The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

Originally By 72k votes 5.4k voters 114k views 281 items tags f p @

List Criteria: The best song writers - must be prolific

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!
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 40 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    + 1,493
    - 1,339
    Paul McCartney 
	is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,272
    - 1,258

    added by Benjamin Dunn
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,221
    - 842
    Paul Simon 
	is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks
    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
  4. 4
    + 212
    - 185
    Peter Lennodo 
	is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks
    Peter Lennodo Rock music, Pop music, Baroque pop/rock

  5. 5
    + 643
    - 1,131
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin 
	is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ron Mexico
    Elton John and Bernie Taupin

  6. 6
    + 740
    - 1,118
    Neil Young 
	is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Rock music, Experimental rock, Grunge

    ;
  7. 7
    + 596
    - 912
    Pete Townshend 
	is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Rock music, Pop rock, Merseybeat

    ;
  8. 8
    + 723
    - 1,105
    Mick Jagger & Keith Richards 
	is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark

    ;
  9. 9
    + 704
    - 1,129
    Bruce Springsteen 
	is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock

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  10. 10
    + 546
    - 944

    added by Ron Mexico
    Motown Sound, Psychedelic soul, Pop music

    ;
  11. 11
    + 437
    - 777

    added by jrdale1
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  12. 12
    + 522
    - 732

    ranked low on reranks
    Pop music, Rock music, Outsider music

    ;
  13. 13
    + 545
    - 754
    Ray Davies 
	is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    Pop music, Rock music, Pop rock

    ;
  14. 14
    + 499
    - 812

    added by KirkSaw
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    ;
  15. 15
    + 389
    - 696

    often listed & added by KirkSaw
    Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Rock and roll

    ;
  16. 16
    + 479
    - 832
    Van Morrison 
	is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    often listed & added by jdbranded
    Skiffle, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music

    ;
  17. 17
    + 352
    - 647
    Sting 
	is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Mark
    Medieval music, Classic rock, New Wave

    ;
  18. 18
    + 422
    - 612
    John Fogerty 
	is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ariel Kana
    Americana, Blues-rock, Swamp pop

    ;
  19. 19
    + 646
    - 739
    Led Zeppelin 
	is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Blues-rock, Classic rock, Rock music

    ;
  20. 20
    + 389
    - 458

    ranked low on reranks
    Rock music, Space rock, Experimental rock

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  21. 21
    + 417
    - 518
    Roger Waters 
	is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Pallknowing1
    Folk rock, Progressive rock, Art rock

    ;
  22. 22
    + 274
    - 447


    Blues-rock, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  23. 23
    + 302
    - 478

    added by ohnoitsmanasco
    Disco, Pop music, Rock music Electric Light Orchestra founder and excellent producer.

    ;
  24. 24
    + 344
    - 620
    Joni Mitchell 
	is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    often listed & added by Ariel Kana
    Pop music, Folk music, Folk jazz

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  25. 25
    + 406
    - 525
    Peter Gabriel 
	is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    ranked low on reranks & added by TVs Frank
    New Wave, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  26. 26
    + 209
    - 287


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Reggae

    ;
  27. 27
    + 338
    - 351

    ranked low on reranks & added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, New Wave, Classic rock

    ;
  28. 28
    + 271
    - 461

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Blues-rock, Disco, Pop music

    ;
  29. 29
    + 287
    - 375
    David Gilmour 
	is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by couchlock420
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  30. 30
    + 359
    - 543

    added by Kel Varnsen
    Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock

    ;
  31. 31
    + 295
    - 494

    added by ohnoitsmanasco
    Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  32. 32
    + 195
    - 239

    ranked low on reranks
    Popular music, Pop music, Rock music

    ;
  33. 33
    + 340
    - 462
    Elvis Costello 
	is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Rock music, Pub rock

    ;
  34. 34
    + 169
    - 296

    often listed & added by Cory85
    Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Disco The last surviving Bee Gee.

    ;
  35. 35
    + 230
    - 342
    David Byrne 
	is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters


    New Wave, Worldbeat, Experimental music

    ;
  36. 36
    + 212
    - 363

    added by KirkSaw
    Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Rhythm and blues

    ;
  37. 37
    + 178
    - 238


    Jangle pop, Alternative rock, College rock

    ;
  38. 38
    + 240
    - 321
    AC/DC 
	is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Clark Benson
    Blues-rock, Boogie rock, Rock music Young/Young/Johnson

    ;
  39. 39
    + 111
    - 175


    Pop music, Vocal music

    ;
  40. 40
    + 145
    - 186


    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  41. 41
    + 126
    - 151


    Blues-rock, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  42. 42
    + 106
    - 129

    added by looksharp
    Celtic rock, Blues-rock, Rock music

    ;
  43. 43
    + 124
    - 155

    added by autosurvive
    Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock

    ;
  44. 44
    + 238
    - 308
    Dolly Parton 
	is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Randolph
    Ballad, Country pop, Pop music

    ;
  45. 45
    + 106
    - 169

    added by HelenNguyen
    Pop music, Rock music, Folk music

    ;
  46. 46
    + 95
    - 171

    added by autosurvive
    Americana, Heartland rock, Rock music

    ;
  47. 47
    + 263
    - 424
    Radiohead 
	is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

    added by Ariel Kana
    Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog

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  48. 48
    + 238
    - 356

    added by KirkSaw
    Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal

    ;
  49. 49
    + 19
    - 15

    new!
    Pop music, Rock music, Experimental rock

    ;
  50. 50
    + 94
    - 129


    Rock music, Folk music, Folk rock

    ;
282 +

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