Greatest Song Writers
The Top Ten
He changed music in our time more than any other writer. And his style of singing changed like chameleon to suit his needs. Something no artist has since matched.
I am giving up on this site after seeing this. His songs are just songs they are poems that embody the whole word. He was considered the voice of his generation, the same generation that had the civil rights movement and Vietnam. Like a rolling stone is the most important song in the history of modern music. The reason he is so low has to be people don't know who he is anymore and because of that, to quote dr farnsworth "i don't want to live on this planet anymore"
The guy has influenced practically every songwriter from Lennon to Jack White, and US presidents have even made references to his lyrics in their very inauguration speeches. Not only did he teach the world that good songs don't have to be about broken hearts by writing lyrics that actually seem relevant, he also wrote some of the finest melodies ever in his unique, yet down-to-earth style. This guy should be number one, for ever! - PeterLuke
A songwriter who crosses into the realms of some the greatest poets and writers who have ever lived. In a thousand years time he will be remembered along side William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, Ezra Pound and Edgar Allen Poe his words will never be forgotten. He sang at The march on Washington (his song 'When the ship comes in') which saw Martin Luther king Jr produce his iconic 'I have a dream' speech. In conclusion his words were not only beautiful but extremely relevant, he fought not only the injustice of sending men to die in an unnecessary war but the unforgivable treatment of black Americans by the American police force and other authorities, He must therefore be regarded without any questionable doubt as the greatest songwriters of all time, nobody before or since has even come close to this poetic genius. - liamh1381
Most underrated part of his genius? We all know how great he was with music videos, dancing, singing, live performing etc but his songs were so well written and almost all by him
Michael so many amazing songs including "Billie Jean" "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" "Wanna Be Startin' Something" "Bad" "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" "Black or White" "Beat It" "Heal the World" "Earth Song" "They Don't Care About Us" "Stranger in Moscow" and much, much more... - MJforevertheKing
The reason why he is the best songwriter is very simple: he wrote loads of songs that have a connection with him and ALL of his fans. They are all the better taken forward to the epicenter of Michael's creations. Moreover, in terms of quantity, Michael has still so many songs sleeping in vaults that will show in the future that he was still the King Of Songwriting. Wait for songs like "Breed", "ays in Gloucestershire" or "World Of Candy"!
Inbetween MJ, John Lennon, and Freddie Mercury. I've been as MJ fan longer so I'll be loyal. - OmegaRankersClone
Unknown by many, Pals lyrics and melodies are a work of creative genius. The pop success of 'Take on me' left many believing a-ha were no more than a pop band, but later albums, and even other tracks from a-ha's debut album "Hunting High and Low" demonstrated that there was more to this composer than met the eye.
9 a-ha albums, 5 Savoy albums and a number of collaborations later, Pal Waaktaar-Savoy is a consummate writer, capable of setting a phrase or refrain in such a way as to twist emotion downwards, or send it soaring.
He is, most definitely, my number 1 song writer.
He is the greatest songwriter, every song he wrote was fantastic. Songs like "Out of blue comes green", Hunting High And Low", "East of the sun west of the moon" are masterpieces. We will never forget Morten's voice, Mags riffs and your wonderful songs. A-HA FOREVER
I love his songs from a-ha and Savoy and I would be glad to hear new songs from him.
Extremely underreated, but one of the best ever in the whole song writing business.
Hands down the greatest musician to ever live. He inspired many great musicians that most people worship, and he pioneered many genres. If you talk about who wrote the best music it is definitely Lennon. And about lyrics, he makes a fight with Morrissey and Bob Dylan.
John and than Paul. This is not just my opinion this is the way it should be. With songs like imagine, come together, dear prudence, all you need is love, strawberry fields forever and I want to hold your hand there really is no way that he shouldn't be number one.
Lennon was a great songwriter but not a great musician. McCartney and Harrison were both more skilled and versatile on their instruments. Lennon was smart. He wrote great songs and surrounded himself with outstanding musicians.
John was brilliant and his lyrics and songs were other worldly and imbued with the fighting human spirit, social consciousness and means to challenge the human potential. He was brutally honest and courageously self-reflective. Much more so than Paul could ever hope to be and even, George. - Pfeifferpfan
The most poignant, insightful and brutally honest lyrics ever written by any musician. A genius, unafraid with the hugest heart. Forever, John Lennon.
Paul is the best at writing songs actually. He just dreams of them he is actually the best and he deserves more credit for his work. Besides he was such an influential part of rock and boy bands I mean come on.
He's so good, I am envious. I mean Yesterday in a dream, Let It Be in a dreams, Hey Jude, whilst driving to Julian Lennon, Here, There and Everywhere whilst waiting for John to wake up from bed, Mull of Kintyre, a love song about where he was living, Yellow Submarine, from a place between sleep and dream, Live and Let Die after being asked to write a song, I could go on and on and on.
He's just so effortless and he has perfect physical structure of songs in his mind. Each of his albums is the equivalent of another persons greatest hits, and he averages about one album per year since 20 years old.
I once read an internet article proposing that for a songwriter to achieve legendary status, he/ she has had to write 3 well known songs. So for example, Dolly Parton has, I will always love you, Jolene, and Nine to Five. Paul Simon (in Simon and Garfunkel), The Sound of Silence, Bridge Over Troubled Water and The Boxer. Those songwriters could be considered a legend, or more ...more
First of all, Paul McCartney is the most successful songwriter in history. His collaborations with John Lennon and solo work has sold more than all the others on this list combined, and yes that DOES include MJ, Freddie Mercury and all the rest put together. Each person's musical taste is their own, and they are entitled to it, but when you throw in Paul's singing career with The Beatles, wings, and solo, he is BY FAT the most successful musician in history.
This list is full of paradoxes. There's no doubt that Paul McCartney deserves to be number 1. Those who suppose otherwise are just local supporters of their own national heros, which has nothing to do with the universal appeal of their music.
Maybe for some it takes a while to realise what the words he transformed in songs mean, but when you get their meaning, they make you cry every time you listen to them. Sang or not. Some dispute his genius, but there's nothing to argue about. He just wrote a part from what humans feel. Just that simple, to get people crying or at least be moved by some words. Come on guys, check that ballads' meaning, you'll get what I'm blabbering here. You'll not lose your time, just gain something instead
an genius at this place.. He is the best song writers I've ever meet.. - ragil_19
how come he's not on the list? he's the world greatest song writer. metal, rock, ballad, even classical! he has them all! music is his blood! - kurenai_tenshi
Awesome lyrics, beautiful melodies. Creates so much emotion with his songs. His music ranges from classical to hard rock.
I'm shocked, no one voted for this dashingly brilliant guy. He is the most inspirational artists of the 20th century, TONES of today's bands just owe him - music, style (hey, J-Rock luvers, visual key was his invention))) - EVERYTHING. At least he deserves this for Ashes to Ashes)))
Space oddity. life on mars.
It is disgusting that Pete Townshend is ranked 59 on this list. He is easily in the top ten for the list of greatest songwriters in the history of popular music. He pretty much wrote every Who song, including every song for their two rock operas. And then I see the nobodies that are ahead of him on this list. These nobodies wish that at the end of their careers they can have a hint of relevance in music history, whereas Pete will never come close to being forgotten. In my unbiased opinion, The Who are the third greatest band of all time, right after The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, and, although the other three members are very important as well, if Townshend wasn't a key member of that band, they might not even be on the list of the 50 greatest bands of all time. That's how important his songwriting was to the band. A genius of a songwriter and a genius of a musician. Seriously, come on people! Wake up!
Pete is definitely one of the greatest songwriters of our time! Have none of you ever heard, "Blue, Red, and Grey? " That song helped me cope with depression and anxiety, he -saved- my life. Pete is a bloody genius and I hope that one day the world can truly appreciate this lovely man.
Townshend is the best. The first person in rock to combine abandon with intellect and make it work in spectacular fashion. And his solo work equals his greatness with the group, a rare feat indeed. Music and lyrics are of the same incredible standard and his performance prowess seals the deal. Only Hendrix can stand on similar ground.
Who else could write pretty much all of two of the greatest rock operas, three of the greatest rock albums and one of the greatest concept albums of all time. The guy is a legend.
