Greatest Rock / Pop Composers

The Top Ten
1 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 .

Paul McCartney to date has shown unequaled range and number in composing popular songs that are among the best of all time. He is alone at the top and well above all others. The fact that he started in collaboration with a truly great and charismatic songwriter in his own right in John Lennon may confuse the issue for some but none who come to learn the truth of McCartneys solo catalog that had been inaccurately ascribed to that duo as collaborative per there early naive business views as members of the most honored act of all time in the Beatles.

Paul McCartney is THE most successful composer of all time! Composing relevant music for 5 decades! Melody is paramount!
So many styles of composition, but somehow ALL Paul! Hey Jude, Let It Be, Yesterday, Blackbird, The Fool On The Hill, The Long and Winding Road, Penny Lane, For No One, Golden Slumbers, Here, There and Everywhere, Can't Buy Me Love, Eleanor Rigby, Fixing A Hole, Rocky Raccoon, She's Leaving Home, Got To Get You Into My Life, Two Of Us, Hello Goodbye, Lady Madonna, Getting Better, Mother Nature's Son, Helter Skelter, And I Love Her, Birthday, Back In The USSR, Martha My Dear, Things We Said Today, Get Back, I've Got A Feeling, Good Day Sunshine, You Never Give Me Your Money, You Won't See Me, I've Just Seen A Face, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Ob La Di Ob La the, I'll Follow The Sun, Maybe I'm Amazed, Junk, Teddy Boy, Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, Too Many People, Dear Boy, Monkberry Moon Delight, Another Day, Backseat Of My Car, Wild Life, Dear Friend, ...more

Don't forget: Hi Hi Hi, You Gave Me The Answer, Freedom, All Together Now, No More Lonely Nights, That Would Be Something, Queenie Eye, I Saw Her Standing There, Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Picasso's Last Words, Give Ireland Back To The Irish, Honey Pie, Heart Of The Country, Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band!

Without a doubt-no one comes close per shear volume of good to great songs

2 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.

Unreal importance! ONLY McCartney comes close!

3 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades.

Simple melodies, simple harmonies but so beutiful and haunting.

4 Brian Wilson Brian 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.

Responding to the person below me: Paul McCartney was the creative genius behind albums like Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road. Pet Sounds is indeed a fantastic album, as is SMiLE, but those are two albums. Nearly every album Paul made was fantastic.

As this is a list of greatest composers, Brian must be higher. Perhaps Macca and the others above have an edge as songwriters, but how many of them actually produced their own albums? And wrote their own orchestral scores? Paul has done things like the "Liverpool Oratorio", but none of them match the complexity of Pet Sounds or SMiLE.

Compare the music, song for song. Brian Wilson has no equal. More is not always better. I defer to Paul McCartney on Pet Sounds being the greatest album with the greatest song.

Brian WILSON is the best

5 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.

The greatest artist all times

6 Desmond Child

He is the real deal on this list. Nobody wrote so many hits performed by different rock and pop artists (several Grammy winners). I’m talking about more than 50 great hits of this calibre:

Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer, You Give Love a Bad Name, Bad Medicine, This ain't A Love Song, Keep the Faith, Diamond Ring, and many more.

Aerosmith - Crazy, Dude (Looks Like a Lady), Angel, What it Takes, Hole in My Soul, etc.

KISS - I Was Made for Lovin' You, Heaven's on Fire

Joan Jett - I Hate Myself for Loving You

Alice Cooper - Poison

Cher - Just Like Jesse James, Does Anybody Really Fall In Love Anymore?

Ricky Martin - Livin' la Vida Loca, She Bangs, Nobody Wants to Be Lonely, Shake Your Bon-Bon

… and so on. - Metal_Treasure

7 Ritchie Blackmore Richard Hugh "Ritchie" Blackmore is an English guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work in the hard rock/metal bands Deep Purple and Rainbow. He was ranked number 16 on Guitar World's "100 Greatest Metal Guitarists of All Time" in 2004, and number 50 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the more.

Remembering all those live concerts mid to late '70s gave you goose bumps and tears from beginning to end. The hair literally would stand on end. I saw many concerts around the planet, you couldn't compare Purple or Rainbow European crowds to anybody else. Blackmore's Night is another incredible show not to miss. Ritchie has been awarded as #1 musician in eastern Europe many times the past 2 decades. Sorry there is virtually no great music here in the states. Looks like Beethove and Mozart are making a comeback!, imagine that. (wishful thinking)

The most versatile songwriter on this list: metal, hard rock, classic rock, soft rock, Renaissance/folk music. Also divine instrumentals like Anybody There, Snowman, Maybe Next Time.
His riff to Smoke On The Water is the most recognizable riff in rock history.
His songs are written with passion and real inspiration.

8 Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) Stephen Percy "Steve" Harris is an English musician and songwriter, known as the bassist, occasional keyboardist, backing vocalist, primary songwriter and founder of the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden.

The best metal composer without any doubt.

9 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, 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 more.

Freddie is underrated as a songwriter, because everybody take attention to his singing skills only (which are amazing! ), but he composed great, iconic and timeless songs. The best song of all time in TopTen is "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Bohemian Rhapsody
Don't stop me now
We are the champions
Love of my life
Somebody to love
You take my breath away
Crazy little thing called love
It's a hard life
...and a lot of hits he wrote.

What? Only 21st in this list? Is this serious? With Bohemian Rhapsody, Killer queen, Love of my life, Take my breath away, We are the champions...etc?

For you, who wrote this: "I ADORE Freddie/Queen but they're a ROCK band not a pop band..." - did you read the title? Greatest rock/pop composers!

10 Billy Joel William Martin Joel is an American singer-songwriter, composer and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man", he has been making music since the 1960s, releasing popular albums throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s.
The Contenders
11 James Hetfield (Metallica) James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.
12 Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.
13 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.
14 Björn Ulvaeus (ABBA)
15 Pete Townshend Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the lead guitarist and songwriter for the rock band The Who.

McCartney greatest pop composer, Townshend greatest rock composer. Quadrophenia is the towering masterpiece of rock writing ( and performance ).

Should be number 1! Name anybody who written and composed anything near as Tommy, Quad, and multiple albums that went platinum. Their aren't any...

16 Jon Schaffer (Iced Earth) Jon Ryan Schaffer is an American heavy metal musician. He is best known as the guitarist and last remaining original member of the Florida-based heavy metal band Iced Earth, which he formed in 1985 under the name "Purgatory".
17 Stevie Wonder Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.
18 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.

Underrated as a composer, but who else could compose Love You To, Within You Without You, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, My Sweet Lord, and so on? Maybe Paul McCartney and John Lennon. George should at least be in the top ten.

19 Mick Jagger Sir Michael Philip "Mick" Jagger is an English singer, songwriter, and actor, best known as the lead vocalist and a co-founder of the Rolling Stones.
20 Prince Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 - April 21st, 2016) was an American musician, best known for being one of the most popular and influential artists from the 80s, with songs such as "Purple Rain", "Little Red Corvette", "1999", and "When Doves Cry" .
21 Smokey Robinson William "Smokey" Robinson, Jr. is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and former record executive.
22 Michael Jackson Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter born on August 29, 1958, in Gary, Indiana, and passed away on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael is also known as The King of Pop (a title given to him by Elizabeth Taylor) or more.
23 Roger Waters George Roger Waters is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. He is mostly known for being the secondary lead vocalist and bassist of Pink Floyd.
24 Richard Carpenter
25 Peter Gabriel Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer-songwriter, musician and humanitarian activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis.
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