Entertainment The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters  

Lon Harris
Originally by
160.9k votes 11.4k voters 147.6k views 292 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
3,086 2,755
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
2
2,595 2,766
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
2,558 1,607
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
4
1,413 2,407
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge
5
1,328 2,440
Ranker Video
Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock
6
1,110 1,972
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
1,261 2,155
Ranker Video
Randolph Strauss added Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat
8
807 1,297
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae
9
867 1,597
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop
10
614 758
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
11
1,199 1,826
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music
12
909 1,826
Ranker Video
jdbranded added Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music
13
1,002 1,797
Carole King is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
KirkSaw added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music
14
510 463
Stevie Nicks is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Classic rock, Pop music, Rock music
15
964 1,408
Ranker Video
Pallknowing1 added Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock
16
720 1,487
Ranker Video
Mark Holmes added Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave
17
910 1,791
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock
18
692 1,435
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz
19
444 238
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock
20
515 626
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
HelenNguyen added Pop music, Rock music, Folk music
21
417 394
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock
22
517 746
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Cory85 added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco
The last surviving Bee Gee.
23
599 1,072
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music
24
718 928
Ranker Video
couchlock420 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
25
328 147
Mick Jagger is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Ferry73 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Dance-rock