Best Storytelling Songwriters and TeamsThis 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
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
He is the real Boss of songwriters, narrative or otherwise.
"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"?
"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
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
I prefer this one - Ananya
Piano Man, Honesty, For the Longest Time, The Entertainer, The Downeaster Alexa, Matter of Trust, etc. A damn poet. - truckturner
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
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
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 of 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 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
Iron Maiden is famous for their storytelling lyrical style. Bruce Dickinson pulls this off beautifully, and Steve Harris writes over 90% of Maiden's songs. His lyrics perfectly match his melodies, and his storytelling transcends lyrics, he can truly create an atmosphere with his music that takes you on a journey. Hands down one of the greatest storytellers in music.
Overrated, and his band is a rip-off of U2, and Radiohead
Wrote some of the most beautiful lyrics ever. - truckturner
Thanks for adding all of these, who I also enjoy and respect. - Billyv
Should rate higher
Better than many songwriters out here.
Sultans of Swing, "Rock music overtaking Jazz".
Money for Nothing, "Outrageous lifestyles of rock music. MTV and Glam Metal".
Telegraph Road, "Rise and fall of industry"
Boom Like that, " Ray Kroc and rise of McDonald's"
What it Is, "Edinburgh, Scotland"
Once Upon a Time in the West, "Wild west outlaws".
And many many. Underrated as a songwriter. - zxm
"You can get anything you want...…………."
The entire Tommy and Quadrophenia albums are stories - Garjen
"Come on let's crawl to the ugly bug ball. What a happy time we'll have there, one and all, at the ugly bug ball."
Quite :). - Britgirl
Certainly one of my favourite - Ananya
These guys deserve to be well up there in the ranks of narrative songwriters. A criminally underrated band.