Freddie Mercury Bohemian Rhapsody song is by far the best Written song Freddie Mercury wrote that song went down in history as the best Rock song of All Time, with the Deep Lyrics and the Opera sound really showed off Freddie Mercury Four Octave Vocal Range and made him one of the best singers ever, Bohemian Rhapsody song is one of the weirdest songs but the song is also one of the most popular songs ever made by a band and written by Freddie Mercury, and We Are The Champions is a song that nobody can't sing including Bohemian Rhapsody dong, and other songs such as Another One Bites The Dust and the famous Bass Riff song Under Pressure if you can think of the Under Pressure Bass Riff you are a genius and that's what Freddie Mercury was, he was a Genius with a great voice he is one of the strongest Tenors I've ever heard his voice risen in strength and Substance and Conviction and power, God truely blessed Freddie Mercury with a Voice, Love Freddie Mercury.
The writer of Bohemian Rhapsody at number 10? Bismillah, no I will not let this go! - OmegaRankersClone
I don't take this list seriously just because of the fact that some guy from a-ha is number 1. Then there are other people in the top ten who either don't deserve to be there or no one knows. Then you have legendary songwriters that are so low on this list like Pete Townshend (55? ). All-in-all, if you're doing legitimate research on great songwriters, don't pay much attention to this list.
He wrote iconic and timeless songs.
He deserves to be number one. Of course, there's the monumental 'Stairway to Heaven, ' but apart from that, there are other, far lesser known songs like Achilles Last Stand and Carouselambra (they're really really poetic). There's also the breadth of his songwriting, ranging from outpourings of longing such as 'Ten Years Gone, ' to songs like Black Dog and Trampled Underfoot, which are rife with innuendos. And then, of course, there are Led Zep's ten minute epics
He's so creative and very imaginative
One of the greats in song writing
Extremely creative and poetic
I really can't sum up all my feelings for this great songwriter, he is deep in an emotional way, his music touches the most intimate vibes of the human kind, no matter what age, language, gender you are, you will feel related to his writing. His melodies are in a way melodic and catchy, they are sometimes dramatic and intense, the melodies speak for themselves. There is no song of Tim that I don't enjoy.
He talks about so many things, not only love and lost, the path of the human being growing old, the modern world issues, how people change, how you loose friends, how your loved one has become a stranger to you. I love Tim in so many ways that I can't describe, his lyrics have changed my life for the better, they took me from the darkest places and showed me some light. Tim, you are magnificent!
Tim has the power to say the most complicated emotions in the simplest of words! He has the gift of moving hearts with his words. It there is one person who really knows about human emotions and human condition, that's him. He might not be that well known because he is not into the whole rockstar culture and the high life, but he's got the ability to move thousands of people with his lyrics and that's why from a 14 year old to a 50 year old weeps at his lyrics at concerts and behind their closed doors. Tim Rice Oxley is a modern maestro... Or as we say MaesT. R.O... He truely deserves to be on the list of the best lyricist of this century!
Tim is a 'modern maestro'! By his own admission he is not a great musician but he has certainly mastered the art of writing heartfelt lyrics. Tim can relate a whole story within the space of a few minutes. For me he is a 'wordsmith' because his skill with words conveys the meaning of every song he has written. Long may he continue to do so! An extremely under-rated songwriter!
I run out of words every time I have to talk about this amazing lyricist. He has a god-given gift with words, he's a total workaholic that loves music and you can sense that in his songs. He knows exactly how to go straight to your heart writing songs that describe your own feelings in a way not even yourself could do. His lyrics are very deep and dark but they always have a sense of hope that warms your heart. He's a real genius, he often locks himself in his studio to write non stop for 12 hours not because he has to, but because he feels the need to. I was lucky enough to have the chance to tell him in person that he's the best songwriter in the entire world, he just smiled shyly not really believing my words, but I'm glad there're thousands of us that know for sure he is.
He writes amazing songs
Piano Man makes me picture the bar - OmegaRankersClone
My favorite songs that he made, are Piano Man, The Entertainer, Angry Young Man, Running on ice, My Life, Honesty, New York State of Mind, And Say Goodbye to Hollywood; Billy Joel should be # 3 on the list. he's AWESOME!
Billy Joel has more talent in his pinky then many artists considered to be great by today's standards and NOBODY can tell a story through their songs like billy Joel. I am a teenager in high school and I listen to Billy Joel daily. My other recommendation is Elton John.
