Top 10 Best Lyricists of All Time


The Top Ten

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

Well I am Shocked, Stunned and Flabbergasted! Well you know Usually I'd not be ANGRY if My First Choice is not On Top! But it's Bob ' Dylan! He is On TOP! He is Number one! Anyone whose Heard it's Alright Ma, Desolation Row, It's All over Now Baby Blue, Visions of Johanna, Blowin' in the Wind, Like a Rolling Stone, Positively 4th Street, Idiot Wind! Well There is no Way this man is not on Top! And until he is I shall boycott the musicians above him, Lucky for me there are only two! And well I don't listen to Tupac... EVER! And I'll just only listen to George Harrison's Beatles songs and give up John's solo career!

Greatest lyricist, songwriter, singer and performer of all-time. He has been doing it for over 50 years. Not many can hold a candle to that kind of stamina in the music business. There are artists that wrote great stuff but they either burned out or faded away. The test of time is the greatest test of all.

Bob Dylan is ten times the lyricist John Lennon ever could be. Dylan's lyrics are full of nuance, wordplay, innovation, allusions, and beauty. He is the closest a songwriter has ever come to poetry. John Lennon is not a poet; he is a pop song writer.

You do realize that "pop" stands for popular right? So if someone writes a body of work in their lifetime that captivates and interests millions of people, they're no good, huh? Preposterous.

#3. John Lennon
#2. Roger Waters
#1. Bob Dylan

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2 John Lennon John Lennon John 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.

Lennon had more in his locker than anyone else. Dylan was predictable, put random words together. Lennon was much more diverse. Once you start to write a song, poetry disappears, it becomes a song. Lennon had a much more range of writing, the others wrote usually wrote in one style. The Irony to all this was Lennon new he was superior to anyone else. His intellect was so far ahead, no one can match him in this department. His vision, leadership, creative ability was to advance and mostly misunderstood.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney both were the dynamic duo of The Beatles, John and Paul had great talent and creativity. The lyrics written by the Beetles are somewhat simple but at the same time so full of meaning as mentioned. People can relate to those lyrics very deeply, and nothing makes a musician like John Lennon happier than when that happens. It's amazing the things music can do

For those who may not know, Lennon and McCartney were the writers of The Beatles. These men are definitely amazing lyricist. Their amazing song Yesterday, is considered one of today's saddest songs of all time. I want that song played at my funeral. John Lennon also wrote songs independently. One of John's most popular songs was Imagine. That song is one of the most lyrical songs ever.

His sheer brilliance,poignancy and creativity is unparalleled by anyone, even Dylan and Paul Simon.

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3 Roger Waters Roger Waters George 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 .

Every song written by Roger Waters has deep lyrics. There is a story behind all his songs. In terms of lyrics he's sometimes underrated. Come on, people, he wrote Dark Side Of The Moon. What more could you want? He writes about life, insanity, politics, alienation, society, death, time, treason. I'm glad he's in the top ten. He wasn't afraid to write about anything. He also wrote about the war and how it affected him. He's a genius. He also wrote The Wall, Animals, and Wish You Were Here after the true masterpiece, The Dark Side Of The Moon.

Talking about life in "The Dark Side of the Moon", nostalgia on "Wish You Were Here", politic in "The Animals", society in "The Wall", freedom, society and politic in "The Final Cut", human problems in modern life in "Amused to Death" and even more... Made him one of the best lyricists of the all time!

Nobody can write like Roger Waters. He words hold such raw power that most of it is unfathomable to plebs that prefer lesser artists. His songs can make me cry, laugh, scream, and can send shivers down my spine. His is the type of music that you have to listen to alone in a dark room without any external disturbances, because it is just that pure and powerful. He has made some of the most powerful works of art in the history of humankind and deserves to be called the best.

The man is a genius. Look at Time, Money, Fearless, Breathe, Have a Cigar, Wish you were here, Dogs, Shine on you crazy diamond pts I-V... the list goes on

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4 Eminem Eminem Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, is an American rapper, actor and music producer born on October 17, 1972 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Eminem has sold over 300 million records making him the bestselling hip-hop artist of all time. In addition to his solo career, he is a member of D12 and (with Royce more.

