiore

8Freddie MercuryFreddie Mercury was born in Stone Town, Tanzania he later became a British singer, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Before he became a singer he has been ...read more.V1 Comment
9Joni Mitchell
10Buddy HollyCharles Hardin Holley, known as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll.

The Beatles are one of the many groups he influenced, and The Crickets were one of the first true bands in rock 'n' roll. He was with us far too short of a time. - PetSounds

The Newcomers

?Dr. Luke

The Contenders

11John DenverHenry John Deutschendorf, Jr., known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, actor, activist and humanitarian, whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s.

His songs never fail to lift the spirit. Put him on when you're down. He'll raise you up. - PetSounds

Highly underrated. His songs are so poetic and inspirational. - DieGedankenSindFrei

12Roger WatersGeorge Roger Waters, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He was mostly known for the secondary lead vocals and bassist of Pink Floyd .

There isn't absolutely no way that the lyrics he wrote from Medley to The Final cut will ever be topped by another lyricist in the history of popular music. Especially the lyrics from Dark side of the Moon, which are in great part responsible for the album still selling five thousand copies every week in the US alone.

Listen to the entire the wall and try to tell me this man isn't the best songwriter of all time

Main songwriter for Pink Floyd. He wrote all of the songs for Wish You Were here, Dark Side of The Moon, and The Wall, the latter being a concept album and a DOUBLE album, meaning that it was on 2 CDs.

13Neil YoungNeil Percival Young, OC OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

He's Canadian gotta go with my countryman! - Curti2594

14Kurt CobainKurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1988, he started the grunge band Nirvana. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his Seattle home in 1994.

He hits me he hits you he hits most of the world

15Chuck BerryCharles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music.

With songs such as Johnny B. Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen, and Rock and Roll Music, he paved the way for rock 'n' roll to grow even bigger. - PetSounds

16Robbie WilliamsRobert Peter "Robbie" Williams is an English singer, songwriter and actor. He was a member of the pop group Take That from 1990 to 1995 and again from 2009 to 2012. He has also had commercial success as a solo artist.
17Elton JohnV1 Comment
18John LydonJohn Joseph Lydon, also known by his former stage name Johnny Rotten, is an English singer, songwriter, and musician.

Not only did he pen many of the songs that brought Sex Pistols to stardom, he also completely turned music and the basic structure of songwriting on its head with Public Image Limited, MULTIPLE times. With each new release, even up to 2015's What the world needs now... there's always something new and innovative, and his evolution of songwriting from pistols to where he is now, is a transformation that very few musicians have accomplished

19Ray DaviesRaymond Douglas "Ray" Davies is an English musician. He was the rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for The Kinks, which he led with his younger brother, Dave.
20Cat StevensYusuf Islam, commonly known by his former stage name Cat Stevens, is a British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, humanitarian, and education philanthropist.
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List StatsUpdated 2 Dec 2016

100 votes
62 listings
2 years, 323 days old

Top Remixes (6)

1. Bob Dylan
2. Chuck Berry
3. Joni Mitchell
RecklessGreed
1. Bob Dylan
2. John Lennon
3. Paul McCartney
BeatlesFan1964
1. Paul McCartney
2. Bob Dylan
3. John Lennon
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