Best Storytelling Songwriters and Teams

Billyv
This is intended to be people who wrote & recorded several songs that tell good, creative, engaging Stories (a bit more than, for example "I love you a lot"), not necessarily great works of technical musicianship or vocals, though performance and delivery do increase the quality. Looking for somewhat cohesive literal stories here, not magnificent envocation of images and emotion alone. I'm stating the list with those who immediately come to my mind with the hope that others will add many more artists and with the likelihood that I will add more, too. Initially, the exact order isn't as crucial as trying to include some of the best and most prolific, and hopefully some often overlooked artists who recieved a reasonable amount of popularity will be added.

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 .

Yes, his songs have well written stories. Example- Hurricane, Like A Rolling Stone, The Times They Are Changing. - zxm

Tangled Up In Blue, Lily Rosemary and The Jack Of Hearts, Isis, The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll... - Billyv

One of those who drove the genre into mainstream popularity. - Billyv

2 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.

"Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together. I've got some real estate here in my bag. So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner's pies, and walked off to look for America."

You know how long it took me to realize those lyrics don't rhyme? It's a masterpiece. - PetSounds

Classic! Excellent choice to source a quote. This song captures so much. - Billyv

How about the haunting other worldliness of "The Only Living Boy in New York"?

3 Harry Chapin

"Oh I've got something inside me to drive the princess blind
There's a wild man wizard he's hiding in me,
Illuminating my mind..."

"Sometimes words can serve me well, and sometimes words can go to hell
For all that they do..." - Billyv

You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly
She took off to find the footlights
And I took off to find the sky

Awesome imagery...

4 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.

I love John. I'm a huge fan and appreciate his work even from as objective of a perspective as I can reach. I'd support his inclusion among the greatest songwriters ever, but he doesn't belong near the top of this list above several of the others. Few of his songs even fit this category and style of writing. Brilliant images, invoked emotion, descriptive portraits, and poignant messages are elements that can be incorporated - they can inspire imagination -but alone they do not "tell a story". - Billyv

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, I am the Walrus, Sexy Sadie, Across the Universe, You've Got to Hide Your Love Away, Strawberry Fields, No Reply, I'm a Loser, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, A Day in the Life, For the Benefit of Mr. Kite, The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, Dear Prudence, Mean Mr. Mustard, Polythene Pam, Sun King and.. Imagine.. which tells the story, I suppose, of a shared world vision for some of us.

Yes. Lennon wrote or contributed to writing many solid songs. Many if these do not really fit a storytelling concept that seeks to differentiate from lists of songs with strong lyrics and meaningful and/or poetic imagery - there are other lists for that sort of thing. Your support would be more valid if you limited the focus. Otherwise, we may just as well have a few general lists or your own personal list of favorites. - Billyv

Always number one for me and so many others!

Cry Baby, Cry, The Ballad of John and Yoko, This Boy, Beautiful Boy.. Would vote for him hourly if I could.

I'm sure you'd vote by the minute if you could. Why not just go make and submit your own lists instead of needing to force your preferences here? - Billyv

V 2 Comments
5 Jim Croce Jim Croce

Jim's evocative words brought visions to your mind that made you smile, no matter what the source topic was...writing about his soon-to-be-born son (Time in a Bottle), Big Jim (You don't mess around with Jim), lamenting a lover that wasn't up for real love (Thursday), or reflecting like a 50 year old guy in a 29 year old guy's body (Age)...Croce's lyrics touched your soul. Few songwriters ever had this kind of talent. The music world in 1973 lost a man who would of filled our ear for years with many more beautiful songs. Cherish what he (and Maury) left for us...3 albums of priceless memories and stories.

Every word that Jim sang could be understood. His voice was incredible! Still very popular, even though he died 42 years ago! He is a legend for sure!

All I need to say is: "Time In A Bottle". Pure poetry and storytelling right there. - Britgirl

And such a cool character and persona that's consistently portrayed in his work. - Billyv

I believe that up there will Denver Simon and Dylan, Croce remains a legend in the works of music. - Beatlesboy9

6 David Bowie
7 Kris Kristofferson
8 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 ...read more.
9 Bernie Taupin/Elton John
10 Billy Joel Billy Joel

I love Billy Joel's Music. The song Scenes from an Italian Restaurant basically describes me and my love toward music. - Beatlesboy9

No one speaks to me like Billy!

Definitely should be top 5

The Newcomers

? Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury 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. ...read more.

The Contenders

11 Lennon/McCartney

I prefer this one - Ananya

12 Lou Reed
13 Leonard Cohen
14 James Taylor James Taylor James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling artists of all time, and he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
15 Neil Young Neil Young Neil Percival Young, OC OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter.
16 Woody Guthrie
17 Gordon Lightfoot Gordon Lightfoot

My pleasure, Billy. I also added Billy Joel. ("Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" is a great example of his storytelling capabilities. ) Henley/Frey is a good choice as well, although I didn't add them or any others. - PetSounds

I agree Billy Joel belongs too, just didn't want to be too redundant in my comments. I was a more avid fan of his at one point but my interests drifted away somewhat. I envisioned this list as being potentially quite extensive with 10 choices to start being quite limiting. I'll probably add some more in the future. Obviously we share some strong overlaps in musical taste. Enjoy - Billyv

Thanks for adding one of my all time favorites who didn't even pop to mind when I posted the list - all the brain cylinders aren't always firing! - Billyv

It was either this man or Bob Dylan; both amazing songwriters/ storytellers but I just prefer this man's voice. - Britgirl

18 John Cale
19 Chris Martin Chris Martin

Overrated, and his band is a rip-off of U2, and Radiohead - RogerWatersfan1999

Love him

20 Joni Mitchell Joni Mitchell
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100 votes
43 listings
3 years, 18 days old

Top Remixes

1. Bob Dylan
2. David Bowie
3. Bruce Springsteen
RecklessGreed
1. Bob Dylan
2. Paul Simon
3. Harry Chapin
Billyv

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