The Greatest Songwriters of All Time Bands/Musicians
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The Greatest Songwriters of All Time

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10,155 views 104 items 3,523 votes 471 voters 20 followers 8reranks
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 Criteria: Vote on whether or not you think the songwriters should be considered the best of all time

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 181
    Down 68
    100
  2. 2
    Up 171
    Down 62
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    98
  3. 3
    Up 80
    Down 48

    ranked low on reranks
    Paul Simon

    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock More
    80
  4. 4
    Up 82
    Down 50
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge More
    79
  5. 5
    Up 73
    Down 52

    ranked high on reranks &controversial
    Bruce Springsteen

    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock More
    77
  6. 6
    Up 52
    Down 26
    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music More
    77
  7. 7
    Up 60
    Down 37
    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music More
    77
  8. 8
    Up 65
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    George Harrison

    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    76
  9. 9
    Up 59
    Down 42

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Pete Townshend

    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat More
    75
  10. 10
    Up 50
    Down 40

    most listed &controversial
    Lou Reed

    Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word More
    74
  11. 11
    Up 62
    Down 36
    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word More
    74
  12. 12
    Up 69
    Down 55

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Kurt Cobain

    Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock More
    72
  13. 13
    Up 60
    Down 32

    ranked low on reranks
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

    71
  14. 14
    Up 42
    Down 34

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Tom Waits

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    71
  15. 15
    Up 52
    Down 29
    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music More
    69
  16. 16
    Up 41
    Down 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Van Morrison

    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music More
    66
  17. 17
    Up 30
    Down 19

    often listed
    John Fogerty

    Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop More
    65
  18. 18
    Up 38
    Down 19

    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

    64
  19. 19
    Up 33
    Down 17
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    63
  20. 20
    Up 31
    Down 35

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Prince

    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave More
    60
  21. 21
    Up 34
    Down 24
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Dance-rock More
    59
  22. 22
    Up 38
    Down 28
    Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock More
    59
  23. 23
    Up 31
    Down 32

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Warren Zevon

    Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    58
  24. 24
    Up 27
    Down 25

    often listed
    Elvis Costello

    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock More
    58
  25. 25
    Up 28
    Down 21

    ranked low on reranks
    Ray Davies

    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock More
    57
  26. 26
    Up 28
    Down 26

    ranked high on reranks
    Joni Mitchell

    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz More
    57
  27. 27
    Up 29
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks
    Townes Van Zandt

    Outlaw country, Folk music, Country More
    56
  28. 28
    Up 20
    Down 17

    ranked high on reranks
    Peter Gabriel

    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music More
    56
  29. 29
    Up 17
    Down 25

    often listed
    John Mellencamp

    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music More
    55
  30. 30
    Up 30
    Down 9

    ranked low on reranks
    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Opera, Classical music More
    53
  31. 31
    Up 16
    Down 15

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Neil Peart

    Progressive metal, Swing music, Heavy metal More
    53
  32. 32
    Up 28
    Down 8

    ranked low on reranks
    Hank Williams

    Outlaw country, Western music, Folk music More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 6
    Down 7

    ranked high on reranks
    Willie Nelson

    Outlaw country, Americana, Traditional pop music More
    53
    added by: wiabux
  34. 34
    Up 19
    Down 26

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Nick Cave

    Gothic rock, Garage rock, Alternative rock More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 29
    Down 10

    ranked low on reranks
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Opera, Ballet, Art song More
    52
  36. 36
    Up 31
    Down 23

    ranked low on reranks
    Kris Kristofferson

    Outlaw country, Rock music, Folk music More
    52
  37. 37
    Up 14
    Down 18

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Joe Strummer

    New Wave, Ska, Rock music More
    51
  38. 38
    Up 17
    Down 10

    ranked low on reranks
    Chuck Berry

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll More
    51
  39. 39
    Up 11
    Down 15
    Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal More
    50
  40. 40
    Up 18
    Down 7
    Reggae More
    48
    added by: wiabux
  41. 41
    Up 15
    Down 21

    often listed
    Patti Smith

    Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk More
    48
  42. 42
    Up 10
    Down 15

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Steve Earle

    Americana, Heartland rock, Country rock More
    46
  43. 43
    Up 17
    Down 23

    often listed
    Morrissey

    Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly More
    45
  44. 44
    Up 16
    Down 9
    Opera, Musical theatre, Film score More
    45
  45. 45
    Up 17
    Down 10
    Classical music More
    45
  46. 46
    Up 19
    Down 22

    often listed
    Randy Newman

    Pop music, Rock music, Soft rock More
    44
  47. 47
    Up 12
    Down 7
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    44
    added by: wiabux
  48. 48
    Up 3
    Down 0
    Folk music, Progressive bluegrass, Country More
    43
    added by: MikeTrujillo
  49. 49
    Up 3
    Down 0
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock More
    43
    added by: lordrocknroll
  50. 50
    Up 10
    Down 18

    often listed
    Shane MacGowan

    Celtic rock, Celtic punk, Rock music More
    42
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