Richie is so awesome! Not only has he contributed to a majority of Bon Jovi's songs, but his solo stuff is amazing!
he's the second songwriter of bon jovi and he wrote his solo stuff!
No, we don't all know that Sambora is the greatest guitar player of all time, and if you check the list of Top Ten guitarists of all time, you'll find he's not even in the top ten. Nor is he a great songwriter. I mean, I can write on this page that I am president of the United States. That doesn't make it true.
Just another over rated non entity who has contributed nothing to modern music. Looks silly too with that dumb cowboy hat that he wore for years.
made we will rock you awesome song and much more
...wrote more than 200 songs for Queen, his own band, and others.
He writes poetry
He may not be able to shred on the guitar, but James is the most gifted all-around metal musician of all time
Are you people crazy take hetfield and ulrich and give them 5 mins to write lyrics that will change your life just listen to every Metallica song from the best to the worst EVERY ONE of their songs are full of meaning example: FOR WHOM THE FAKING BELL TOLLS!
Listen to One, Fade To Black and you will know why I voted for him - nooreldeen
Yes, let's run through the list of people who have done her songs. Aretha (Natural Woman), Dave Mason (Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow), James Taylor (You've Got a Friend, among others), Grand Funk Railroad (Locomotion), Steve Lawrence (Go Away Little Girl), the Monkees (Pleasant Valley Sunday), the Beatles (Chains), the Shirelles (Love Me Tomorrow), etc, etc, etc. I challenge anyone to come up with a list of songs written by anyone above her (save for Dylan and the Beatles) that can equal Carole King.
This list is a joke! I can't even believe the names I am seeing on this list! Has anyone on here ever heard of Bob Dylan? Townes Van Zandt? Leonard Cohen? Paul Simon?... I can understand why you would have Carole King, Billy Joel, Freddie Mercury, and Michael Jackson on here, and I do like Keane, but this is really a joke. Go back to elementary school for a few more years and try again!
A guy from Bon Jovi and a guy from Keane are ahead of this woman?
She wrote Tapestry for gods sake! Just think of all the legends who have sung her songs, Aretha Franklin etc.
Trapped on an island with only one artists' complete catalog to listen to for the rest of your life, it HAS to be Neil Young. Says the 63 year old guy.
I can't believe Neil Young is not at least top 20, for me he is number 1. My best guess is that they couldn't find his name? Who knows.
Hey hey my my, Rock an Roll Can Never Die
Neil young is the best songwriter and singer that I know of. What kind of person would put him at so low? His voice and songs are wonderful. He should be in the top ten.
Probably the most diverse & timeless musician ever born. No one rocks like Neil. Excellent live showman. His songs? Just look em up sometime!
He is one of the most tragic stories in music history. He was mentally and musically gifted and the fact he could overcome a bad childhood to show that is credit. If he lived longer I am confident he would be in the top three. Much more humble than the likes of McCartney. His surreal but heavy sounds spoke to many
Part of his genius was his ability to write great songs with meaning and an edge. The voice of his generation (whether he liked it or not).
Kurt was a troubled guy, but because of that it made him one of the greatest song writers of all time. In dave Grohls words "he could take something that would take me an hour to explain and put it in two words". It's sad to see him so far down here at 31.
Simple is the best
Better than anyone else on this list. Should be on the top.
Leonard has written one of the most covered songs in recent years, Hallelujah. Think about that.
Leonard cohen simplyrules and should be closer to the top of tjis list, fools
There's something about him, his sound, his humor, the mood, the tone, the words, the bkgrnd vocals. somethin' indescribably powerful in its quiet melodies, romantic. beautifully romantic.
Just fantastic! Every word, every sound, and every rhyme flow naturally! He is outstanding at what he does!
Sorry to read about his son, that's terrible...
Writing a song? It's a limiting term!
A deep energy ready to explode!
The best I know of. Circle Game, A Case Of You... Both Sides Now...
It just seems wrong to have Joni Mitchell sandwiched between someone named Tamer Hosny and someone named Nick Cave.
Hands down Number One. Better material than over rated Dylan.
