Entertainment The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters  

Lon Harris
Originally by
160.4k votes 11.3k voters 147.2k 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
3,062 2,748
Paul McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
2
2,575 2,758
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
2,550 1,599
Paul Simon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock
4
1,322 2,433
Ranker Video
Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock
5
1,403 2,399
Neil Young is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge
6
1,101 1,966
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
1,257 2,150
Ranker Video
Randolph Strauss added Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat
8
799 1,294
Eric Clapton is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae
9
863 1,594
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop
10
902 1,821
Ranker Video
jdbranded added Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music
11
1,190 1,824
Brian Wilson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music
12
996 1,795
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
961 1,406
Ranker Video
Pallknowing1 added Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock
14
717 1,485
Ranker Video
Mark Holmes added Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave
15
909 1,788
Ranker Video
Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock
16
690 1,432
Ranker Video
Ariel Kana added Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz
17
607 755
Robert Plant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock
18
511 624
Neil Diamond is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
HelenNguyen added Pop music, Rock music, Folk music
19
425 236
Elton John is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Pop music, Rock music, Piano rock
20
596 1,069
James Taylor is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music
21
716 927
Ranker Video
couchlock420 added Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock
22
464 664
Ranker Video
KirkSaw added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues
23
410 392
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
autosurvive added Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock
24
508 746
Barry Gibb is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters
Cory85 added Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco
The last surviving Bee Gee.
25
624 824
Ranker Video
New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock