The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters Bands/Musicians

The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

originally by  53k votes 4.2k voters 108k views 257 items tags f p @

List Criteria: 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!
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Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 29 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,340
    - 767
    Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,158
    - 686

    added by Benjamin Dunn
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  3. 3
    + 585
    - 545
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ron Mexico
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

  4. 4
    + 713
    - 568
    Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  5. 5
    + 334
    - 235

    added by jrdale1
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  6. 6
    + 445
    - 335

    added by KirkSaw
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    ;
  7. 7
    + 655
    - 581
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark

    ;
  8. 8
    + 636
    - 634
    Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    ;
  9. 9
    + 499
    - 442
    Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

    ;
  10. 10
    + 658
    - 619
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  11. 11
    + 496
    - 462

    added by Ron Mexico
    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    ;
  12. 12
    + 499
    - 335
    Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks
    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  13. 13
    + 422
    - 433
    Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    often listed & added by jdbranded
    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    ;
  14. 14
    + 458
    - 271

    ranked low on reranks
    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

    ;
  15. 15
    + 352
    - 328

    often listed & added by KirkSaw
    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

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  16. 16
    + 498
    - 448
    Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

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  17. 17
    + 232
    - 170


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  18. 18
    + 331
    - 183

    ranked low on reranks
    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

    ;
  19. 19
    + 377
    - 283
    John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ariel Kana
    Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

    ;
  20. 20
    + 276
    - 268

    added by ohnoitsmanasco
    Disco, Pop music, Rock music Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.

    ;
  21. 21
    + 307
    - 375
    Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ariel Kana
    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

    ;
  22. 22
    + 322
    - 404
    Sting is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark
    Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

    ;
  23. 23
    + 241
    - 245


    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  24. 24
    + 264
    - 279

    often listed & added by ohnoitsmanasco
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  25. 25
    + 393
    - 324
    Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks & added by Pallknowing1
    Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

    ;
  26. 26
    + 188
    - 208

    often listed & added by KirkSaw
    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    ;
  27. 27
    + 584
    - 525
    Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks & added by Randolph
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    ;
  28. 28
    + 159
    - 100


    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  29. 29
    + 169
    - 108


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

    ;
  30. 30
    + 377
    - 329
    Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by TVs Frank
    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  31. 31
    + 333
    - 370

    added by Kel Varnsen
    Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

    ;
  32. 32
    + 151
    - 170

    added by Cory85
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco The last surviving Bee Gee.

    ;
  33. 33
    + 99
    - 99


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  34. 34
    + 160
    - 146


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  35. 35
    + 310
    - 331
    Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  36. 36
    + 263
    - 248
    David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks & added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  37. 37
    + 92
    - 103

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 129
    - 119


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  39. 39
    + 302
    - 268

    added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock

    ;
  40. 40
    + 218
    - 282
    David Byrne is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 149
    - 204
    Yusuf Islam is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by KirkSaw
    Synthpop, Sufi rock, Nasheed Cat Stevens

    ;
  42. 42
    + 218
    - 247
    Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

    ;
  43. 43
    + 77
    - 111

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  44. 44
    + 217
    - 297

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  45. 45
    + 79
    - 84


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  46. 46
    + 242
    - 315
    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ariel Kana
    Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

    ;
  47. 47
    + 103
    - 91


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  48. 48
    + 87
    - 82

    added by looksharp
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  49. 49
    + 112
    - 150

    added by KirkSaw
    Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

    ;
  50. 50
    + 101
    - 109

    added by autosurvive
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
258 +

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