The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters Bands/Musicians

The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

5 23 of 26
originally by  51,243 votes 4,043 voters 106,771 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!


List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 28 ReRanks
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    • Men
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    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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  1. 1
    + 1280
    - 743
    Paul McCartney

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1096
    - 662

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 679
    - 551
    Paul Simon


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  4. 4
    + 552
    - 523
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

    added by Ron Mexico
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

  5. 5
    + 310
    - 209

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

    ;
  6. 6
    + 613
    - 568
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

    added by Mark

    ;
  7. 7
    + 428
    - 318

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

    ;
  8. 8
    + 628
    - 603
    Neil Young


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  9. 9
    + 474
    - 451

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

    ;
  10. 10
    + 485
    - 323
    Ray Davies

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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 604
    - 613
    Bruce Springsteen


    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    ;
  12. 12
    + 406
    - 421
    Van Morrison

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

    ;
  13. 13
    + 477
    - 429
    Pete Townshend

    added by Randolph
    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

    ;
  14. 14
    + 433
    - 264

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 336
    - 316

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

    ;
  16. 16
    + 489
    - 434
    Leonard Cohen


    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

    ;
  17. 17
    + 357
    - 276
    John Fogerty

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

    ;
  18. 18
    + 303
    - 177

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 215
    - 159


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  20. 20
    + 266
    - 260

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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 298
    - 364
    Joni Mitchell

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

    ;
  22. 22
    + 379
    - 315
    Roger Waters

    added by Pallknowing1
    Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

    ;
  23. 23
    + 182
    - 200
    Smokey Robinson

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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 565
    - 519
    Led Zeppelin

    added by Randolph
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    ;
  25. 25
    + 368
    - 322
    Peter Gabriel

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

    ;
  26. 26
    + 156
    - 101


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

    ;
  27. 27
    + 230
    - 235


    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  28. 28
    + 246
    - 267

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 300
    - 395
    Sting

    added by Mark
    Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

    ;
  30. 30
    + 146
    - 160

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 91
    - 91


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  32. 32
    + 148
    - 140


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  33. 33
    + 144
    - 94

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

    ;
  34. 34
    + 299
    - 323
    Elvis Costello


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  35. 35
    + 318
    - 360

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 252
    - 242
    David Gilmour

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 120
    - 111


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 83
    - 94

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  39. 39
    + 285
    - 264

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 211
    - 275
    David Byrne


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 145
    - 192
    Yusuf Islam

    added by KirkSaw
    Synthpop, Sufi rock, Nasheed Cat Stevens

    ;
  42. 42
    + 208
    - 241
    Dolly Parton

    added by Randolph
    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

    ;
  43. 43
    + 214
    - 292

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  44. 44
    + 232
    - 306
    Radiohead

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

    ;
  45. 45
    + 80
    - 73

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 91
    - 87


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 104
    - 144

    added by KirkSaw
    Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

    ;
  48. 48
    + 93
    - 102

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

    ;
  49. 49
    + 214
    - 264
    AC/DC

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 71
    - 104

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
258 +

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