The Greatest Songwriters of All Time Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
90  reranks 180,974 votes 17,817 voters 228,574 views more info

The Greatest Songwriters of All Time

List Criteria: Vote on whether or not you think the songwriters should be considered the best of all time

If you ask anyone who has ever tried, it's tough to write one song, nevertheless a batch to be considered a songwriter. Add to the mix that the song actually getting recorded and becoming a hit, it's pretty hard to be a great songwriter. Yet that's what make the greatest songwriters different from Average Joe who has tried to pen a song. The best songwriters usually have written multiple hits that not only their most ardent fans know, but also casual listeners.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney are considered two the best songwriters. The Beatles were fueled by this legendary duo's prowess and are debatably the greatest band because these two outstanding songwriters.

Similarly to Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan is another songwriter who can be considered one of the greatest of all time. Dylan's songwriting introduced powerful imagery and themes that were deeply layered within the context of his writing. His songwriting influenced an entire generation of bands, songwriters and fans, including another member of this list, Bruce Springsteen.

This is the Ultimate List of the greatest songwriters of all time. Everyone on this list is considered one of the best at his or her craft. Vote for the songwriter who you think is the greatest, which shouldn't be too easy with a list like this one.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 90 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 4118
    Down 2372
    97
  2. 2
    Up 3592
    Down 2911

    the people's #1 &most listed
    Bob Dylan

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    95
  3. 3
    Up 4307
    Down 2183

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Wilson

    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music More
    87
  4. 4
    Up 5152
    Down 3490
    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave More
    77
  5. 5
    Up 2035
    Down 1672
    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock More
    76
  6. 6
    Up 2294
    Down 1585
    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    76
  7. 7
    Up 2435
    Down 2258
    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz More
    76
  8. 8
    Up 1911
    Down 1866
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge More
    75
  9. 9
    Up 1737
    Down 1412
    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music More
    73
  10. 10
    Up 1470
    Down 706
    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music More
    72
  11. 11
    Up 1748
    Down 1744
    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock More
    71
  12. 12
    Up 1579
    Down 1645
    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word More
    71
  13. 13
    Up 1427
    Down 1487

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    David Bowie

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music More
    70
  14. 14
    Up 1646
    Down 1327
    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock More
    67
  15. 15
    Up 1524
    Down 1295

    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

    67
  16. 16
    Up 820
    Down 372

    ranked low on reranks
    Paul McCartney

    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    66
    added by: JasonWitherspoon
  17. 17
    Up 977
    Down 760
    Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana More
    66
    added by: mjhegger
  18. 18
    Up 1276
    Down 1442

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Tom Waits

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    65
  19. 19
    Up 1285
    Down 981
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music More
    64
  20. 20
    Up 1079
    Down 741
    Opera, Musical theatre, Film score More
    63
  21. 21
    Up 1228
    Down 892
    Opera, Ballet, Art song More
    63
  22. 22
    Up 728
    Down 412
    Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly More
    62
  23. 23
    Up 1744
    Down 1767
    Piano rock, Dark cabaret, Electronic dance music More
    62
    added by: tomeksj
  24. 24
    Up 1149
    Down 1142
    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat More
    62
  25. 25
    Up 907
    Down 884
    Reggae More
    62
    added by: wiabux
  26. 26
    Up 1147
    Down 950
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    61
    added by: wiabux
  27. 27
    Up 1107
    Down 1082
    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music More
    61
  28. 28
    Up 714
    Down 711
    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music More
    60
    added by: StacyWolfe
  29. 29
    Up 1034
    Down 1049
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    60
  30. 30
    Up 833
    Down 750
    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll More
    60
  31. 31
    Up 1340
    Down 1599
    Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    60
  32. 32
    Up 1027
    Down 900
    Opera, Classical music More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 1451
    Down 1202
    Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock More
    59
    added by: tomeksj
  34. 34
    Up 832
    Down 833
    Outlaw country, Western music, Folk music More
    59
  35. 35
    Up 899
    Down 888
    Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop More
    58
  36. 36
    Up 884
    Down 1024
    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 846
    Down 1278

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Lou Reed

    Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word More
    57
  38. 38
    Up 495
    Down 658
    Outlaw country, Americana, Traditional pop music More
    55
    added by: wiabux
  39. 39
    Up 782
    Down 861
    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music More
    55
  40. 40
    Up 229
    Down 67

    ranked low on reranks
    Gene Clark

    Folk music, Folk rock, Country rock More
    54
    added by: MichaelSchreck
  41. 41
    Up 629
    Down 679
    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music More
    54
    added by: StacyWolfe
  42. 42
    Up 655
    Down 813

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Roger Waters

    Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock More
    53
    added by: MohammadrezaMomeni
  43. 43
    Up 928
    Down 601

    ranked low on reranks
    Todd Rundgren

    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    53
    added by: chefsteve
  44. 44
    Up 923
    Down 816
    Doo-wop, Pop music, Rock music More
    53
    added by: JoeVojtko
  45. 45
    Up 824
    Down 779
    Classical music More
    53
  46. 46
    Up 789
    Down 888
    Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock More
    51
  47. 47
    Up 614
    Down 640
    Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music More
    50
    added by: MaeganBell
  48. 48
    Up 588
    Down 828
    Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music More
    50
  49. 49
    Up 693
    Down 1148

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Kurt Cobain

    Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock More
    50
  50. 50
    Up 520
    Down 577
    Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock More
    49
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