Entertainment The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters  

Lon Harris
Originally by
157.2k votes 11.1k voters 145.9k views 295 items

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

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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!
list ordered by

1
3,005 2,682
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

2
2,531 2,693
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
2,476 1,577
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

4
1,379 2,335
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

5
1,301 2,372
Ranker Video
Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

6
1,082 1,899
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
1,235 2,089
Ranker Video
Randolph Strauss added Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

8
775 1,238
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

9
841 1,539
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Ariel Kana added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

10
1,165 1,773
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

11
886 1,770
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jdbranded added Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

12
980 1,741
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
940 1,359
Ranker Video
Pallknowing1 added Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

14
701 1,437
Ranker Video
Mark Holmes added Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

15
899 1,744
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

16
675 1,395
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

17
498 589
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
HelenNguyen added Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

18
590 722
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

19
590 1,033
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

20
614 803
Ranker Video
New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

21
394 222
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock

22
313 458
John Mellencamp is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

23
300 129
Mick Jagger is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Ferry73 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Dance-rock

24
365 524
Burt Bacharach is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Vocal music

25
700 916
Ranker Video
couchlock420 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock