Counting Down The 25 Greatest Songwriters of All-Time
25. George Harrison
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Often overshadowed by fellow Beatles members Paul and John, many fans still acknowledge and appreciate the incredible talent of George Harrison. Harrison’s contributions to the group included “Taxman”, “Within You Without You”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”.
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Eminem is considered by many to the greatest rapper of all-time. While this has a lot to do with his rhythm, phrasing and tone, Eminem is clearly an incredible songwriter. Eminem has an extremely unique style of writing, which has made him the star he is today. Songs like “Rap God”, “Lose Yourself” and “Love the Way You Lie” demonstrate his songwriting brilliance.
23. Freddie Mercury / Queen
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Few can argue with the notion that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of the greatest songs of all-time. While Freddie Mercury wrote this song in particular, every member of Queen wrote for the band. Guitar player Brian May wrote “We Will Rock You”, drummer, Roger Taylor wrote “Radio GaGa”, and bass player, John Deacon, wrote “Another One Bites the Dust”.
22. David Bowie
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David Bowie or “Ziggy Stardust” was easily one of the best performers and songwriters of his time. It was an extremely hard day for the music industry when we lost him back in 2016. Although he is gone, he has left us with some of the most iconic music in history.
21. Michael Jackson
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It was easy to be distracted by the King of Pop’s incredible vocals and dance moves, but underneath all of this were his talented writing skills. Songs like “Beat It”, “Smooth Criminal” and “Billie Jean” will forever linger in the world of great music.
20. James Taylor
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James Taylor is one of the most popular musicians of all-time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide. Because of this, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He has written some of the greatest songs ever, including “Fire and Rain”, “You’ve got a Friend” and “How Sweet it Is”.
19. Buddy Holly
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After Buddy Holly opened for Elvis Presley in 1955, he decided to pursue a career in music. Good thing he did, because he went down in history as one of the best musicians and songwriters to ever live. Buddy Holly has writing credits for hits such as “Everyday”, “That’ll Be the Day” and “It’s So Easy”.
18. James Brown
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James Brown was a true legend, having helped shape and influence multiple genres of music. He had a number of talents including vocals, organ, drums, harmonica, guitar and of course his incredible songwriting. Brown wrote many songs through his years, including “I Got You”, “Please Please Please” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”.
17. Stevie Nicks
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Everyone knows that Stevie Nicks has written some of the greatest songs ever created. Whether she was joined by her band Fleetwood Mac or on her own, Nicks was always displaying beautiful aspects of poetry. Nicks wrote a number of songs including “Landslide”, “Edge of Seventeen” and “Rhiannon”.
16. Van Morrison
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Have you ever been to a karaoke night without hearing “Brown Eyed Girl”? Probably not. Van Morrison has written some of the most popular songs to this day. Along with “Brown Eyed Girl”, he has written hits such as “Into the Mystic”, “Domino” and “Moondance”.
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Losing Prince in 2016 was an absolute tragedy to the entire world of music. More famously known for his insane vocals and guitar licks, Prince was also one of the greatest songwriters to ever live. Prince has left us with treasures such as “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, “1999” and “Diamonds and Pearls”.
14. Johnny Cash
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With 90 million records sold worldwide, Johnny Cash has gone down as one of the bestselling musicians of all-time. Cash was a singer, songwriter and guitarist and he stole the hearts of everyone around him. Classics like “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire” and “On the Road Again” will keep Johnny Cash’s music alive forever.
13. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
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The masterminds behind the sweet music of The Rolling Stones are lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards. They quickly developed a songwriting partnership very similar to that of The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and released greats including “Sympathy for the Devil”, “Wild Horses” and “Satisfaction”.
12. Neil Young
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Starting his journey in Canada and making his way to Los Angeles, Neil Young quickly made a huge name for himself. Between his vocal, guitar and songwriting skills, Neil Young is unstoppable. With songs like “Old Man” and “Heart of Gold”, Young is known to have created some of the greatest songs in music history.
11. Bruce Springsteen
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Everyone knows of the great Bruce Springsteen, or as we like to call him, “The Boss”. While we all like to focus on his very unique and distinct voice, Springsteen is also an extremely talented songwriter. His most famous original songs include “Born to Run” and “Born in the USA”.
10. Hank Williams
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Hank Williams has been considered to be one of the most significant and influential American singers and songwriters of the 20th century. Williams actually had 35 singles that all reached the top 10 charts. Williams is best knowns for his songs “Hey Good Lookin”, “I Saw the Light” and “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive”.
9. Brian Wilson
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Brian Wilson, Beach Boys star, wrote or co-wrote over 25 songs for the group. Wilson was actually the first pop artist credited for writing, arranging, producing, and performing his own material. He is responsible for songs like “Good Vibrations”, “Wouldn’t it be Nice” and “I Get Around”.
8. Elton John
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Elton John is one of the most well-known artists of all-time. While he is an extremely talented vocalist and pianist, he is also very well known for his incredible songwriting. Elton John wrote hit songs such as “Tiny Dancer”, “Rocket Man” and “Bennie & The Jets”.
7. Bob Marley
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Bob Marley was a Jamaican musician that eventually made a huge name for himself around the world. Marley’s music had a very distinct, soothing sound that was very hard to dislike. Many of his songs have famously carried on through the years, including “One Love”, “No Woman No Cry” and “Is This Love”.
6. Stevie Wonder
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Many people have described Stevie Wonder as a child prodigy. This is due to his incredible voice, instrumental talent and incredible songwriting. Wonder is responsible for some all-time greats, including “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and “Superstition”.
5. Joni Mitchell
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Joni Mitchell has an extremely confessional, musically adventurous songwriting style. Along with her beautiful voice and guitar skills, Mitchell’s songs were nothing short of incredible. Some of her most popular songs were “Big Yellow Taxi”, “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris”.
4. Paul Simon
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Starting off in the musical duo Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon has been writing hit songs for years. Simon is responsible for most of their hits, including “Sound of Silence”, “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Mrs. Robinson”. The duo split in 1970 and Simon continued on to create endless masterpieces.
3. John Lennon
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While John Lennon started out writing alongside his band mate Paul McCartney, he proceeded to write some of the greatest songs ever created during his solo career. In addition to his individual project(s), Lennon earned writing honors for numerous Beatles hits.
2. Paul McCartney
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And then there’s the other famous Beatle, Paul. Starting out writing alongside John Lennon, McCartney also went on to pursue a very successful solo career. Songs like “Hey Jude” and “Let it Be” will live on to be some of the best songs ever created.
1. Bob Dylan
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It is hard to deny that Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter of all-time. While many fans joke that he didn’t have the greatest voice, his poetry made up for it. Dylan’s music could go from breaking your heart to healing it all in the matter of minutes.