music The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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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
+ - 1,573 1,450
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Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music Experimental rock

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2
+ - 1,353 1,359
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music Folk music

3
+ - 1,265 944
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Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music Folk rock

4
+ - 697 950
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Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock Merseybeat

5
+ - 783 1,215
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Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock Grunge

6
+ - 757 1,199
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7
+ - 681 1,226
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin

8
+ - 733 1,236
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Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock Heartland rock

9
+ - 580 834
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Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music Pop rock

10
+ - 574 1,037
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Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul Pop music

11
+ - 476 868
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music Rock music

12
+ - 286 197
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock Rock music

13
+ - 563 816
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music Outsider music

14
+ - 451 690
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John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock Swamp pop

15
+ - 526 890
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul Pop music

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16
+ - 512 889
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Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul Pop music

17
+ - 439 514
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock Experimental rock

18
+ - 238 341
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music Reggae

19
+ - 308 504
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Fleetwood Mac Blues-rock, Pop music Rock music

20
+ - 260 251
The Who is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
The Who Popular music, Pop music Rock music

21
+ - 687 795
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Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock Rock music

22
+ - 368 710
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Sting Medieval music, Classic rock New Wave

23
+ - 379 609
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U2 Rock music, Alternative rock Punk rock

24
+ - 367 669
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Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music Folk jazz

25
+ - 442 574
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Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock Art rock

26
+ - 323 526
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jeff Lynne Disco, Pop music Rock music - Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.

27
+ - 423 568
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Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music Rock music

28
+ - 309 410
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David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music Experimental rock

29
+ - 367 389
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, New Wave Classic rock

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30
+ - 290 497
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco Pop music

31
+ - 321 533
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music Rock music

32
+ - 54 27
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music Experimental rock

33
+ - 148 182
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock Rock music

34
+ - 358 493
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Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music Pub rock

35
+ - 164 211
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music Folk music

36
+ - 201 265
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock College rock

37
+ - 223 383
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Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music Rhythm and blues

38
+ - 183 317
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Barry Gibb Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul Disco - The last surviving Bee Gee.

39
+ - 240 361
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David Byrne New Wave, Worldbeat Experimental music

40
+ - 130 190
Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Burt Bacharach Pop music, Vocal music

41
+ - 254 348
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AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock Rock music - Young/Young/Johnson

42
+ - 137 178
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music Folk rock

43
+ - 248 325
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Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop Pop music

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44
+ - 122 183
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Neil Diamond Pop music, Rock music Folk music

45
+ - 106 186
John Mellencamp is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
John Mellencamp Americana, Heartland rock Rock music

46
+ - 274 440
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Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music New Prog

47
+ - 256 371
Rush is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music Heavy metal

48
+ - 109 141
Jackson Browne is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jackson Browne Rock music, Folk music Folk rock

49
+ - 114 131
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music Country rock

50
+ - 173 304
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Yusuf Islam Synthpop, Sufi rock Nasheed - Cat Stevens