Top 10 Best Lyricists of All Time
The Top Ten
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!
"The harmonicas play
The skeleton keys and the rain
And these visions of Johanna
Are now all that remain"
Bob will always be the first among equals, there are quite a lot of good lyricist and it all comes down to ones preferences
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.
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.
While I would say Paul was the best singer, composer and melody writer in the beatles while George was the best guitarist John was the best at lyrics. some of the greatest lyrics ever can be found on his songs on rubber soul, help and the magical mystery tour album and the way he delivered them just gave it that extra edge that made those songs classics
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.
Roger Waters is an international treasure whose lyrics resonate from generation to generation. He will be rightfully remembered long after most popular musicians and writers have faded into oblivion.
It's all about storytelling mixing poetry with one's life and no one in my personal opinion can do it better than Marshall Matthers the Slim Shady...Eminem with his raging ability to rhyme and the versatile complexity of his stories not just serious notes but em's also one murderous clown who makes people laugh and murders them at the same time. I believe in fact I know it there's no one better and more deserving to be at number 1 other than EMINEM. P.s he don't need no top ranking to prove that!
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 the ocean of lyrics, while bob Dylan is the swimming pool.
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).
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.
Best ever. He had true pain that fused the tile of his pen into a whispering dagger that made quakes we still feel today
Mama, woo... I don't want to die
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all
Even the valley's below
Where the rays of the sun
Were so warm and tender
Now haven't anything to grow
Can't you see?
Bicycle, bicycle, bicycle,
I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle,
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike.
I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like.
(All this is meant in good humor. I love Freddy Mercury as much as the next guy, but I wouldn't call him the greatest lyricist of all time.)
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.
Better and much more creative than anybody else in this list.
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.
His storytelling ability along with his flow remains unmatched till date.
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
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.
He creates movies of the mind and allows listeners to. Dream while awake with every story he tells and every note he plays.
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
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.
There are some heavy hitters on this list; Dylan, Lennon, Cobain. But Elliott I feel is the most underrated. If you take the time to examine his art you will find a diamond amongst the cliches.
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.
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
Come together is not nonsensical, it's beautiful description of The Beatles reworked from a campaign song, which makes for two possible readings. It's a nice description of the fab four overall. - JoLeKosovo
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.
"Yes and you who must leave everything
That you cannot control
It begins with your family,
But soon it comes round to your soul,
Well I've been where you're hanging,
I think I can see how you're pinned :
When you're not feeling holy
Your loneliness says that you'vre sinned"
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
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"
Definitely should be higher, seriously why is Kirk Cobain ranked higher.
His lyrics are simple but the meaning is deep
Deserves to be top 5. Up there with Bob Dylan and John/Paul. Insanely stellar lyrics.
Whoa. Never expected him to be that high for an often overlooked singer. But I mean, far from undeserved.
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
Ian Anderson is a genius but you're clearly shoving your ignorance of other genres in our face. Too bad for you. - JoLeKosovo
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!
The fact that eminem is higher than paul ,shows how bad we have fallen!Paul is the 2nd best lyricist of all time !He has written masterpieces such as the long and winding road,yesterday,live and let die,The end ,Eleanor rigby ,Let it be ,hey jude and many other songs.Only Dylan is a better lyricist .
Plant Lennon, and Dylan are the only people who compare with Paul in lyrics
I can understand Lennon or Dylan above Paul and other than no one. Paul is a very underrated songwriter. He didi wrote great songs in Beatles career, Get back, Got. A feeling, let it be and full Abbey road medley (Soke songs by John) he is no less than John and Dylan and absolutely above anyone 10 places ahead him
The best form the best!
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
Bob is number 1, who de cap fit let them wear it
Peart is one of the most gifted and literate lyricists in popular music. His prose is packed with clever wordplay and references to other great works of literature. Yet they don't come across as too intellectual - anyone can relate to them.
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
One likes to believe in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity"
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.
His lyrics painted great pictures and told great stories.
He's been consistently a fantastic lyricist for almost 50 years and desrves to be a lot higher.
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.
The boss is a master poet, it's unbelievable the isn't in the top 10 at least. That man brings the poetry to music every time, like in his first two albums, there is proved his ability to write incredible stuff.
