The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Originally By 73k votes 5.5k voters 115k views 283 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
    + 1,508
    - 1,351
    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
    + 1,285
    - 1,271

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

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,229
    - 856
    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
    + 252
    - 201
    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
    + 614
    - 915
    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
    + 651
    - 1,144
    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
    + 748
    - 1,130
    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
    + 730
    - 1,116
    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
    + 712
    - 1,141
    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
    + 555
    - 956

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

    ;
  11. 11
    + 447
    - 789

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

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  12. 12
    + 529
    - 745


    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

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  13. 13
    + 549
    - 766
    Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  14. 14
    + 504
    - 824

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

    ;
  15. 15
    + 392
    - 709

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

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  16. 16
    + 483
    - 838
    Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

    ;
  17. 17
    + 427
    - 619
    John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  18. 18
    + 353
    - 655
    Sting is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  19. 19
    + 283
    - 452

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

    ;
  20. 20
    + 398
    - 464

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

    ;
  21. 21
    + 655
    - 746
    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
    + 420
    - 525
    Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  23. 23
    + 308
    - 485

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

    ;
  24. 24
    + 349
    - 627
    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
    + 410
    - 530
    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
    + 212
    - 291


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

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  27. 27
    + 276
    - 463

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

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  28. 28
    + 291
    - 377
    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
    + 341
    - 354

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

    ;
  30. 30
    + 360
    - 546

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

    ;
  31. 31
    + 202
    - 240


    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  32. 32
    + 300
    - 497

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

    ;
  33. 33
    + 342
    - 465
    Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  34. 34
    + 183
    - 241


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  35. 35
    + 171
    - 299

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 215
    - 366

    added by KirkSaw
    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

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  37. 37
    + 231
    - 344
    David Byrne is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

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  38. 38
    + 123
    - 132

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 243
    - 325
    AC/DC is listed (or ranked) 39 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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  40. 40
    + 116
    - 178


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 149
    - 188


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  42. 42
    + 129
    - 158

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

    ;
  43. 43
    + 127
    - 154


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  44. 44
    + 28
    - 17


    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  45. 45
    + 241
    - 311
    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
    + 110
    - 173

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 96
    - 174

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  48. 48
    + 266
    - 428
    Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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

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  49. 49
    + 241
    - 358

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  50. 50
    + 94
    - 132


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

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284 +

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