Rock The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

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202.1k votes 10.6k voters 66k views 224 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.
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list ordered by
1
2,051 2,682
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer. He has been influential in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the ...more
2
1,871 2,283
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
Sir James Paul McCartney MBE is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame as a member of the ...more
3
1,947 2,148
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music
John Winston Ono Lennon MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of ...more
4
2,002 1,921
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
Paul Frederic Simon is an American musician, actor and singer-songwriter. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with ...more
5
1,482 2,485
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Rock music, Psychedelic pop, Electronic music
David Bowie is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, arranger, and actor. He is also a painter and collector of fine art. Bowie has been a major figure in the ...more
6
1,902 2,452
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly
Freddie Mercury was a British singer, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona ...more
7
1,134 2,064
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
George Harrison, MBE was an English musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. ...more
8
1,045 2,193
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge
Neil Young is a singer-songwriter, Musician,film score composer, film producer, film director, actor and screenwriter.
9
1,081 1,995
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
10
1,056 2,255
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat
Peter Dennis Blandford "Pete" Townshend is an English musician, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, known principally as the guitarist and songwriter for the rock group the ...more
11
837 587
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music
Warren William Zevon was an American rock singer-songwriter and musician. He was known for the dark and somewhat outlandish sense of humor in his lyrics. Zevon's work has often been praised by ...more
12
944 1,773
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock
Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, songwriter, composer, pianist, record producer, and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since ...more
13
954 1,937
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and humanitarian. He is best known for his work with his E Street Band. Nicknamed "The Boss", Springsteen ...more
14
1,039 1,800
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock
George Roger Waters is an English musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer. In 1965, he co-founded the progressive rock band Pink Floyd with drummer Nick Mason, ...more
15
839 1,564
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music
Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the rock band the Beach Boys.
16
839 1,431
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most ...more
17
685 1,338
Prince is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave
Prince Roger Nelson, known by his mononym Prince, is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and actor. A major figure in popular music for over three decades, Prince is renowned ...more
18
886 1,354
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana
John R. "Johnny" Cash was a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, widely considered one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. Although primarily remembered as ...more
19
989 1,648
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock
James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, poet and songwriter best remembered as the lead vocalist of the Doors. Due to his songwriting, baritone voice, wild personality and ...more
20
820 1,378
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and leader of the ...more
21
662 1,171
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word
Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ is a Canadian singer–songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work has explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen has ...more
22
794 1,338
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth ...more
23
639 1,314
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll
Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene", ...more
24
714 1,035
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English musician, singer-songwriter and guitarist. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as ...more
25
820 1,222
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He is best known as the lead vocalist of Tom Petty and the ...more