Songs These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time  

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Originally by Ranker Community
314.6k votes 27.7k voters 405.8k views 898 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.

1
6,502 4,395
John Lennon & Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

2
5,736 4,741
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Bob Dylan Highway 61 Revisited, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde

3
3,862 2,696
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Paul Simon Graceland, Still Crazy After All These Years, So Beautiful or So What

4
5,333 4,034
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Brian Wilson SMiLE, What I Really Want for Christmas, Orange Crate Art

5
2,544 3,023
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, Hunky Dory, Diamond Dogs

6
2,817 3,568
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Neil Young Harvest, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush

7
3,296 3,364
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
George Harrison All Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World

8
6,072 5,423
Prince is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Prince Purple Rain, Sign 'O' the Times, 1999

9
3,035 3,920
Joni Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Joni Mitchell Blue, Court and Spark, Ladies of the Canyon

10
2,512 2,930
Stevie Wonder is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life, Innervisions, Talking Book

11
2,596 3,386
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Bruce Springsteen Born to Run, Born in the U.S.A., The Rising

12
2,751 2,231
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
John Lennon Imagine, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Double Fantasy

13
1,044 397
Simon and Garfunkel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
jmmikkola added Simon and Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water, Sounds of Silence, Bookends

14
2,244 3,045
Leonard Cohen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Leonard Cohen Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate, Old Ideas

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15
2,040 1,693
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
JasonWitherspoon added Paul McCartney Flaming Pie, Ram, McCartney

16
2,278 2,582
Elton John and Bernie Taupin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

17
1,030 771
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
coldspacemusic added Freddie Mercury The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy

18
793 479
Peter Lennodo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Peter Lennodo Tomorrow is Yesterday

19
1,930 1,973
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Carole King Tapestry, Wrap Around Joy, Music

20
1,851 1,885
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Billy Joel The Stranger, Piano Man, 52nd Street

21
1,768 1,978
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
mjhegger added Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways, American IV: The Man Comes Around, At Folsom Prison

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22
1,457 1,618
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Bob Marley Sun Is Shining, One Love, Rainbow Country

23
2,137 2,415
Ray Davies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Ray Davies Working Man's Café, The Storyteller, Thanksgiving Day

24
1,739 2,306
Tom Waits is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Tom Waits Rain Dogs, Mule Variations, Blood Money

25
1,629 1,862
Van Morrison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Van Morrison Astral Weeks, Moondance, Saint Dominic's Preview

26
1,669 1,883
Pete Townshend is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Pete Townshend Empty Glass, Psychoderelict (Music Only), White City

27
1,512 1,752
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Jimi Hendrix First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection

28
1,812 1,446
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Eternal Classics

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29
1,544 1,377
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
George Gershwin Masters of the Roll (disc 1), An American in Paris, Porgy & Bess

30
1,341 1,461
John Fogerty is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
John Fogerty Deja Vu All Over Again, Hoodoo, Centerfield

31
1,158 1,018
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Buddy Holly Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin'

32
1,158 1,311
Roger Waters is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
MohammadrezaMomeni added Roger Waters The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Amused to Death, When the Wind Blows

33
1,113 1,308
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
StacyWolfe added James Taylor Sweet Baby James, A Christmas Album, James Taylor at Christmas

34
1,095 1,084
Tom Petty is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
StacyWolfe added Tom Petty Full Moon Fever, Wildflowers, Highway Companion

35
1,215 1,306
Chuck Berry is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Chuck Berry The Great Twenty-Eight, Maybellene, Two Great Guitars

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36
805 892
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
KellySouthworth added Jim Morrison Paris Jim, Dionysus

37
355 173
Mick Jagger/keith Richards is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

38
1,173 1,582
Elvis Costello is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Elvis Costello This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy!!

39
1,488 1,380
Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony Edition, Classical Anthology, Symphonies Nos. 1-9 (feat. piano: Cyprien Katsaris)

40
1,188 1,760
Lou Reed is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Lou Reed Transformer, Berlin, New York

41
833 1,065
Willie Nelson is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
wiabux added Willie Nelson Heroes, Pretty Paper, Countryman

42
1,537 2,120
Warren Zevon is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Warren Zevon Excitable Boy, The Wind, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: An Anthology

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43
1,188 1,247
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Hank Williams Cold, Cold Heart, Beyond the Sunset

44
1,116 1,288
Peter Gabriel is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel, Us, Security

45
976 1,032
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
MaeganBell added Stevie Nicks Bella Donna, Buckingham Nicks, Trouble in Shangri-La

46
1,687 1,726
Kate Bush is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
tomeksj added Kate Bush Hounds of Love, The Dreaming, The Kick Inside

47
1,861 2,304
Tori Amos is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
tomeksj added Tori Amos Little Earthquakes, From the Choirgirl Hotel, Strange Little Girls

48
552 524
Smokey Robinson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Smokey Robinson Warm Thoughts, Where There's Smoke, Anthology (disc 3)

49
1,187 1,373
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Disney's Sing-Along: The Lion King, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

50
571 490
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Marvin Gaye What's Going On, Here, My Dear