rock The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
99.4k votes 6.9k voters 51k 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
1,377 1,357
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

2
1,327 1,396
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
1,451 1,235
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
1,443 1,755
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
1,328 1,356
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
1,032 1,647
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
1,148 1,615
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
423 402
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
586 1,013
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
744 1,467
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
524 869
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
442 667
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Wonder Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

13
709 1,357
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Neil Young Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

14
713 1,326
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

Famous Schizophrenics

15
677 1,207
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

16
651 1,115
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
526 657
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Tom Petty Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

18
549 782
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

19
466 651
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
John Fogerty Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

20
451 553
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
521 769
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 Worst Rock Bands of All Time

22
305 398
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

23
616 1,162
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

24
234 212
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

25
484 559
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Kurt Cobain Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock

26
678 1,019
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jim Morrison Blues-rock, Rock music, Acid rock

27
871 1,151
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

28
308 486
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 Female Rock Singers

29
331 361
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Buddy Holly Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

30
439 569
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

31
419 610
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
347 352
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Stevie Nicks Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

33
371 430
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Marley Reggae

34
247 301
Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bernie Taupin Pop music, Rock music

35
417 717
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

The Best New Kids Movies Since 2015

36
614 865
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Johnny Cash Outlaw country, Christian music, Americana

37
531 831
Jimmy Page is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimmy Page Blues-rock, Folk rock, Heavy metal

38
429 566
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Van Morrison Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

39
217 170
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
425 688
Prince is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

41
236 249
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
321 519
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 Greatest Depressing Country Songs

43
243 195
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Don Henley Pop music, Rock music, Country rock

44
582 937
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Ray Davies Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

45
293 328
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
293 385
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
269 421
Sting is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

48
318 294
Mark Knopfler is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Mark Knopfler Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

49
476 738
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
155 115
Gordon Lightfoot is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Gordon Lightfoot Pop music, Rock music, Folk music