rock The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
98.9k votes 6.9k voters 50.7k views 332 items

The greatest rock songwriters of all time have a lot in common. Firstly, they are some of the biggest names in rock music history. These household names have written some of the most popular songs. Secondly, even if you aren't too familiar with these songwriters, you've definitely heard their songs at least once or twice. You may not be familiar with their names or faces, but you should know their music. For some bizarre reason, you may not have heard of John Lennon or Paul McCartney, but you definitely have heard of The Beatles and their music. The same goes for Freddie Mercury and Queen, who like The Beatles' songwriting duo, wrote some of the most popular songs in music history.

Bob Dylan is widely considered one of the first songwriters to incorporate poetry, imagery and a social consciousness to rock music. His influence ranges far and wide. Many of the songwriters on this list count Dylan as one of the most important songwriters in rock history. He may not have had the same impact as Dylan, but Kurt Cobain has proven to be one of the most important songwriters in recent history. His career may have been short, but his impact on music history cannot be understated.

It's not easy to determine which of these songwriters is the greatest of all time. It's up to you to determine who is the greatest rock songwriter of all time by voting for who you think deserves that title.
list ordered by

1
1,369 1,353
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

2
1,322 1,393
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

3
1,447 1,231
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
1,433 1,751
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

5
1,324 1,353
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
John Lennon Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

6
1,025 1,643
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Bowie Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music

7
1,138 1,610
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

8
419 399
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

9
576 1,012
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Elton John Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

10
741 1,465
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

11
518 867
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

12
702 1,355
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

13
709 1,326
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

14
434 667
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

15
673 1,204
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

16
645 1,113
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

17
544 780
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

18
462 650
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

19
519 657
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

20
445 553
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

21
513 768
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

The Greatest Fighting Games Ever Made

22
871 1,148
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

23
231 211
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

24
298 398
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

25
610 1,159
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

26
479 557
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Kurt Cobain Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock

27
672 1,017
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jim Morrison Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock

28
305 485
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

The Best Rock Vocalists

29
436 566
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

30
326 361
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Buddy Holly Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

31
417 609
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

32
366 430
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Marley Reggae

33
414 717
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

34
342 352
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

35
612 864
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Johnny Cash Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

Catchiest Viral Internet Songs of All Time

36
528 829
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimmy Page Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

37
215 169
Roy Orbison is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
versusmen added Roy Orbison Country pop, Pop music, Rock music

38
241 301
Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bernie Taupin Pop music, Rock music

39
425 565
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

40
421 688
Prince is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

41
232 248
Bob Seger is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Seger Blue-eyed soul, Heartland rock, Rock music

42
316 518
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

The Best Frontmen in Rock

43
581 936
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

44
238 195
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

45
291 327
Mick Jagger is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Mick Jagger Blues-rock, Rock music, Dance-rock

46
292 384
Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Keith Richards Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

47
315 292
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

48
154 114
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Gordon Lightfoot Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

49
474 737
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

50
264 421
Sting is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave