The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Originally By 73k votes 5.4k voters 115k views 281 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!
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 40 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,503
    - 1,347
    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

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  2. 2
    + 1,280
    - 1,267

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,224
    - 853
    Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  4. 4
    + 244
    - 197
    Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

  5. 5
    + 609
    - 913
    Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

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  6. 6
    + 647
    - 1,141
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ron Mexico
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

  7. 7
    + 746
    - 1,127
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

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  8. 8
    + 728
    - 1,113
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark

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  9. 9
    + 709
    - 1,138
    Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

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  10. 10
    + 551
    - 953

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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 443
    - 786

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

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  12. 12
    + 525
    - 741


    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

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  13. 13
    + 548
    - 763
    Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  14. 14
    + 500
    - 821

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 392
    - 706

    added by KirkSaw
    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

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  16. 16
    + 483
    - 837
    Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by jdbranded
    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

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  17. 17
    + 353
    - 653
    Sting is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    often listed & added by Mark
    Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

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  18. 18
    + 425
    - 618
    John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  19. 19
    + 395
    - 462

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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 280
    - 451

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  21. 21
    + 653
    - 745
    Led Zeppelin is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  22. 22
    + 419
    - 524
    Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Pallknowing1
    Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

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  23. 23
    + 307
    - 484

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

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  24. 24
    + 348
    - 626
    Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    often listed & added by Ariel Kana
    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

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  25. 25
    + 409
    - 529
    Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  26. 26
    + 210
    - 290


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

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  27. 27
    + 275
    - 462


    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

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  28. 28
    + 290
    - 376
    David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

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  29. 29
    + 340
    - 353

    ranked low on reranks & added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock

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  30. 30
    + 359
    - 545

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 300
    - 496

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 199
    - 239


    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

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  33. 33
    + 342
    - 464
    Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  34. 34
    + 170
    - 298

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

    ;
  35. 35
    + 181
    - 240


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  36. 36
    + 231
    - 343
    David Byrne is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

    ;
  37. 37
    + 213
    - 365

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

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  38. 38
    + 243
    - 324
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Clark Benson
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music Young/Young/Johnson

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  39. 39
    + 119
    - 131

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

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  40. 40
    + 113
    - 177


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 149
    - 187


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  42. 42
    + 128
    - 157

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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 127
    - 153


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  44. 44
    + 25
    - 15


    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

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  45. 45
    + 239
    - 310
    Dolly Parton is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

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  46. 46
    + 108
    - 172

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 95
    - 173

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  48. 48
    + 241
    - 356

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

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  49. 49
    + 264
    - 426
    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  50. 50
    + 94
    - 131


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

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282 +

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