The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters Bands/Musicians

The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

5 25 of 28
originally by  52,938 votes 4,149 voters 108,144 views 256 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
  • 29 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,319
    - 759
    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
    + 1,133
    - 677

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 573
    - 537
    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
    + 696
    - 564
    Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  5. 5
    + 325
    - 225

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

    ;
  6. 6
    + 440
    - 329

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

    ;
  7. 7
    + 639
    - 576
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark

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  8. 8
    + 623
    - 624
    Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    ;
  9. 9
    + 489
    - 437
    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
    + 646
    - 614
    Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  11. 11
    + 487
    - 460

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

    ;
  12. 12
    + 493
    - 334
    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
    + 416
    - 431
    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
    + 449
    - 271

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 346
    - 328

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

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  16. 16
    + 493
    - 445
    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
    + 228
    - 166


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  18. 18
    + 370
    - 282
    John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

    ;
  19. 19
    + 319
    - 181

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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 272
    - 268

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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 304
    - 370
    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
    + 315
    - 401
    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
    + 236
    - 242


    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  24. 24
    + 256
    - 277

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

    ;
  25. 25
    + 386
    - 322
    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
    + 187
    - 206
    Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

    ;
  27. 27
    + 574
    - 524
    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
    + 374
    - 327
    Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

    ;
  29. 29
    + 164
    - 107


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

    ;
  30. 30
    + 153
    - 98


    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  31. 31
    + 332
    - 366

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

    ;
  32. 32
    + 149
    - 168

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 157
    - 143


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  34. 34
    + 93
    - 99


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  35. 35
    + 303
    - 329
    Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  36. 36
    + 259
    - 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
    + 90
    - 101

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  38. 38
    + 123
    - 118


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  39. 39
    + 297
    - 267

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

    ;
  40. 40
    + 215
    - 281
    David Byrne is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 147
    - 203
    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
    + 215
    - 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
    + 75
    - 110

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  44. 44
    + 217
    - 296

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  45. 45
    + 242
    - 313
    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

    ;
  46. 46
    + 101
    - 90


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 76
    - 83


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  48. 48
    + 84
    - 81

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

    ;
  49. 49
    + 100
    - 108

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 109
    - 150

    added by KirkSaw
    Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock

    ;
257 +

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