music The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Lon Harris
Originally by
82k votes 6.1k voters 109k views 290 items Embed

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
+ - 1,633 1,484
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Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

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2
+ - 1,407 1,384
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

3
+ - 1,295 971
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Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
+ - 730 967
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Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

5
+ - 809 1,237
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Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

6
+ - 710 1,245
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin

7
+ - 776 1,223
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8
+ - 749 1,266
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Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

9
+ - 504 895
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

10
+ - 591 1,060
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Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

11
+ - 594 862
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Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

12
+ - 592 836
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

13
+ - 330 220
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

14
+ - 547 907
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

15
+ - 461 710
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John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

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16
+ - 477 527
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

17
+ - 261 356
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

18
+ - 520 910
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Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

19
+ - 329 517
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Fleetwood Mac Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

20
+ - 286 261
The Who is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

21
+ - 716 805
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Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

22
+ - 383 684
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Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

23
+ - 376 726
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Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

24
+ - 335 536
Jeff Lynne is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jeff Lynne Disco, Pop music, Rock music - Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.

25
+ - 392 623
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U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
+ - 463 584
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Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

27
+ - 79 29
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

28
+ - 330 415
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David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

29
+ - 433 576
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Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

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30
+ - 297 509
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

31
+ - 378 398
Tom Petty and the Heartbreaker... is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock

32
+ - 330 541
Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Phil Collins Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

33
+ - 194 322
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Barry Gibb Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco - The last surviving Bee Gee.

34
+ - 139 195
Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Burt Bacharach Pop music, Vocal music

35
+ - 229 390
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Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

36
+ - 157 190
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

37
+ - 210 273
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

38
+ - 172 218
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

39
+ - 247 368
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David Byrne New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

40
+ - 146 181
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

41
+ - 364 501
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Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

42
+ - 259 359
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AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music - Young/Young/Johnson

43
+ - 136 188
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Neil Diamond Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

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44
+ - 112 194
John Mellencamp is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
John Mellencamp Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

45
+ - 254 334
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Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

46
+ - 284 449
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Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

47
+ - 116 145
Jackson Browne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jackson Browne Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

48
+ - 262 379
Rush is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

49
+ - 122 137
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

50
+ - 122 123
Bob Segar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Segar