15.4k voters

The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Updated July 13, 2020 187.9k votes 15.4k voters 174.5k views225 items

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

Update: Follow Ranker's official New Rock 2020 playlist on Spotify!

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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  • Paul McCartney2

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  • Paul Simon3

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  • Bob Dylan4

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  • Mick Jagger5
  • Brian May6

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  • Bob Segar7

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  • Eric Clapton8
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  • Lindsey Buckingham9

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  • Willie Nelson10

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  • Peter Gabriel11

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  • Cat Stevens12
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  • Stevie Nicks13

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  • John Prine - DEC. April 7, 202014

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  • Brian Wilson15

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  • Bernie Taupin16
  • Don Henley17

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  • Dolly Parton18

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  • Gordon Lightfoot19

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  • Billy Joel20

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  • Jimmy Page21

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  • David Gilmour22

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  • Joe Walsh23

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  • Keith Richards24

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  • Carly Simon25

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