Rock The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
120.2k votes 8k voters 56.8k views 328 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.

1
1,666 1,942
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Dylan Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

2
1,604 1,528
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

3
1,458 1,617
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Paul McCartney Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

4
1,601 1,402
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Paul Simon Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

5
1,503 1,520
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
1,158 1,822
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
823 1,526
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

8
1,343 1,793
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Freddie Mercury Pop music, Rock music, Rockabilly

9
828 1,637
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Pete Townshend Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

10
747 1,317
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

11
800 1,368
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

12
681 1,196
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Elton John Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

13
817 1,482
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
618 1,022
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Brian Wilson Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

15
769 1,248
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Roger Waters Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

16
642 900
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

17
508 801
Prince is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

18
555 795
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
610 891
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

20
491 817
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

21
638 790
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

22
502 725
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

23
375 590
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Joni Mitchell Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

24
769 1,117
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
378 192
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Warren Zevon Americana, Blues-rock, Rock music

26
511 806
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

27
544 651
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Eric Clapton Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

28
601 924
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimmy Page Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

29
395 514
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

30
705 949
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Johnny Cash Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

31
510 651
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

32
503 526
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

33
413 460
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Buddy Holly Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

34
644 1,021
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

35
311 390
Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bernie Taupin Pop music, Rock music

36
492 647
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

37
552 672
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Kurt Cobain Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock

38
426 517
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Marley Reggae

39
366 628
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Michael Jackson Motown Sound, Rock music, Electronic music

40
305 328
Bob Seger is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Seger Blue-eyed soul, Heartland rock, Rock music

41
395 439
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

42
310 504
Sting is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

43
450 654
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Gabriel New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

44
283 303
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

45
529 810
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Lou Reed Noise rock, Blue-eyed soul, Spoken word

46
871 1,264
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

47
339 511
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
302 262
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
260 340
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Waits Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

50
377 352
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music