Eminem is the best lyricist ever, period. Killing rhymes and the beat is not something that Shakespeare could ever do! Never! He is a beast, not only in rapping, but also is rhyming... Let's not forget the flow. He does more than one thing at a time. This is not what poets do! Poets write poems. That's that! Eminem performs miracles. You may say it's obscene, on the other hand, I'll call it being straightforward and outspoken.

You must know nothing about being an actual lyricist because if you did you simply wouldn't have voted for Eminem! - TheThomasThomas

Eminem's lyrics are spectacular! His wordplay was, and always has been, revolutionary, the subject matter controversial and has received critical acclaim. His rhymes are unreal; want an example? Listen to Jay-z ft. Eminem - Renegade, Eminem outshines Jay-z (its embarrassing).

guys... yes 2Pac great super etc but wheres Em?
You don't know his song when I'm gone, or not afraid or no love? his lyrics! Em is the best! - jetix


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5 Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) Kurt 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.

Was going to say Lennon but really I appreciate Kurt's artfulness. It's about evocation and hitting the right vibe over story telling which made him so original. Even if dreary, morbid, gross whatever the man was also hilarious with it. A++

Kurt Cobain deserves to be at least in the top 3. Words just came effortlessly to him. He was at ease with connecting ideas and emotions in a way that is relatable to everyone. He invented a new genre for music. The genre grunge took form from his words. Kurt never wanted fane or money. He stayed in cheap hotels and never flaunted his wealth. He was honest and real and that would translat into his lyrics.

It's hard to find one song by Kurt about anything happy. A harsh up bringing, his bipolar, stomach condition, and of course his vast drug experience messed him up. But from that we got true poetry describing pain and sadness like no one ever had or will again.
Rest in peace Kurt, whether it was suicide or murder, you deserved better.

Lyrics just connect on every level

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6 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.

Dylan is better. Lucinda is better. Springsteen and Elliot Smith are his equals. Everyone else is in the line standing behind Neil.

There will be another one
Who'll hover
Over you beneath the sun
See the things
That never come

When you see me
Fly away without you
Shadow on the things you know
Feathers fall around you
And show you the way to go
It's over, it's over

" And I'm such a heal for making her feel so bad"

"I guess I'll just call it sickness gone, its hard to say the meaning of this song, an ambulance can only go so fast its easy to get buried in the past when you try to make a good thing last"

His lyrics are simple but the meaning is deep

The words to 'Thrasher' are pure poetry one single song makes me smile, laugh, cry, think, inspired, even full of 'Wanderlust' and more. Amazing!

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7 Tupac Tupac Tupac Amaru Shakur, also known as 2Pac, was an American rapper and actor born on June 16, 1971 in East Harlem, New York. Tupac sold over 75 million records worldwide and has been referred to in multiple major publications such as Rolling Stone as one of the greatest music artists of all time. 2Pac was more.

Although Rock and many other genres are vocally on another level, it take's true talent to put together lyrics that are said with such speed and annunciation. Rap songs may have up to three times as many words as compared to other genres. Tupac is a true genius, but where's Eminem?

Tupac touched souls with his lyrics, he was not just a rhymer, he had a main theme for every one of his songs.

"Only God can judge me"

He pointed out flaws in society and politics at the time, the negative side of gang violence, racism, discrimination against women, and emphasized the need for change.

Tupac is a poet and a very good one also. Tupac saved my life. I was going through a rough moment, being constantly bullied at school, being yelled by my parents, and basically, for being something I knew I wasn't. Tupac opened up my eyes and made me take a glance at the real world. The first Tupac song I've ever heard was Thungz Mansion, and it spoke to me. I later on purchased his Better Dayz album on iTunes. Rest in peace Tupac, you're truly the best to ever do it.


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8 Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) Robert Anthony Plant is an English musician, singer, and songwriter best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

Listen to Thank You, The Rain Song, Kashmir, All My Love, I'm Gonna Crawl, etc. The list goes on and on. He didn't just write about sex

Definitely one of the best singers and lyricists ever. He is absolutely amazing!

The best lyricist ever born no one can give meaning to songs the way he does just by making noises

Are you kidding? I mean sure, led zepplins one of the greatest bands of all time but come on, his lyrics suck

9 Freddie Mercury (Queen) Freddie Mercury (Queen) Freddie Mercury (5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Tanzanian-born British singer with Persian ancestry, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. more.

When it comes to songs, and if you need music straight from the heart, no questions asked, you go and ask Freddie... Somewhat

RIP, Freddie

We all love you (I KNOW YOU DO-- YOU BETTER)

Freddie was a real legend. There would be no musician like him that would be as good as him. His lyrics are much better than those who are in the upper list. He should have been in top 3.

Bohemian Rhapsody... So I have to say more. All that legendary came from that one man's head. Greatest song of all time. He will forever be legendary.

Should be in the top 3. - bzsuzsi0128

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10 Paul Simon Paul Simon Paul 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.

I would vote Bob Dylan, but I see the legend that is Paul Simon is in 11th! Madness. As a student of English Literature I would have to say the lyrics of "I am a rock", "America" and pretty much all the songs on the album Graceland are nothing other than poetry is its purest and most beautiful form. The idea that those above are in the faintest way superior makes me laugh. Paul's lyrics (and music, which is equally untouchable) transcends all those listed above (many of whom have written brilliant lyrics but not lyrics that can evoke the same raw power as those of Paul). Only Bob Dylan can rival this man's brilliance and no other by a country mile. As far as his place at the top of the pile is concerned: "he is a rock. He is an island".

I've been pondering this question for a while now. Just listened to "Cool, Cool River" and "She Moves On", and I'm going with Paul Simon as greatest poet/lyricist of my generation, at least for me. His lyrics mesmerize me.

Love "Cool, Cool River" as well as so many of his more popular works - Billyv

He creates movies of the mind and allows listeners to. Dream while awake with every story he tells and every note he plays.

Paul Simon is one of those "writer's writers"... None of those shallow, cliche "Oooh I love you baby" lyrics that you typically find in rock or in popular music. His writing can be poetry. It can be story-telling. It can be political. It can be emotional. It can even be funny. He's just a versatile, talented writer.

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The Contenders

11 Elliott Smith

Elliott Smith is a musical genius, his lyrics are heartbreaking, vulnerable and powerful. You can't ignore his amazing talent. Doubtful that anybody will listen to him after seeing this but for anyone that does read this, I think you would appreciate listening to King's Crossing. It's about his life and is absolutely heartbreaking. I'm a big fan of a lot of these lyricsists such as Cobain for his originality and Lennon for just doing what he does best. But in my opinion Elliott should be so much more appreciated for his amazing work.

Um how can he not be on he, he's practically a poet. Beautiful music, Miss Misery, Between the Bars, Twilight when he sings them it's so heartbreaking.

He still is to this day the most real, passionate, fragile, honest musician out there. I am so thankful I came across his music, his music comforts me and makes me realise there was someone out there who just felt and thought the same about a lot of things in life. And that it is ok to feel like that.. Because simply there sometimes is just no other way. How hard you try.. Or fight against it. Especially when you feel so alone and you feel like no one truely really understands how you feel. I love you Elliott thank you for your beautiful music.

Pure lyrics of a shadow generation shared with gentle voice and everlasting themes of life, death and love. Gone too soon or maybe just in time to be rememberd as one of the greatest music authors.

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12 Leonard Cohen Leonard Cohen Leonard Norman Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist . Cohen died on November 7, 2016 at the age of 82 .

As someone who has listened to all of the artists in the current 20 twenty, and would identify as a fan of most, I can say that Leonard Cohen wins this contest by a landslide. Bob Dylan has had his preachy Christian period, John Lennon and Paul McCartney frequently wrote silly nonsensical crap like Yellow Submarine, Come Together or I Am the Walrus. Robert Plant ripped off a good chunk of "his" lyrics from other artists. Neil Young hasn't released a good album in a long time, meanwhile Leonard Cohen is still going strong, releasing Popular Problems only 2 years back to critical acclaim at the age of 82. Roger Waters was in a mainly instrumental band with less lyrics in their entire discography than someone like Leonard Cohen has on a single album, so how he's even considered when people think of the greatest lyricists is beyond me. (Note to Pink Floyd fans, writing great lyrics isn't the same as writing about political themes. Songs like "Another brick in the wall" ...more

Some poetry in Pink Floyd got me hooked on. Their lyrics many times are too real and relatable. But I haven't listened to much from Cohen, just defending my choice. - ZackStarsky

Should be no1. You guys have no idea

I feel like people are voting based on if they're fans of the artist. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Leonard Cohen, but I truly believe I've never known anyone to have as powerful and poetic lyrics as he does.

Any One who have ever listened to Cohen can not vote anyone else over him.

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13 Neil Peart (Rush) Neil Peart (Rush) Neil Ellwood Peart, OC (born September 12, 1952 in Hamilton, Canada) is a Canadian-American musician and author, best known as the drummer and primary lyricist for the rock band Rush. Peart has received numerous awards for his musical performances.

Powerful and moving. Peart has a passion for Sci-Fi, culture, and personal freedom. I would put him in the top 5, next to Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. He's a born Poet.

If Neil could sing his lyrics as good as he writes them, a black hole would emerge out of the awesomeness.

"All this machinery making modern music
Can still be open-hearted
Not so coldly charted
It's really just a question of your honesty, yeah
Your honesty
One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity"


Absolute poet, 10/10 legendary animal

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14 Bob Marley Bob Marley Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley was a Jamaican reggae singer, songwriter, musician, and guitarist who achieved international fame and acclaim.

Bob marley is one of the greatest cultural icon throughout globe. A common man can identify himself in his songs. His lyrics are simple yet have a cutting edge to it. His songs like a medicine for millions out there.

Bob Marley was a brilliant lyricist and possible the best that ever lived. To have ever lived. Music inspired by God and the people.

"The stone that the builder refuse
Will always be the head corner stone. "

"The things people refuse
Are the things they should use. "

- Robert Marley "Corner Stone" (1973)

Perhaps the greatest and most inspiring Lyricist in the past 50 years. Bob Marley... The King of Kings

Life is one big road with lots of signs
So when you riding through the ruts don't you complicate your mind

What more do you want?

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15 Jim Morrison Jim Morrison James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, songwriter, and poet best remembered as the lead singer of the Doors.

Lets swim to the moon
Let's climb through the tides
Penetrate the evening
That the city sleeps to hide

People are strange
When you're a strange
Faces look ugly
When your alone
Women seem wicked
When your unwanted
Streets are uneven when you're down

Before you slip into unconsciousness
I'd like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss
Another kiss
Another kiss

The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle reign
The your drove up to insane
Well meet again
Well meet again

Oh tell your freedom lies
The streets are fields that never die
Deliver me from reasons you'd rather cry

'enough said

He should be in the top ten. One of the best song-writers to have ever lived. Just look at songs like the Unknown Soldier and the End.

I voted for Jim Morrison because his lyrics are poetic and also because no one put ray davies from The Kinks on this list! - TheThomasThomas

Jim Morrison is untouchable

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16 Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Sir 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 .

The best form the best!

Blackbird, Maybe I'm Amazed, Let Me Roll It, etc...

How is he ot eve on the list...

17 Ian Anderson Ian Anderson Ian Scott Anderson, MBE is a Scottish-born musician, singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist best known for his work as the lead vocalist, flautist and acoustic guitarist of British rock band Jethro Tull.

Man Anderson wipes his ass with them poet-wannabe rappers. Ian Anderson is not only a musical genius, lyric-wise he's also great. I bet all these Tupac fanboys can't even understand Thick as a Brick, Aqualung or a Passion Play. Agree with Dylan being number one though

The music is simultaneously direct; aloof; complex and searingly direct. When lyrics appear...they can be appreciated and delighted-in even WITHOUT musical accompaniment...and merely as poetry. AGELESS: still 'discovering' after 30 years!

'thick as a brick' is without doubt one of the most complex and lyrically brilliant albums of all time although in my opinion, Bob Dylan is still the greatest.
Paul S

There's good. There's great. There's masterclass. Ian Anderson is masterclass.

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18 Alex Turner Alex Turner Alexander David "Alex" Turner is an English musician. He is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter of the English rock band Arctic Monkeys.

Alex turner has been perfectly discribed as "a master of observation." In a band that some British publications called the most important band of our generation he still seems to be constantly underrated. His lyrical abilities have evolved and changed but still seem to be spot on every single time. He started with describing the lives of underage drinkers going out to pubs on "Whatever People Say I Am..." Changed to a brilliant take of life itself on FWN (2nd album) with song like "this house is a circus" in which he breaks down the psychological conflicts that our generation deals with today and also claims that is a reason for the monkey's popularity. On "Humbug" he throws out his previous lyricisms completely and trades em in for a almost heightened reality drug induced poetic style- (listen to potion approaching- a song about a girl giving him a mixture of drugs that makes him fall for her). He cleans up the words and the edges on Suck it and See for more and yet still different ...more

He has the versatility of being a good observer and storyteller, telling stories in a cheeky, humorous and full of colloquialism as well as being deep and poetic. One of the best lyricist in the last 20 years.

Best song writer of this generation and massively underrated

Love's not only blind but deaf

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19 David Bowie David Bowie David Robert Jones was an English singer 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. more.

David Bowie really was an amazing lyricist. His songs evoke such images and show such thought. The way his lyrics flow are amazing, his innovations were delightful, and his lyrics fit the music so well! Maybe Bob Dylan was better at evoking images and maybe Bob Dylan was more innovative, but it was usually at the almost complete sacrifice of actual music.

Stone love - she kneels before the grave
A brave son - who gave his life
To save the slogans
That hovers between the headstone and her eyes
For they penetrate her grieving

New love - a boy and girl are talking
New words - that only they can share in
New words - a love so strong it tears their hearts

To sleep - through the fleeting hours of morning

Just a small part of Bowie's Soul Love.
Always inspired and always setting the scene of his highly original songs.

He's been consistently a fantastic lyricist for almost 50 years and desrves to be a lot higher.

Favorite Lyric:
"We had a friend, a talking man / Who spoke of many powers he had / Not of the best of men, but ours / We used him, we let him use his powers / We let him fill our needs / Now we are strong." - David Bowie, from Cygnet Committee

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20 Bruce Springsteen Bruce Springsteen Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and humanitarian. He is known for his work with the E Street Band. Nicknamed "The Boss", Springsteen is widely known for his brand of poetic lyrics, Americana, working class and sometimes political more.

It's so sickening to see so many artist that shouldn't even be in the top 100 be ahead of bruce. This man is the one of the best if not the best lyricist of all time. He tells a story in each word he sings. He connects with everyone everywhere and knows how to reach personally as if you were actually talking with him. An he is quite witty. But it's not the websites fault, just the brain dead idiots that don't know what music is.

How springsteen isn't in the top 5 of this list so far is sickening. The man is a poet and ranks right alongside, lennon and dylan in lyric writing ability. Obviously the idiots who voted have never heard Born to run, Nebraska or The River... Pity them

I can honestly say, I truly believe Bruce Springsteen to be a lyricist leagues ahead of both Bob Dylan and John Lennon. The Boss is the only lyricist whose lyrics I can just read as poetry and be totally satisfied.

Honestly don't believe that Lennon or Dylan ever wrote anything of that caliber.

Not only a great lyricist but probably the most perfectly rounded musician ever, great voice, great on guitar and the most amazing stage presence I've ever seen, but to top it all off a great song writer! Jungleland is just the most amazing song potentially of all time!

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