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32.4k voters

These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

Updated November 9, 2020 291.4k votes 32.4k voters 442.7k 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.
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  • John Lennon & Paul McCartney1
    Lennon–McCartney (sometimes McCartney–Lennon) was the songwriting partnership between English... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Paul Simon2
    3,581
    2,790

    Paul Simon

    Rock music, Folk music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor.... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Bob Dylan3
    5,211
    4,347

    Bob Dylan

    Blues-rock, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Bob Dylan (born May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Mick Jagger/keith Richards4
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  • Paul McCartney5
    2,627
    2,079

    Paul McCartney

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited Kingdom, England

    Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • John Lennon6
    2,890
    2,488

    John Lennon

    Blues-rock, Pop music

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon, 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Freddie Mercury7
    1,832
    1,510

    Freddie Mercury

    Rock music, Pop music

    NationalityZanzibar

    Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara; 5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991) was a British... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Page & Plant8
    541
    448

    Page & Plant

    Blues-rock, Folk rock
    Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, both formerly of the English hard rock band Led Zeppelin,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Simon and Garfunkel9
    1,704
    905

    Simon and Garfunkel

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

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  • Brian Wilson10
    3,887
    3,840

    Brian Wilson

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • David Gilmour and Roger Waters11
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  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart12
    1,670
    1,338

    NationalityHoly Roman Empire

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), baptised as Johannes Chrysostomus... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Tom Petty13
    1,127
    1,060

    Tom Petty

    Blues-rock, Heartland rock

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Rodgers and Hammerstein14
    Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were an influential, innovative and successful... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Barry Gibb15
    587
    517

    Barry Gibb

    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Sir Barry Alan Crompton Gibb, (born 1 September 1946) is a British-American singer,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Don Henley16
    409
    380

    Don Henley

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Donald Hugh Henley (born July 22, 1947) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Dolly Parton17
    606
    512

    Dolly Parton

    Ballad, Country pop

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Dolly Rebecca Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American singer, songwriter,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Ludwig van Beethoven18
    1,270
    1,135

    Ludwig van Beethoven

    Opera, Classical music

    NationalityAustrian Empire, Germany

    Ludwig van Beethoven ( (listen); German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːthoːfn̩] (listen); baptised 17... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Mark Knopfler19
    447
    435

    Mark Knopfler

    Celtic rock, Blues-rock

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Mark Freuder Knopfler ( NOP-flər; born 12 August 1949) is a British singer-songwriter,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Neil Diamond20
    557
    513

    Neil Diamond

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Roger Waters21
    1,219
    1,240

    Roger Waters

    Folk rock, Progressive rock

    NationalityEngland

    George Roger Waters (born 6 September 1943) is an English songwriter, singer, bassist, and... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • Johann Sebastian Bach22
    961
    842

    Johann Sebastian Bach

    Classical music

    NationalityHoly Roman Empire

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

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  • Marvin Gaye23
    642
    573

    Marvin Gaye

    Doo-wop, Motown Sound

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Marvin Gaye (born Marvin Pentz Gay Jr.; April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984) was an American singer,... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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  • John Denver24
    527
    520

    John Denver

    Western music, Pop music

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button
  • Gordon Lightfoot25
    533
    539

    Gordon Lightfoot

    Pop music, Rock music

    NationalityCanada

    Gordon Meredith Lightfoot Jr. (born November 17, 1938) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who... more on WikipediaAmazon buy button

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