Songs These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time  

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
322k votes 28.2k voters 409.3k views 904 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
6,659 4,528
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

2
5,855 4,874
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde

3
3,986 2,755
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Graceland, Still Crazy After All These Years, So Beautiful or So What

4
5,388 4,165
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
SMiLE, What I Really Want for Christmas, Orange Crate Art

5
2,607 3,145
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs

6
2,855 3,689
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush

7
3,361 3,484
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
All Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World

8
6,120 5,541
Prince is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999

9
1,168 424
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
jmmikkola added Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, Bookends

10
3,076 4,032
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Blue, Court and Spark, Ladies of the Canyon

11
2,552 3,041
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book

12
2,645 3,497
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., The Rising

13
2,844 2,326
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Imagine, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Double Fantasy

14
2,290 3,149
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate, Old Ideas

15
2,134 1,783
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
JasonWitherspoon added Flaming Pie, Ram, McCartney

16
2,322 2,665
Elton John and Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

17
1,116 849
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
coldspacemusic added The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy

18
1,810 2,060
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
mjhegger added American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around, At Folsom Prison

19
1,495 1,690
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Sun Is Shining, One Love, Rainbow Country

20
1,889 1,960
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street

21
1,961 2,045
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Tapestry, Wrap Around Joy, Music

22
1,700 1,929
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Empty Glass, Psychoderelict (Music Only), White City

23
2,153 2,470
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Working Man's Café, The Storyteller, Thanksgiving Day

24
1,758 2,358
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Rain Dogs, Mule Variations, Blood Money

25
1,655 1,910
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Astral Weeks, Moondance, Saint Dominic's Preview

26
795 544
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Peter Lennodo Tomorrow is Yesterday

27
1,545 1,797
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection

28
1,844 1,483
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Eternal Classics

29
1,565 1,395
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Masters of the Roll (disc 1), An American in Paris, Porgy & Bess

30
1,367 1,482
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Deja Vu All Over Again, Hoodoo, Centerfield

31
1,203 1,327
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
MohammadrezaMomeni added The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Amused to Death, When the Wind Blows

32
1,177 1,035
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin'

33
1,134 1,324
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
StacyWolfe added Sweet Baby James, A Christmas Album, James Taylor at Christmas

34
1,245 1,320
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
The Great Twenty-Eight, Maybellene, Two Great Guitars

35
1,121 1,102
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
StacyWolfe added Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, Highway Companion

36
829 908
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
KellySouthworth added Paris Jim, Dionysus

37
386 190
Mick Jagger/keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

38
1,185 1,604
Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!!

39
1,510 1,391
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (feat. piano: Cyprien Katsaris)

40
1,207 1,779
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Transformer, Berlin, New York

41
850 1,084
Willie Nelson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Heroes, Pretty Paper, Countryman

42
1,546 2,139
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Excitable Boy, The Wind, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology

43
1,206 1,261
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Cold, Cold Heart, Beyond the Sunset

44
1,000 1,042
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
MaeganBell added Bella Donna, Buckingham Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La

45
1,124 1,302
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Peter Gabriel, Us, Security

46
1,216 1,384
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Disney's Sing-Along: The Lion King, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

47
1,697 1,740
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
tomeksj added Hounds of Love, The Dreaming, The Kick Inside

48
569 534
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Warm Thoughts, Where There's Smoke, Anthology (disc 3)

49
1,869 2,323
Tori Amos is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
tomeksj added Little Earthquakes, From the Choirgirl Hotel, Strange Little Girls

50
589 502
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
What's Going On, Here, My Dear