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Who Would You Say Are The Top 5 Greatest Lyric Writers?

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Hello to everyone.

We all have our favorite lyric writers. Who are these wonderful people. Why do you like their lyrics? Give us some of their lyric titles, If you so wish.

Here is My Top Ten

1. Bob Dylan The greatest lyric writer of our time. He writes the truth, a honest writer with depth ,and a genius with words.

He writes many great lyrics Check out Blood On The Tracks album. The greatest lyrics ever made on an album. No wonder why he is so respected in the music industry.

2. Bernie Taupin/who writes lyrics for Elton John- Without Bernie Taupin lyrics, Elton John will not be where he is today. Great Collaboration.

3. Bruce Springsteen- The Boss is a great songwriter, his lyrics are superb, an artist with many great albums. This is an artist that I have 100% respect and admiration; so talented.

4.Van Morisson. I really admire the deep warmth of this man's lyrics. It brings joy and comfort to my heart. A man who has a postive view of life. "Have I told You lately" lyrics I believe is the greatest love song lyrics of all time. Brilliant.

5. Roger Waters/ David Gilmour/Pink Floyd members. Lyrics that speak about every day life with real meaning. Great lyrics songs of Time- Wish You Were Here-Comfortably Numb. Many many more.

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Ooh! This seems like a fun one! Like on the Album list I won't put these in any particular order, these are just the 5 that I think I enjoy the most.

Win Butler - Arcade Fire is among my very favorite bands, and Win butler is consequently one of my favorite lyricists. It's not so much that he's a good songwriter (though he definitely is), so much as the fact that I really relate to pretty much anything he writes about. I can tell he probably grew up in a pretty similar setting to me (in fact it was just a few dozen miles away in the Woodlands near Houston) and I just love how real the topics he brings up are. In my opinion he's like the Kurt Cobain of this generation, contrary to what some Justin Bieber fans have been saying.

Ben Gibbard - To be honest, I've listened to very little of his music, just The Postal Service's album and Death Cab for Cutie's Plans, however, I still love how he writes! A lot of songwriters beat around the bush lyrically, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but Gibbards lyrics are quite frank, not really being vague at all. It's both very unique, and very well done.

Matt Berninger - Honestly I had to look up this guys name. Is The National's music a bit homogenous? Yes. Have they kind of made the same album over and over again? Yes. Does that take away from the fact that Berninger's dark, clever lyrics are among the best indie rock has to offer? No.

Robin Pecknold - If you are a fan of Fleet Foxes then you know what I mean. This guy is just a freaking genius, I've never been much into folk, but Fleet Foxes is just great, and Pecknold's songwriting really harken me back to the lyrical style of some of the older artists, speaking of which...

George Harrison - When he was in the Beatles John and Paul really held him back, he was luck to get one or two songs on each album. This turned out for the best though, since when he began his solo work he had so much great music stored up, that it produced Rock's first triple album, and it's all gold. Plus Isn't it a Pity might just be one of the best songs ever.

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Iam learning everyday, I am only familiar with George Harrison from your list; I do agree that he was leftt behind as a Beatles member, didn't get much chance in writing, I wonder why? but when he did he wrote some fime lyrics( Something/When My Guitar Weeps-My Sweet Lord, are examples of his great work. Yes, ALL THINGS MUST PASS is a brilliant album.

Even so Lennon's IMAGINE is a masterpiece of lyric writing. He wrote some great lyrics too.

I will look into your other lyric writers.

Thanks Will for your reply.

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Hi Katie,

You seem to know what good lyrics are about, all the writers you mentioned are great especially; Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, as for coldplay, yes they do write good lyrics, Roger Waters is superb especially the lyrics on the album of "Dark Side Of The Moon".

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Hi Rhyme or Reason,

Billy Joel does right good lyrics, as for Bob Dylan is the king of lyrics. Smokey Robinson Robinson is great at commercial lyrics with a chart appeal; many many hit singles. Harry Chapin, I have to check into his lyrics, Iam not familiar with him.

Thank you for your reply,

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Hi, Nizar. How can one narrow it down to the top 5 after so many to choose from throughout the decades... I have tried to narrow down the list to the top five for the 60s, 70, 80s and 90s...but the 70s just have too many to narrow down to 5...a couple writers made it into more than one decade (so I guess those would have to, in the end, be in the final overall top 5...but who can seriously choose who to put in the other spots? Maybe by how many #1 hits they wrote I guess...)


John Lennon/Paul McCartney (Beatles)

George Harrison

Bob Dylan

Mick Jagger/Keith Richards (Rolling Stones)

John Philips; Michelle Philips (The Mamas & Papas)


Joni Mitchell

Bruce Springsteen

Roger Waters/David Gilmore (Pink Floyd)

Don Henley/Glenn Fry (Eagles)

Billy Joel

Ronnie Van Zant (Lynard Skynard)

Steve Tyler/Joe Perry (Aerosmith)

Bob Seger

Eric Clapton

John Denver

Angus Young; Malcolm Young (AC/DC)

Desmond Child

Jimmy Buffett


Bono/The Edge (U2)


Peter Gabriel

Desmond Child

Michael Jackson


Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)


Desmond Child

Thom Yorke/Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead)

Anthony Kiedis/Flea, etc. (Red Hot Chili Peppers)


Rob Thomas

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I think the following three are all excellent lyricists: Don McLean, Roddy Frame and a paddy McAloon.

"Moonlight used to bathe the contours of her face, whilst chestnut hair fell all around the pillow-case." - Empty Chairs.

Roddy Frame - "I was young, chewing gum, acting like a dumb dumb." - Bigger Brighter Better.

Paddy McAloon - "Never let your concience be harmful to your health. let no neurotic impulse turn inward on itself." - life of Surprises.

I also think that they are great melody writers too.

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Many thanks Jenalynmorelli,

Your list is overwhelming, you definitely know alot about music from the 60's 70's 80's 90's almost all of your mentioned arists I have many of their albums. Iam not surprised there is no 2000 decade, maybe with the exception of Rob Thomas/MatchBox20.

I narrowed the list down on purpose, so it won't be e burden to all .

Its seems that the more we live; the worse the music gets! I don't know what is happening in the music industry, it's time for a change. Lets' Rock for one more time. LONG LIVE ROCK!!!

Once again thankyou for your reply,

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Hi, Nizar. Definitely a reason why I left off the Millenium decade out on the list lol (sorry Wil). I do agree with Rob Thomas tho. I'll edit my post to add him lol. It was fun thinking back to the GOOD days of music and what their writers brought.

At the end of every year, I go through the Billboard Top 100 and pick apart the top ones to try and figure out what made them special enough to be on the list..this year of all I was just really disappointed. Music is definitely in a transitional lull...and looking forward when it turns around again...

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My all time favorite is Bob Dylan and my second is Eminem. Whether those are the best, I wouldn't know they're just my top two. Here's some more on my list:


Dallas Green (City and Colour)

Samuel Beam (Iron and Wine)

Billy Joel

Tupac Shakur

Johnny Cash (Despite his simplicity)

Coldplay (Not sure who writes for them)

Kendrick Lamar

Tech N9ne

Paul Simon

Jermaine Cole

Blind Pilot (Who ever writes for them)


Old Crow Medicine Show (whoever writes for them)

Band of Horses (Whoever writes for them)

There are so many more I admire, but I'll leave the list off there.

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