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
+ - 1,623 1,479
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Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

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2
+ - 1,393 1,382
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

3
+ - 1,287 967
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Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
+ - 725 962
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Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

5
+ - 802 1,234
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Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

6
+ - 704 1,244
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Elton John and Bernie Taupin

7
+ - 772 1,219
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8
+ - 743 1,263
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Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

9
+ - 498 892
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
+ - 587 1,057
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Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

11
+ - 591 859
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Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

12
+ - 324 216
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

13
+ - 587 833
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

14
+ - 542 905
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
+ - 459 708
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John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

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16
+ - 327 514
Fleetwood Mac is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Fleetwood Mac Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

17
+ - 517 908
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Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

18
+ - 469 525
Pink Floyd is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pink Floyd Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

19
+ - 283 258
The Who is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

20
+ - 256 356
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

21
+ - 713 802
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Led Zeppelin Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

22
+ - 380 682
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Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

23
+ - 374 724
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Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

24
+ - 460 583
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Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

25
+ - 389 621
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U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
+ - 333 535
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
+ - 76 28
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

28
+ - 327 415
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David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

29
+ - 430 574
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Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

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30
+ - 296 507
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

31
+ - 377 396
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
+ - 327 540
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
+ - 193 320
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
+ - 229 388
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Smokey Robinson Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

35
+ - 155 188
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

36
+ - 137 194
Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Burt Bacharach Pop music, Vocal music

37
+ - 245 366
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David Byrne New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

38
+ - 208 272
R.E.M. is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
R.E.M. Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

39
+ - 169 217
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

40
+ - 363 499
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Elvis Costello New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

41
+ - 145 180
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

42
+ - 259 357
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AC/DC Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music - Young/Young/Johnson

43
+ - 135 186
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
+ - 112 192
John Mellencamp is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
John Mellencamp Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

45
+ - 253 332
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Dolly Parton Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

46
+ - 282 449
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Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

47
+ - 115 145
Jackson Browne is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Jackson Browne Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

48
+ - 262 377
Rush is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

49
+ - 122 135
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

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