bands/musicians The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

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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
1,158 949
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

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2
982 1,179
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
1,038 1,503
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

4
982 1,179
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

5
982 1,179
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
800 1,336
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
699 819
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

8
591 1,177
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

9
817 1,327
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

10
524 1,118
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

11
526 1,214
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

12
304 515
Prince is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

13
382 720
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

14
338 518
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

15
410 683
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

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16
346 564
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

17
468 943
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

18
229 261
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Buddy Holly Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

19
252 259
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

20
323 516
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

21
337 455
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Kurt Cobain Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock

22
387 793
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Elton John Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

23
410 667
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

24
520 907
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jim Morrison Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock

25
330 518
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

26
321 432
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

27
312 553
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

28
193 280
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

29
433 771
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimmy Page Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

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30
392 672
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

31
219 361
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

32
272 371
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Marley Reggae

33
446 989
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

34
491 789
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Johnny Cash Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

35
325 619
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

36
495 1,014
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

37
512 897
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

38
314 556
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

39
135 95
Roy Orbison is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
versusmen added Roy Orbison Country pop, Pop music, Rock music

40
244 234
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

41
337 553
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

42
159 232
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

43
154 185
Bob Seger is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Seger Blue-eyed soul, Heartland rock, Rock music

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44
245 261
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

45
164 236
Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bernie Taupin Pop music, Rock music

46
219 247
Lindsey Buckingham is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Lindsey Buckingham New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

47
246 410
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Frank Zappa Rock music, Experimental rock, Heavy metal

48
160 150
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

49
145 157
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

50
121 190
Michael Stipe is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Michael Stipe Jangle pop, Pop music, Alternative rock