There’s a good chance you’ll disagree with out picks for the top five songwriters ever.
But here they are– the best songwriters of all time. If you do disagree, let us know in the comments who you would’ve put on this list.
5. Bob Marley
Bob Marley introduced reggae music to the rock-loving American culture, bringing with it the idea that music can be more than just music. It can be a force for good (or whatever your message is).
“I am doing something because I see the exploitation,” Marley said in reference to his song “Get Up, Stand Up,” which is about taking steps to eradicate oppression.
4. Paul Simon
Paul Simon’s career started off pretty well with his collab with Art Garfunkel, Simon & Garfunkel. Three of the big songs the duo wrote are “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
With those songs under his belt, his future was promising.
And he fulfilled that promise as a solo artist, penning tunes like “You Can Call Me Al,” “The Obvious Child,” and “Kodachrome.”
3. John Lennon
When The Beatles were ruling the radio airways in the 1960s, Bob Dylan knew they were some of the best songwriters out there.
“They were doing things nobody was doing,” Dylan said. “I knew they were pointing the direction where music had to go.”
2. Paul McCartney
Dylan had respect for Lennon, but mostly as a singer, saying in 2007, “Lennon, to this day, it’s hard to find a better singer than Lennon was…”
But when it came to Paul McCartney, there was no better songwriter.
“I’m in awe of McCartney,” Dylan told Rolling Stone. “He’s about the only one that I’m in awe of.”
And for good reason. Aside from the Lennon-McCartney songwriting powerhouse, he wrote some great songs as a solo artist and with Wings.
1. Bob Dylan
All of these Dylan quotes about The Beatles leads us to Dylan himself, our top pick as the best songwriter of all time.
The impact his songs had on his generation and later generations is immeasurable.
“You want to write songs that are bigger than life,” he writes in his memoir, Chronicles. “You want to say something about strange things that have happened to you, strange things you have seen.”
And he did that, whether it was “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” or “Forever Young,” Dylan — it’s safe to say — was the best songwriter we’ve seen so far.