The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters Bands/Musicians
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The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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57,298 views 164 items 15,749 votes 1,225 voters 39 followers 10reranks
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 Criteria: The best song writers - must be prolific

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  Name
Score
  1. 66
    Up 21
    Down 27

    often listed &ranked low on reranks
    Barry Gibb

    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco More
    33
    added by: Cory85
    The last surviving Bee Gee.
  2. 76
    Up 2
    Down 0
    Adult contemporary music, Rock music, Jazz More
    29
    added by: MikeTrujillo
  3. 117
    Up 5
    Down 6
    No image

    John Prine

    Acoustic More
    28
    added by: MikeTrujillo
  4. 69
    Up 7
    Down 4
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    30
    added by: Cory85
  5. 60
    Up 123
    Down 121

    ranked low on reranks
    Prince

    Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave More
    36
    added by: Ron Mexico
  6. 120
    Up 2
    Down 3
    Blues-rock, Punk blues, Rock music More
    28
  7. 27
    Up 69
    Down 56
    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues More
    58
    added by: KirkSaw
  8. 10
    Up 219
    Down 127

    ranked low on reranks
    Stevie Wonder

    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music More
    71
    added by: Ron Mexico
  9. 153
    Up 0
    Down 2
    Christian music, Alternative country, Baroque pop More
    26
  10. 107
    Up 0
    Down 0
    Nu metal, Heavy metal, Modern rock More
    29
  11. 92
    Up 1
    Down 0
    Americana, Rock music, Rock and roll More
    29
  12. 138
    Up 1
    Down 3
    Alternative hip hop, Dance-pop, Jazz More
    27
  13. 132
    Up 0
    Down 1
    Rock music, Alternative rock, Alternative country More
    27
  14. 116
    Up 2
    Down 2
    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock More
    28
  15. 129
    Up 0
    Down 1
    Folk rock, Alternative country More
    27
  16. 136
    Up 0
    Down 1
    Contemporary Christian music, Alternative rock More
    27
  17. 109
    Up 3
    Down 3
    Indie pop, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music More
    28
  18. 144
    Up 0
    Down 2
    Folk rock, Alternative rock More
    26
  19. 137
    Up 1
    Down 3
    Outlaw country, Bakersfield sound, Country More
    27
  20. 52
    Up 29
    Down 59

    controversial &ranked low on reranks
    Kate Bush

    Synthpop, Pop rock, Alternative rock More
    40
    added by: KirkSaw
  21. 35
    Up 62
    Down 65
    Disco, Pop music, Rock music More
    52
    added by: ohnoitsmanasco
    Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.
  22. 9
    Up 241
    Down 146

    ranked low on reranks
    David Bowie

    Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music More
    71
  23. 113
    Up 1
    Down 1
    Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    28
    added by: autosurvive
  24. 36
    Up 98
    Down 114
    Grunge, Folk rock, Alternative rock More
    51
    added by: Pallknowing1
  25. 139
    Up 1
    Down 3
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music More
    27
  26. 13
    Up 163
    Down 176

    ranked high on reranks &controversial
    Leonard Cohen

    Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word More
    68
  27. 71
    Up 10
    Down 8
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music More
    30
  28. 161
    Up 0
    Down 2
    Rock music, Folk music, Jazz More
    26
  29. 126
    Up 0
    Down 1
    Pop music, Folk music, Pop folk More
    27
  30. 5
    Up 274
    Down 184

    often listed
    Neil Young

    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge More
    83
  31. 29
    Up 85
    Down 112

    ranked high on reranks &controversial
    Rush

    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    57
    added by: KirkSaw
  32. 15
    Up 120
    Down 118

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Joni Mitchell

    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz More
    67
    added by: Ariel Kana
  33. 79
    Up 2
    Down 0
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk rock More
    29
  34. 164
    Up 0
    Down 3
    Ska, Reggae More
    24
  35. 28
    Up 24
    Down 14
    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music More
    57
  36. 159
    Up 0
    Down 2
    Neo-psychedelia, Experimental music, Alternative rock More
    26
  37. 108
    Up 0
    Down 0
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal More
    29
  38. 154
    Up 0
    Down 2
    Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop More
    26
  39. 7
    Up 279
    Down 197

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bruce Springsteen

    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock More
    77
  40. 38
    Up 92
    Down 111

    controversial &ranked low on reranks
    AC/DC

    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music More
    47
    added by: Clark Benson
    Young/Young/Johnson
  41. 78
    Up 2
    Down 0
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock More
    29
    added by: autosurvive
  42. 21
    Up 98
    Down 76
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock More
    62
    added by: couchlock420
  43. 80
    Up 2
    Down 0
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Heavy metal More
    29
  44. 96
    Up 1
    Down 0
    Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music More
    29
  45. 121
    Up 19
    Down 29
    Synthpop, New Wave, Pop music More
    27
    added by: ConnieStarnes
  46. 40
    Up 33
    Down 46

    ranked high on reranks
    Ozzy Osbourne

    Doom metal, Glam metal, Blues-rock More
    46
  47. 22
    Up 97
    Down 82
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music More
    62
    added by: ohnoitsmanasco
  48. 39
    Up 81
    Down 136

    often listed &controversial
    Morrissey

    Jangle pop, Indie pop, Rockabilly More
    47
    added by: LaurieM
  49. 72
    Up 2
    Down 0
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Electronic music More
    29
    added by: autosurvive
  50. 97
    Up 46
    Down 65
    New Wave, Gothic rock, Pop music More
    29
    added by: JesusAlonso
    The Cure
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