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Neil Young right behind Bob Dylan


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100. T Bone Burnett

99. Andre Benjamin & Antwan Patton (Outkast)

98. Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo)

97. Josh Ritter

96. Jimmy Cliff

95. Patti Smith

94. Sam Phillips

93. Joseph Arthur

92. Alejandro Escovedo

91. Drive By Truckers (Patterson Hood, Mike Cooley, Jason Isbell)

90. Nick Cave

89. Victoria Williams

88. Parliament (George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell)

87. Lyle Lovett

86. Sam Beam (Iron & Wine)

85. David Bazan (Pedro the Lion, Headphones)

84. John Linnel & John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants)

83. Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie)

82. John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)

81. Wayne Coyne & Steven Drozd (Flaming Lips)

80. Pink Floyd (Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright, Nick Mason)

79. Stephen Malkmus (Pavement, Silver Jews)

78. Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)

77. Bruce Cockburn

76. Will Oldham (aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Palace Music, etc.)

75. Ron Sexsmith

74. Linford Detweiler & Karin Bergquist (Over the Rhine)

73. Julie Miller

72. Michael Jackson

71. Vic Chesnutt

70. Alex Chilton (Big Star, The Box Tops)

69. Merle Haggard

68. Allen Tousaint

67. Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)

66. Charles Thompson (aka Frank Black, Black Francis) (Pixies)

65. Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love)

64. Andy Partridge (XTC, Dukes of Stratosphear)

63. Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention)

62. Sting (The Police)

61. John Hiatt

60. Jimmy Webb

59. Jack White (White Stripes, Raconteurs)

58. Sly Stone (Sly & the Family Stone)

57. Morrissey (The Smiths)

56. James Brown

55. Dolly Parton

54. Aimee Mann

53. James Taylor

52. Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)

51. Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham

50. Public Enemy (Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Hank Shocklee, Eric Sadler, et al)

49. Cat Stevens

48. Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

47. Sufjan Stevens

46. David Byrne (Talking Heads)

45. Jackson Browne

44. Al Green

43. Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown)

42. Loretta Lynn

41. Ray Davies (The Kinks)

40. Burt Bacharach & Hal David

39. Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham)

38. Kris Kristofferson

37. Smokey Robinson

36. Beck Hansen

35. Steve Earle

34. John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

33. Pete Townshend (The Who)

32. Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller

31. Carole King

30. John Prine

29. Tom Petty

28. Robbie Robertson (The Band)

27. Radiohead (Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Colin Greenwood, Ed O'Brien, Phil Selway)

26. R.E.M. (Peter Buck, Bill Berry, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe)

25. Chuck Berry

24. Jeff Tweedy (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo, Golden Smog, Loose Fur, etc.)

23. Elton John & Bernie Taupin

22. Lucinda Williams

21. Lou Reed (Velvet Underground)

20. Van Morrison

19. Patty Griffin

18. U2 (Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton)

17. Holland-Dozier-Holland

16. David Bowie

15. Willie Nelson

14. Stevie Wonder

13. Paul Simon

12. Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)

11. Randy Newman

10. Prince

9. Joni Mitchell

8. Elvis Costello

7. Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)

6. Leonard Cohen

5. Paul McCartney (The Beatles, Wings)

4. Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan

3. Bruce Springsteen

2. Neil Young (Buffalo Sprinfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

1. Bob Dylan

A few things I don't agree with:

Prince over Rolling Stones??

Wilco before The Who

Led Zeppelin @ #39

Til' Tuesday over Pink Floyd

20% of this list, I've never even heard of !!

Quite a few living legends seem to be omitted

- other than that, they did a good job including a lot of the prime basics & a few off the wall writers, who deserved to be included. [iMO]

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R.E.M. and Radiohead are pretty high, and I wouldn't have thought that Beck would be in thisat all, let alone 36... :)

and where's John Lennon? :P

EDIT: nevermind :doh:

Edited by Guest
maybe I should read first what's it about....
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These lists are always going to be debated - I think it should be placed by genre so there are multiple #1s.

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(((((((((( Listening to : I Write Sins Not Tragedies by Panic! At The Disco

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And over Paul Simon?? Not no mention Patti Smith, who?s number...

I can't believe Patti Smith was only #95!? !!, You're Right edna; she's a strong influence in the Women of Rock movement.

McCartney over Lennon? If you enjoy hearing little girls screaming along, then maybe you'd agree.
This list is made up of only songwriters who are currently alive.

I could've sworn Carole King & Kris Kristofferson were long gone, along with a few other indistinguished writers from the '66-'74 decade generation.

no way lol. bob dylan is a legend. yeah neil young is great..but bob dylan definately deserves his spot at number 1

IMO, Seeing as how this is a Poll voted by the notory public, it fails to amaze me, while still agreeing with 2/3 of the lyricists who placed. Personally, I think the People of Songfacts (& a few of the other "real music" sites I erratically visit/post at) could compile a better list if put to the test.

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These lists are always going to be debated - I think it should be placed by genre so there are multiple #1s.

I totally agree with that statement, a list of proper sound musicians, really should be classified into seperate catagories, & then merged into breakers as one chart.

Decades. Genres. Root_Influence. Style. & Mood.

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... its just a fact that nobody is ever going to be able to agree on things like this as everyone has different opinions and tastes

If you listen to the entire 20 minute program, linked in the first post, you will hear the editor who compiled this list and the panel discussing these songwriters agreeing with your above assertion, but also explaining very convincingly why these sorts of polling lists have value and are necessary from time to time.

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At the risk of being predictable....U2 at #18 is completely ludicrous. For 25 years now I've been in their target demographic, and they've still not conjured up a single song I can relate to. Totally overrated from the word "Go" in my view. I keep hoping that sooner or later the public will notice the emperor's deshabille...it could yet happen.

To see them in the "Top 20", while genuine genius Nick Cave lurks at #90 sticks in my craw somewhat.

As a lyricist of poetic soul, wit and pathos Shane McGowan (The Pogues) is virtually peerless: I find his exclusion from this list surprising.

One can only comment on what one knows: as an admirer of Guided By Voices and Pavement I should give a "thumbs up" to the inclusion of Robert Pollard and Stephen Malkmus respectively. (Likewise, to some extent, the They Might Be Giants fellas) However, I think there's a world of difference between great songwriting and prolific or clever (ie "smartass") songwriting, and I'm not convinced as to the extent that either of these writers manages to shine a light into the human psyche or upon the complexity of human relationships. Similarly, I'm quite a fan of Beck, but I wouldn't say he's such a fine song-writer: much of his lyrical output is obtuse gibberish of obscure value. He certainly doesn't justify a higher placing than Morrissey.......Personally, I would advocate the inclusion of Jarvis Cocker (Pulp), Chris Difford/Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze) and Polly Jean Harvey ahead of the "quirky smartass" school of songwriters...

...but that's just me.....

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Is lyricism included in songwriting? I always thought songwriting was stuff like instruments and chord structures.

Hm...that might be a fair point. I guess "the song" exists somewhere at the interface between lyric, melody and musical instrumentation. I may have overestimated the significance of "lyricism" in the equation.

Having said that, Morrissey (for example) is primarily a lyricist and tunesmith, but not a musician, yet is obviously deemed worthy of inclusion at a respectable #52.

Incidentally, I would contend that Mark Everett (of Eels) is a far superior songsmith to many on this list.

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