Riders On The Storm on its own should be enough to make this man number one. The entire LA Woman album essentially works as a suicide note written in poetic form. The greatest poetic lyricist of all time.
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
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
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!
Better than Dylan. Period. He stepped out of the boundaries of social norms to give commentary on things most people were to scared or ignorant to talk about. He was able to write some of the most sad and depressing songs ever written; so true to reality that you can't help but feel depressed. His 90's music was more relevant than any of your whiny Grunge bands, and, in the 60's, he was one of the first people to blatantly talk about drugs in their music. He also, along with the Kinks, talked about the transgender community in his music. I may be one of the few people who thinks Lou is better than Dylan, but ya gotta agree he should immediately after. If you disagree, well, besides the fact that you're wrong, you need to listen to his album, "Berlin."
When I listen to lou reed its like I just melt into the music. the music and lyrics go together perfectly throughout all his songs. Heroin is such a unique and effective song. having said this I did vote for bob Dylan. I think this is why he has 1 % cause most people who appreciate good music and actually listen to the lyrics would appreciate and love both artists but when it comes to voting lyrically speaking bob Dylan would have to be number 1.
Why is Lou Reed all the way down here. I voted for Dylan but Reed had a way of telling truths through his lyrics, terrifying the listeners, and evoking emotions. He is far better than most of the crap at the top, namely Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin is great but its lyrics are not), Eminem (there is nothing deep to his lyrics. period. ), or Freddy Mercury (he had a few good songs but most of it is just insubstantial pomp)
The lyrics to the entire album 'New York' are just superb.
He's written so many good lyrics, but my favourite is 'If you want to sing out, sing out'. Chorus: "You can do what you want, the opportunity's on, and if you can find a new way, you can do it today, you can make it all true and you can make it undo, you see, it's easy, you only need to know...". Very uplifting and inspiring, as is the movie 'Harold & Maude', in which the song is used as soundtrack.
At times Cat Stevens seems like a less pretentious Bob Dylan, carefully weaving words together to get his message across. "I know we've come a long way, we're changing day to day, but tell me, where will the children play? "
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
The way he describes and narrates things is pretty uncommon, in a good way. Also, he has the ability to incorporate his great lyrics into catchy songs and I find that quite hard to do: not only is he a poet, he is also a talented musician. His songwriting abilities are insanely impressive.
Dig into his lyrics. It'll make you wanna listen to a song you've already listed to a hundred times, a hundred times 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.
George Harrison throughout his career is very much under-rated both in terms of his guitar and his lyrics.. He's a brilliant writer.. Drawing inspiration some of the greats in the field like Dylan & Lennon he's lyrics both in the later Beatles (Within You Without You, Something etc) and his solo career are excellent...
I'd take George over John and Paul ANY day.
Absolute genius! Lyrics flow in a incredibly unique way, songs like 'Brother, my cup is empty', 'Red right hand', and 'Straight to you' show is prowess as a poet, not just as a musician. His lyrics are honest and personal, but also non-repetative so it feels like he is telling you a story each time you here him. Massively underrated in my opinion. Should be in the top 10 easily.
Just listen to the whole 'Murder Ballads'-Album - stories almost equal to E.A. poe. And some of his ballads like 'Straight to you' or 'Into my arms' contain words of incredible beauty. "And I don't believe in the existence of angels, but looking at you I wonder if that's true. But if I did I would summon them together and ask them to watch over you...".
Oh I also forgot to mention that his latest album Skeleton Tree is one of the most if not the most critically acclaimed albums of this year.
Why is Nick Cave so low? This singer songwriter is a genius
"Life for you's been less than kind, so take a number, stand in line. We've all been sorry, we've all been hurt but how we survive is what makes us who we are. "
"hiding from the laughter in the closets of our lives, but the door hinges are sqeaking, letting in thin shards of light. And now a hand's extending outward, quiet comfort they invite. Do we dare take what they offer? Do we walk into the light? "
"a hero of war. Is that what they see? Just medals and scars? So damn proud of me? "
"do you still believe in all the things that you stood by before? Are you out there on the front lines or at home keeping score? "
"too much blood has flown from the wrists of the children shamed for those they cose to kiss? Who will rise to stop the blood? "
I could name a million more. This guy is a genius.