music The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Lon Harris
Originally by
82k votes 6.1k voters 109k views 290 items Embed

List Rules The best song writers - must be prolific

Who is the best songwriter alive today? The musician responsible for the lyrics and music that's the most memorable, significant and lasting in all of rock history, who is still with us today. We're talking, over the course of an entire career, the person who has written the most great songs--the best songwriters of the 21st century. A few things to keep in mind: (1) Songwriting teams are acceptable if they truly worked together (for example, Elton John writing music to Bernie Taupin's lyrics). When possible, as in the case of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, separate them and focus on individual songwriting. (2) LIVING songwriters. Living. (3) I think the ratio of "great songs" to "not good songs" is important to consider. If someone has 2 classic albums of great songs and then 5 albums worth of garbage, that impacts the overall view of the career, no matter how good the original work was. Something to keep in mind.

Add your own selections below and vote up the people you feel are worthy of the title of Greatest Living Rock Songwriter. PLUS, if you have Spotify, you can listen to full songs from each of the listed songwriters on our Ranker playlist!

1
+ - 1,624 1,480
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Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

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2
+ - 1,395 1,383
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

3
+ - 1,289 967
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Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
+ - 726 963
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Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

5
+ - 803 1,235
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Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

6
+ - 706 1,244
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin

7
+ - 773 1,220
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8
+ - 745 1,263
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Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

9
+ - 499 892
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

10
+ - 588 1,057
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Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

11
+ - 592 860
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Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

12
+ - 588 833
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

13
+ - 324 217
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

14
+ - 543 905
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

15
+ - 460 708
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John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

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16
+ - 518 908
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Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

17
+ - 327 515
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Fleetwood Mac Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

18
+ - 258 356
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

19
+ - 470 526
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

20
+ - 283 259
The Who is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

21
+ - 714 802
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Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

22
+ - 380 683
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Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

23
+ - 374 725
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Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

24
+ - 334 535
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jeff Lynne Disco, Pop music, Rock music - Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.

25
+ - 389 622
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U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
+ - 460 584
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Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

27
+ - 78 28
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

28
+ - 328 415
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David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

29
+ - 430 575
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Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

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30
+ - 296 508
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

31
+ - 377 397
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock

32
+ - 328 540
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

33
+ - 193 321
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Barry Gibb Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The last surviving Bee Gee.

34
+ - 138 194
Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Burt Bacharach Pop music, Vocal music

35
+ - 229 389
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Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

36
+ - 155 189
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

37
+ - 170 217
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

38
+ - 146 180
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

39
+ - 245 367
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David Byrne New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

40
+ - 208 273
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

41
+ - 363 500
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Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

42
+ - 259 358
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AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music - Young/Young/Johnson

43
+ - 135 187
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Neil Diamond Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

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44
+ - 112 193
John Mellencamp is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
John Mellencamp Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

45
+ - 253 333
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Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

46
+ - 283 449
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Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

47
+ - 116 145
Jackson Browne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jackson Browne Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

48
+ - 262 378
Rush is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

49
+ - 122 136
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

50
+ - 122 123
Bob Segar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Segar