Music

These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time 

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Originally by Ranker Community
Updated April 21, 2020 366.5k votes 31.5k voters 434.4k views 846 items

List Rules Vote on whether or not you think the songwriters should be considered the best of all time

If you ask anyone who has ever tried, it's tough to write one song, nevertheless a batch to be considered a songwriter. Add to the mix that the song actually getting recorded and becoming a hit, it's pretty hard to be a great songwriter. Yet that's what make the greatest songwriters different from Average Joe who has tried to pen a song. The best songwriters usually have written multiple hits that not only their most ardent fans know, but also casual listeners.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney are considered two the best songwriters. The Beatles were fueled by this legendary duo's prowess and are debatably the greatest band because these two outstanding songwriters.

Similarly to Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan is another songwriter who can be considered one of the greatest of all time. Dylan's songwriting introduced powerful imagery and themes that were deeply layered within the context of his writing. His songwriting influenced an entire generation of bands, songwriters and fans, including another member of this list, Bruce Springsteen.

This is the Ultimate List of the greatest songwriters of all time. Everyone on this list is considered one of the best at his or her craft. Vote for the songwriter who you think is the greatest, which shouldn't be too easy with a list like this one.
list ordered by
1
John Lennon & Paul M... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Lennon–McCartney (sometimes McCartney–Lennon) was the songwriting partnership between English musicians John Lennon (1940–1980) and Paul McCartney (born 1942) of the Beatles. It is the best ...more
2
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Rock music, Folk music & Folk rock; Nationality: United States of America
Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Simon's musical career has spanned seven decades with his fame and commercial success beginning as half of ...more

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The Best Paul Simon Solo Songs of All Time #2 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #54 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

3
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America
Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most ...more

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The Best Bob Dylan Songs #3 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriterslisted on 1970s Christian Pop Artists

4
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Outsider music; Nationality: United States of America
Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote ...more

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The True Story Behind The Film 'Love And Mercy' #10 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #549 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

5
Mick Jagger/keith Richar... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
6
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
JasonWitherspoon added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: England
Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as bass player for the Beatles. His ...more

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The Best Paul McCartney Songs #1 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #75 of 274 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World

7
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: England
John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the rhythm guitarist for ...more

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28 Facts You Didn't Know About John Lennon #29 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on Famous Accordionists

8
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United Kingdom
George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the ...more

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The Best George Harrison Albums of All Time #436 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #18 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

9
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
coldspacemusic added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United Kingdom
Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British singer, songwriter, record producer, and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Regarded as one of the ...more

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Everything We Know About Freddie Mercury’s Last Relationship #1 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #894 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

10
Prince is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Hip hop music, Synthpop & New Wave; Nationality: United States of America
Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. With a career spanning four decades, Prince was ...more

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The Best Prince Songs of All Time #11 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #276 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

11
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Lubbock sound, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United States of America
Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central and pioneering figure of ...more

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What Actually Happened The Day The Music Died? #467 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #31 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

12
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
StacyWolfe added Genre: Blues-rock, Heartland rock & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the ...more

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#84 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #80 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #29 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists

13
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Opera, Ballet & Art song; Nationality: Holy Roman Empire
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the classical era. Born in ...more

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17 Bizarre, Mind-Blowing Facts and Stories About Mozart #7 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on 16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places

14
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America
Carole King (born Carol Joan Klein, February 9, 1942) is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later ...more

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The Best Carole King Albums of All Time #76 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #505 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

15
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
MohammadrezaMomeni added Genre: Folk rock, Progressive rock & Art rock; Nationality: England
George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943) is an English songwriter, singer, bassist, and composer. In 1965, he co-founded the progressive rock band Pink Floyd. Waters initially served solely ...more

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The Best Roger Waters Albums of All Time #41 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #587 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

16
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Opera, Musical theatre & Film score; Nationality: United States of America
George Gershwin (; born Jacob Bruskin Gershowitz, September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his ...more

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#912 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #33 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40 #339 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

17
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America
Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and actor. With 38 songs in the Top 10 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts, Diamond has sold more ...more

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The Best Neil Diamond Albums of All Time #49 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #43 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

18
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
jmmikkola added
Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They are best known for achieving commercial and critical success in the ...more

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The Best Simon And Garfunkel Songs #372 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #57 of 333 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

19
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Genre: Blue-eyed soul, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America
William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man" after his first hit and signature song of the same ...more

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The Best Billy Joel Songs of All Time #60 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriterslisted on Famous Accordionists

20
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Americana, Blues-rock & Swamp pop; Nationality: United States of America
John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter. Together with Doug Clifford, Stu Cook, and his brother Tom Fogerty, he founded the band Creedence ...more

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The Best John Fogerty Albums of All Time #80 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #17 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

21
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Opera and Classical music; Nationality: Austrian Empire
Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17 December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the ...more

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22
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul & Disco; Nationality: Isle of Man
Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, (born 1 September 1946) is a British-American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the group the Bee Gees, ...more

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#62 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #457 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #282 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

23
Page & Plant is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, both formerly of the English hard rock band Led Zeppelin, recorded and toured in the mid-1990s under the title Page and Plant. The pair re-united in 1994 and, after ...more
24
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Genre: Western music, Pop music & Traditional music; Nationality: United States of America
Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian, ...more

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The Best John Denver Albums of All Time #42 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #39 of 2,040 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

25
Don Henley is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
LeeFormanekMinder added Genre: Pop music, Rock music & Country rock; Nationality: United States of America
Donald Hugh Henley (born July 22, 1947) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer and founding member of the Eagles. He was the drummer and co-lead vocalist for the Eagles ...more

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The Best Don Henley Albums of All Time #31 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #289 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time