Should be number one
Eminem is a great songwriter. Far from the best but in my opinion the songwriter of the century. The way his lines are put together in his songs make sense in a way I have never experienced before. Every word counts in his texts and non are wasted. I absolutely love some of his albums even though they are as far from the type of rock music I listen to as they can get. It takes a genius for me to listen to rap, and Eminem sure is that.
Seriously? Funniest lines, even the serious ones are genius. They have hidden meanings, metaphors not to mention he makes it sound/ feel good
I can't believe he's not already in top ten. I mean who can write like him? His lyrics are unique in every way.
He wrote Phantom of the Opera, Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, Aces High, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Alexander the Great, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, Mother Russia, Fear of the Dark, Sign of the Cross, The Clansman, Blood Brothers, For the Greater Good of God, When the Wild Wind Blows and The Red & the Black all BY HIMSELF! There is only one god and his name is Steve Harris!
Why in the world is he not top spot by a mile. He's not your every day pop song writer, he is a metal song writer, and no one beats the man. He's wrote so many good songs for Iron maiden, and Iron maiden are still one of the best bands in the world, because of the magnificent songwriter!
One word about him... Epic
Steve harris is better than any one I know.
A Greatest Song Writer Among Them. Tupac's Lyrics Really Meaningful And Its All About True. 2Pac Should Be On Top 5. He Is The Best Rap Lyricist Of All Time!
11 total albums and 7 posthumous albums with a ton of work still to be released all before his death at age 25. Sold 75 million. Should be top 5
On the Top Tens list of singer/songwriters, which is much more legit than this bogus list, he is deservedly in the top ten, at number six.
VERY good song lyrics. one of my favorite song writers - Lizzthaashizz
In my opinion, Paul Simon deserves to be in the TOP TEN.
Great melodies and good lyrics.
Paul Simon is a lyrical genius, providing tunes such as Slip Slidin' Away, and has some amazing arrangements. I am shocked to see how low he is on this list.
Folky Beck and his lyrics... Good one.
I like Paul and John better for the Beatles, but George is really good. And then as a solo artist, he takes the crown.
I LOVE ROMANCE AND IN A SONG THATS WHAT REACHES OUT AND TOUCHES MY HEART AND SOUL, AND AFTER A LONG DAY OF HELL, VILLE FILLS ME WITH LOVE AND HOPE IN LOVE AGAIN... THATS WHAT I WANT FROM MUSIC, REFRESHING AND FULL OF LOVE, TAKES ALL THE BULLCRAP OF THE DAY AND WASHES IT AWAY... LOVE YOU VILLE - alyciaisaacs
Gordon lightfoot really should be in the top ten! I mean bob Dylan was his biggest admirer
Still is, I assume.
He wrote Apologize, good life, counting stars, secrets, all the right moves, and EVERY OTHER ONE of OneRepublic's songs, as well as Halo, Bleeding Love, Brighter than the sun, Already Gone, Rumour has it, battlefield, lucky strike, love somebody, not over you, sleepwalker, turning tables, as well as countless others. He is one of the best active songwriters right now!
Ryan Tedder is a modern music genius. He has written songs for singers from different genres. Such as as Pop, Rock, Country, and Hip Hop. Can You think of songwriters who write for different genres?
Amazing songwriter! OneRepublic have the best songs because he's just so great at singing, producing, and writing songs.
Has written so many hits for bands that aren't his own and, to top it all off, has one of the most beautiful falsettos of all time.
How about Hal David
How can he be at no.34? He should be in the top 3.
Great song writer. His songs became big part of great movies of past.
A lot of these aren't legit. This one is.
I think this list would be quite different if everybody voting took some time to listen to the writing of Waters. There are a lot of great song writers out there, but Roger has a very unique way of making power- and meaningful lyrics which blends in perfectly with the music resulting in the best constructed songs of all time. Furthermore his solo career and work with Floyd consists of albums, which are to be considered as a combined product of music and not just separat songs. These factors makes Roger Waters the best song writer ever.
! How is Roger Waters at 18? He wrote some of the most brilliant yet sad songs of all time. Nothing has never affected me so emotionally like this before. I your not voting for Roger Waters, listen to The Wall and you will understand the true brilliance of his song writing.
This rankings sucks, if Roger is on #39. His music isn't for everyone, if you know what I mean. While listening to his work, your brain must work at 100%, you can't relax. You're starting to think about world, cruel world.
His songs on the final cut are revolutionary
This list sucks. It's incomplete without Jim. I seriously do not know what's wrong with you people. Jim Morrison is the greatest song-writer of all time. Period.
One of the greatest songwriters of his generations his dark mysterious music can be soothing to the soul
Better songwriter then he was a guitarist. and thats that he was a spectacular guitar player - GuitarFreeeK
Lead singer and guitarist of the Pixies. If he wasn't around, Kurt Cobain wouldn't have ever written Smells Like Teen Spirit, because he admitted he was trying to rip-off the pixies.
bon jovi's song are so powerful and they show so much feelings... - richie4life
thatss right richie4life, and don't forget his best song: HAVE A NICE DAY! - andres101
Noel Gallagher is the most genius songwriter ever. It should be placed in the top ten at least. Need more than a talent to create some glorious song like wonderwall and champagne supernova
He should be in the Top 10, you need many talent to write a song like Wonderwall or Morning Glory and so on...
One of the best of all time. To write songs like wonderwall and live forever is a great talent.
Beck and Dave Mustaine above Noel. Seriously?
Not having that
Tamer's lyrics are so meaningful, he writes lovely and great songs! - Shakaib
That's wonderful. Maybe someday I'll know who this guy is.
Don't get me wrong James Hetfield is very very talented, but he is in no way whatsoever a better songwriter than Ian Curtis. A better musician? Absolutely, a better singer? that's debatable. But in no planet, realm, or universe is he a better songwriter, period.
Inspired many Rnb, Hip Hop artists to this day... - Supremeowl89
Unlike many new artist Madonna "the Queen" writes her own music. She continues to produce melodies and lyrics that will forever remain. Even though her out of the studio antics are a bit shady.
She is the most underrated songwritter of all time
Prior to L'Arc en Ciel hiatus in 2001-2004, there's not a single of his written-song told the same story. Every one of them has great character and wide range of vocabulary, not to mention his poetic writing style. He wrote a song about puppy love like Picasso painting a beautiful scenery. His written song range from a anybody heart break love song into romeo-juliet complex. From adrenaline rush lover biker story into otherworldly farewell song. And don't forget, all in Shakespeare style.
"Niji", "White Feathers", "I wish", "Anata", "Pieces", "Butterfly's Sleep", "Honey", "READY STEADY GO", "MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM" are just a small sample of what hyde can do
the main songwriter of the band who has very deep lyrics behind the songs of l arc en ciel - ronluna
very poetic songwriter and a great vocalist - ronluna
Barracuda, Magic man, Crazy on You , Heartless, Even it Up, Lost Angel, ect, ect, ect. Need I say any more.
Described as the Chord King by Steve Hackett, Tony has a love affair with Harmony. He has developed his own style/method of using chords, arranging his songs and his passion as a composer comes across in everything he does and he has done. Most popular for his involvement with Genesis, Tony's original stuff is often overlooked. This is probably due to the fact that many out there might not understand the connection he has between him and his music. However, those who have followed his solo career reap the benefits of the musical world of Tony Banks. He knows what he likes and he freely exercises his passion and always sticks to his principles. What you see is what you get. Absolute genius.
Although I love all of the members of Genesis and they all made huge unique contributions to the band by adding their own sound & ideas, I think Tony was the most important cog in creating the Genesis sound as he wrote or co-wrote on almost every Genesis song during their Golden Era from Trespass through Wind & Wuthering. Tony's songwriting has always been melodic and accessible whether it was fierce or beautiful, complex or stripped down to the basics.
Tony's ability to combine effortless harmonic virtuosity with genuinely strong compositional talent places him at the forefront of songwriters from the past 50 years.
Often lyrically challenging, always melodically and harmonically satisfying, Tony's works never cease to both entertain and intrigue in a way that is unique among his peers.
You know how Eric Clapton fans like to say "Clapton is GOD! "? No, wrong. Tony BANKS is GOD! Tony Banks is one of the finest songwriter/musicians to ever walk into a recording studio. His solo material is as dynamic and challenging as anything he wrote with his cohorts while in Genesis.