rock The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
100.8k votes 7k voters 51.6k views 337 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
1,403 1,369
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

2
1,342 1,412
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
1,457 1,253
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
1,469 1,763
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
1,347 1,365
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
1,042 1,658
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
1,167 1,629
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
600 1,025
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Elton John Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

9
755 1,477
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
432 412
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Robert Plant Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

11
536 877
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
720 1,362
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
693 1,212
Mick Jagger & Keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

14
446 675
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
719 1,339
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
George Harrison Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

16
660 1,121
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
539 663
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
477 655
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
554 788
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

20
459 556
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
530 775
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 Very Best Newman's Own Salad Dressing Flavors

22
627 1,165
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

23
311 406
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Carole King Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

24
686 1,024
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
339 363
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Buddy Holly Lubbock sound, Rock music, Rockabilly

26
240 218
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
James Taylor Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

27
490 566
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Kurt Cobain Grunge, Alternative rock, Punk rock

28
313 493
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
429 718
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Chuck Berry Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

30
256 304
Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bernie Taupin Pop music, Rock music

31
871 1,158
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

32
355 356
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
425 615
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Leonard Cohen Synthpop, Pop music, Spoken word

34
441 575
David Gilmour is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
David Gilmour Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

35
377 435
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Bob Marley Reggae

16 Songs That Don't Mean What You Think They Do

36
624 867
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
538 833
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
437 566
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
222 170
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
432 691
Prince is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave

41
243 249
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
325 526
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
250 197
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
590 937
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
302 328
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
300 385
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
272 424
Sting is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Sting Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

48
324 296
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
480 739
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
113 97
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time
Clay Glenny added Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock