Entertainment The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters  

Lon Harris
Originally by
159.9k votes 11.3k voters 146.8k views 295 items

List Rules Only individual songwriters of *rock songs* who are still alive. No duos. No bands.

Who is the best songwriter alive today? The musician responsible for the lyrics and music that's the most memorable, significant and lasting in all of rock history, who is still with us today. We're talking, over the course of an entire career, the person who has written the most great songs--the best songwriters of the 21st century. A few things to keep in mind: (1) Songwriting teams are acceptable if they truly worked together (for example, Elton John writing music to Bernie Taupin's lyrics). When possible, as in the case of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, separate them and focus on individual songwriting. (2) LIVING songwriters. Living. (3) I think the ratio of "great songs" to "not good songs" is important to consider. If someone has 2 classic albums of great songs and then 5 albums worth of garbage, that impacts the overall view of the career, no matter how good the original work was. Something to keep in mind.

Add your own selections below and vote up the people you feel are worthy of the title of Greatest Living Rock Songwriter. PLUS, if you have Spotify, you can listen to full songs from each of the listed songwriters on our Ranker playlist!
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list ordered by

1
3,042 2,743
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

2
2,562 2,751
Bob Dylan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Benjamin Dunn added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

3
2,542 1,593
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
1,396 2,391
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

5
1,314 2,427
Ranker Video
Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

6
1,096 1,958
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Timetraveler55 added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

7
1,249 2,146
Ranker Video
Randolph Strauss added Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

8
791 1,290
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

9
856 1,590
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

10
898 1,819
Ranker Video
jdbranded added Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

11
1,181 1,822
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

12
990 1,791
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
KirkSaw added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

13
957 1,401
Ranker Video
Pallknowing1 added Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

14
712 1,477
Ranker Video
Mark Holmes added Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

15
904 1,784
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

16
684 1,429
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

17
601 751
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

18
509 620
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
HelenNguyen added Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

19
593 1,066
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

20
711 926
Ranker Video
couchlock420 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

21
412 234
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

22
459 662
Ranker Video
KirkSaw added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

23
620 821
Ranker Video
New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

24
502 460
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music

25
722 1,020
Ranker Video
TVs Frank added New Wave, Pop music, Rock music