Saturday, December 7, 2019

Top 100 Songwriters of the Rock Era

First posted 7/1/2010; updated 12/7/2019.

This list was originally posted on the Dave’s Music Database Facebook page on July 1, 2010 and then updated on March 9, 2012, aggregating 36 different sources (see resources at bottom of page).

Despite attempts to gather a wide variety of lists, the emphasis of the lists still heavily largely on singer/songwriters from the rock era, giving short shrift to Broadway, early 20th century writers, and classical composers. As such, I have created two other lists – Composers from Broadway and the Early 20th Century and The Top 50 Classical Composers. However, here’s the list of rock-era songwriters:

Bob Dylan

The Top 100 Songwriters of the Rock Era

1. Bob Dylan
2. John Lennon/ Paul McCartney
3. Paul Simon
4. Bruce Springsteen
5. Pete Townshend
6. Neil Young
7. Mick Jagger/ Keith Richards
8. Elton John/ Bernie Taupin
9. Joni Mitchell
10. David Bowie

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

11. Leonard Cohen
12. Brian Wilson
13. Carole King
14. Led Zeppelin: John Bonham/ John Paul Jones/ Jimmy Page/ Robert Plant
15. Ray Davies
16. Sting
17. Stevie Wonder
18. Pink Floyd: Syd Barrett/ David Gilmour/ Nick Mason/ Roger Waters/ Richard Wright
19. Chuck Berry
20. Van Morrison

Paul Simon

21. Tom Waits
22. Billy Joel
23. Jerry Leiber/ Mike Stoller
24. Kurt Cobain
25. U2: Bono/ Adam Clayton/ The Edge/ Larry Mullen, Jr.
26. Elvis Costello
27. Brian Holland/Lamont Dozier/ Eddie Holland
Burt Bacharach/ Hal David 28.
29. Smokey Robinson
30. James Taylor

Bruce Springsteen, image from reelworldtheology.com

31. John Fogerty
32. Jim Morrison
33. Lou Reed
34. Morrissey
35. Kris Kristofferson
36. Don Henley
37. Bob Marley
38. Prince
39. Gerry Goffin
40. Queen: John Deacon/ Brian May/ Freddie Mercury/ Roger Taylor

Pete Townshend, image from guitarplayer.com

41. Dolly Parton
42. Michael Jackson
43. Nick Cave
44. Jackson Browne
45. Randy Newman
46. Peter Gabriel
47. Kenneth Gamble/ Leon Huff
48. R.E.M.: Peter Buck/ Bill Berry/ Mike Mills/ Michael Stipe
49. Buddy Holly
50. Neil Diamond

Neil Young, imge from Samuel sounds blog

51. Eric Clapton
52. Barry Mann/ Cynthia Weil
53. Roy Orbison
54. Jeff Barry/ Ellie Greenwich
55. Doc Pomus/ Mort Shuman
56. Joe Strummer/ Mick Jones
57. Willie Nelson
58. George Harrison
59. Glenn Frey
60. James Brown

Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, image from art.com

61. Thom Yorke/ Jonny Greenwood
62. Little Richard
63. Eddie Vedder
64. Cat Stevens
65. The Bee Gees: Barry Gibb/ Maurice Gibb/ Robin Gibb
66. David Crosby
67. Isaac Hayes/ David Porter
68. Neil Sedaka
69. Jimmy Webb
70. Paul Anka

Elton John and Bernie Taupin

71. David Byrne
72. Curtis Mayfield
73. Boudleaux Bryant/Felice Bryant
74. Lionel Richie
75. Stevie Nicks
76. Carly Simon
77. Noel Gallagher
78. Diane Warren
79. Al Green
80. Phil Collins

Joni Mitchell

81. Robbie Robertson
82. Sam Cooke
83. Loretta Lynn
84. Otis Redding
85. Chuck D
86. Fats Domino/ Dave Bartholomew
87. Tom Petty
88. Chrissie Hynde
89. Frank Zappa
90. Barry Manilow

David Bowie

91. Jim Croce
92. Otis Blackwell
93. Beck
94. Phil Spector
95. Patti Smith
96. Jimi Hendrix
97. Paul Westerberg
98. Richard Thompson
99. Marvin Gaye
100. John Mayer


Resources and Related Links: