33.0k voters

These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

Updated November 9, 2020 295.2k votes 33.0k voters 448.0k views816 items

List RulesVote 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.
  • 1
    Lennon–McCartney (sometimes McCartney–Lennon) was the songwriting partnership between English...  more
  • 2

    Bob Dylan

    Blues-rock, Rock music
    Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual...  more

    More Bob Dylan 

    The Best Bob Dylan Songs#48 of 162 1970s Christian Pop Artists

  • 3

    Paul Simon

    Rock music, Folk music
    Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor....  more

    More Paul Simon 

    The Best Paul Simon Solo Songs of All Time#132 of 213 Celebrities Who Should Run for President

  • 4

    Brian Wilson

    Pop music, Rock music
    Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and...  more

    More Brian Wilson 

    The True Story Behind The Film 'Love And Mercy'#70 of 186 The All-Time Best Rock Bassists

  • 5

    Paul McCartney

    Pop music, Rock music
    Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician,...  more

    More Paul McCartney 

    There Are A Lot Of People Who Still Believe Paul McCartney Died In 1966, And Here's Their "Evidence"#84 of 244 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities In The World

  • 6

    Rickie Lee Jones

    Rock music, Rhythm and blues
    Rickie Lee Jones (born November 8, 1954) is an American vocalist, musician, songwriter,...  more

    More Rickie Lee Jones 

    The Best Rickie Lee Jones Albums of All Time#251 of 316 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

  • 7

    John Lennon

    Blues-rock, Pop music
    John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an...  more

    More John Lennon 

    15 Conspiracies About John Lennon's Death That People Truly BelieveThe Best John Lennon Songs

  • 8
  • 9

    Freddie Mercury

    Rock music, Pop music
    Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British...  more

    More Freddie Mercury 

    All About Mary Austin, The Love Of Freddie Mercury's Life#1 of 489 The Best Rock Vocalists

  • 10

    George Harrison

    Pop music, Rock music
    George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician,...  more

    More George Harrison 

    The Best George Harrison Albums of All Time#20 of 178 The Best Solo Artists Who Used to Front a Band

  • 11

    Tom Petty

    Blues-rock, Heartland rock
    Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter,...  more

    More Tom Petty 

    #150 of 309 Famous People Most Likely to Live to 100#13 of 106 Rock Stars Who Would Make The Best President

  • 12


    Hip hop music, Synthpop
    Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter,...  more

    More Prince 

    The Best Prince Songs of All Time#17 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 13

    Simon and Garfunkel

    Pop music, Worldbeat
    Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon...  more

    More Simon and Garfunkel 

    The Best Simon And Garfunkel Songs#93 of 298 The Best Duos of All Time

  • 14
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus...  more

    More Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 

    17 Bizarre, Mind-Blowing Facts and Stories About Mozart#8 of 16 16 Famous Bodies From History Found In Inconspicuous Places

  • 15

    Roger Waters

    Folk rock, Progressive rock
    George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943) is an English songwriter, singer, bassist, and...  more

    More Roger Waters 

    The Best Roger Waters Albums of All Time#16 of 216 The Greatest Rock Songwriters of All Time

  • 16

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Opera, Classical music
    Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17...  more

    More Ludwig van Beethoven 

    18 Grim Facts About The Life Of Beethoven You Never Learned As A Kid#109 of 347 The Most Important Leaders In World History

  • 17

    Page & Plant

    Blues-rock, Folk rock
    Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, both formerly of the English hard rock band Led Zeppelin,...  more
  • 18
  • 19

    John Fogerty

    Americana, Blues-rock
    John Cameron Fogerty (born May 28, 1945) is an American musician, singer, and songwriter....  more

    More John Fogerty 

    The Best John Fogerty Albums of All Time#40 of 359 Musicians Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame

  • 20
  • 21

    Buddy Holly

    Lubbock sound, Rock music
    Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959), known professionally as Buddy...  more

    More Buddy Holly 

    What Actually Happened The Day The Music Died?#64 of 263 The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

  • 22

    Billy Joel

    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music
    William Martin Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and...  more

    More Billy Joel 

    The Best Billy Joel Songs of All Time#9 of 136 Famous Accordionists

  • 23

    Barry Gibb

    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul
    Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, (born 1 September 1946) is a British-American singer,...  more

    More Barry Gibb 

    #657 of 904 Celebrity Death Pool 2021#126 of 197 The Greatest Male Pop Singers of All Time

  • 24

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Classical music
    Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and...  more

    More Johann Sebastian Bach 

    Crazy Facts About Johann Sebastian Bach#6 of 1,891 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

  • 25

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop
    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter,...  more

    More Dolly Parton 

    Stories We Learned About Dolly Parton That Made Us Say, 'Really??'#11 of 602 The Best Female Vocalists Ever