These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time

Over 34.7K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of These Poetic Geniuses Wrote Your Favorite Songs of All Time
Voting Rules

Songwriting teams/groups are featured, but only vote on individual songwriters based on their solo works.

If you ask anyone who has ever tried, it's tough to write one song, nevertheless a batch to be considered a songwriter. Add to the mix that the song actually getting recorded and becoming a hit, it's pretty hard to be a great songwriter. Yet that's what make the greatest songwriters different from Average Joe who has tried to pen a song. The best songwriters usually have written multiple hits that not only their most ardent fans know, but also casual listeners.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney are considered two the best songwriters. The Beatles were fueled by this legendary duo's prowess and are debatably the greatest band because these two outstanding songwriters. While their songwriting collaborations are highly praised, their solo careers prove that they are just as brilliant by themselves. 

Similarly to Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan is another singer-songwriter who can be considered one of the greatest and most famous/popular of all time. Dylan's songwriting introduced powerful imagery and themes that were deeply layered within the context of his writing. His songwriting influenced an entire generation of bands, songwriters and fans, including another member of this list, Bruce Springsteen.

This compilation of composers, musicians, and singers serves as the Ultimate List of the top songwriters of all time. Everyone on this list is considered one of the best at his or her craft. Vote for the songwriter whom you think is the greatest, which shouldn't be too easy with a list like this one.

Most divisive: Joni Mitchell
Ranked by
  • Paul McCartney
    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock
    5,216 votes

    Master of melody and lyrical perfection, Sir Paul McCartney has earned his place among the greats with an astonishing career spanning over six decades. From his early days in The Beatles to his successful solo ventures, McCartney's unrivaled talent for crafting unforgettable tunes has elevated him into the pantheon of legendary songwriters. With classics such as "Yesterday" and "Blackbird" under his belt, it's no wonder his genius continues to resonate with music lovers from all walks of life.

  • The dynamic duo of Lennon-McCartney revolutionized popular music in the 1960s, their creative partnership ushering in the golden age of rock 'n' roll. Their diverse range of styles, from heart-wrenching ballads like "Hey Jude" to the psychedelic ingenuity of "Strawberry Fields Forever," cemented their status as groundbreaking songwriters. To this day, their collaborative brilliance remains unparalleled, inspiring countless musicians to follow in their transcendent footsteps.

  • John Lennon
    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music
    6,013 votes

    As an integral part of the most influential band in history and a successful solo artist, John Lennon's lasting impact on the musical landscape is immeasurable. A natural storyteller, Lennon's songs encompass profound themes of love, peace, and human struggle, with the timeless anthem "Imagine" remaining the ultimate ode to unity. His courageous exploration of the world beyond the confines of popular music has etched his name into the annals of musical genius.

  • Simon and Garfunkel
    Pop music, Worldbeat, Rock music
    2,328 votes

    The serene harmonies and introspective lyrics of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel's timeless partnership remain a cornerstone of American popular music. From the poetic elegance of "The Sound of Silence" to the tender beauty of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," their songs strike an indelible chord within the depths of the human spirit. Simon and Garfunkel's enduring legacy as masterful songsmiths has left an everlasting mark on the cultural fabric of multiple generations.

  • Bob Dylan
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music
    11,848 votes

    It's rare to find an artist who can single-handedly reshape the art of songwriting, but Bob Dylan's poetic prowess and literary mastery have made him just that. His genre-defying approach to music over the past 60 years has yielded an incomparable body of work, exploring universal human truths with a unique blend of folk, blues, and rock. Dylan's mercurial musings on love, politics, and societal change have solidified his status as the quintessential musical poet laureate.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Opera, Ballet, Art song
    3,889 votes

    In the realm of classical music, few figures loom as large as the prodigious genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He effortlessly composed some of the most sublime symphonies, concertos, and operas the world has ever known, his musical brilliance transcending the barriers of time. Mozart's boundless creativity and unparalleled mastery of form, harmony, and counterpoint remain essential pillars of the Western musical tradition.