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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

100 Most Important Living Songwriters: Paste Magazine Poll Results


The results are in from Paste Magazine's poll of the 100 most important living songwriters. Here are the Top 10:

1. bob dylan
2. neil young
3. bruce springsteen
4. tom waits and kathleen brennan
5. paul mccartney
6. leonard cohen
7. brian wilson
8. elvis costello
9. joni mitchell
10. prince

(Full results not available online as of yet, only in print magazine.)


So exactly why is Neil #2 and Bob #1? Well, we've been through that a thousand times before. Go here, if you fail to see the humor in all of this. And, if you still think this whole Bob vs Neil is just some website trying to stir things up, well then....


Or how about why Bruce is #3? Is the difference between Bruce and Neil merely the semantics of the degree of greatness?

paul mccartney neil

And why is Paul only #5? There was a reason that Paul asked Neil to induct him into the Hall of Fame, right?

neil & joni

Or why Joni is #9? Afterall, Joni knows why you can't be 20 on Sugar Mountain.

And a few more reasons that Neil Young is #2 on the list.

Thanks to Paramour for news!

UPDATE 5/26: Full list of 100 at thus spake drake: Bob, Neil and Bruce.

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At 5/24/2006 11:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Neil Young, but as a songwriter, Dylan is head and shoulders above everyone else.

At 5/24/2006 11:03:00 AM, Blogger haahnster said...

I have no problem with the top 2. I'm just amazed that the list continues beyond Bob & Neil. You mean, there are other songwriters???

At 5/24/2006 01:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce Springsteen before Paul McCartney. That's ridiculous! Springsteen is so overblown, and cliche'. And what, if any, style changes does his music ever take.

At 5/24/2006 05:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Springsteen, but I definitely agree that McCartney should be three.

At 5/24/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Chicago said...

I'd put Joni and Costello before Springsteen & Waits. If McCartney was judged on only music written post 1971, he wouldn't be near my Top 10....

At 5/25/2006 09:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or does Brian Wilson not really belong. Don't get me wrong I love his music, but he dosen't really compare to the other nine. The other nine are all lyricists while Brian is all about the music.

At 5/25/2006 01:15:00 PM, Anonymous Mike said...

I agree McCartney should rank above Springsteen, but the absence of Jagger/Richards in the top ten is just unbelievable, even if they haven't written a great song in the more than 20 years since "Start Me Up". I'd rank them no lower than third and (apologies to Neil)maybe even second.

At 5/25/2006 05:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm..... gotta be +60 to break into the top 9. Must be based on entire career, since some have not done much lately.

Glad to see Joni recognized, Would have liked to see Tom Petty, Pete Townsend or John Melloncamp up there, hope they were in the top 20.

Inarresting list.

At 5/25/2006 05:39:00 PM, Anonymous horsewifnoname said...

Along with Tom Petty and Pete Townsend, how about Roger Waters, David Gilmour, or Randy Newman? I hope they are all in the top twenty.... And I would bump Springsteen for Steve Earle, but that's just me,eh?

At 5/25/2006 06:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could someone with the magazine please let us know the numbers on the above songwriters, and also J. J. Cale, Paul Simon, Country Joe McDonald, Carol King and James Taylor?

Bob & Neil 1 & 2, gotta agree with that.


At 5/25/2006 06:35:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What no David Byrne? You've got to be kidding me....what did he die and no one told me? How about:
Neil Sedaka?
Burt Bacharach?
Gordon Lightfoot?
Come on!

At 5/26/2006 08:27:00 AM, Blogger greenmtn said...

Jackson Browne not on this list? To me this invalidates the whole thing. Yes Neil of course, and McCartney is really no match against the Boss, Paul wins hands down. But again, no JB is a crime.

At 5/26/2006 01:00:00 PM, Blogger Mark Johnson said...

No Top 10 is complete with Richard Thompson, Howe Gelb and Will Oldham. Sacrilege!

At 5/26/2006 10:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is Pete Townshend? He's in my top 3.

At 5/28/2006 06:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without doubt Howe Gelb's got to be up there,also Ian McNabb (He's a genius !)

At 5/29/2006 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Betty Lou said...

Paul before Bruce? No, no, no. Paul writes rock ditties. Bruce writes rock anthems. Bob writes rock visions and Neil writes rock reality (as seen through rose colored glasses).

The order looks in order to me.

At 5/30/2006 12:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say pack Neil's bags and cart his ass back to Canada and while you are at it take the not "Dixie" Chicks with him. Good ridiance to a bunch of rubbish.

At 5/30/2006 06:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no,the rednecks are back in town !!

At 6/04/2006 06:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not going to debate most of who is listed in the top 10 - they're all pretty amazing songwriters.

However, I do question a top 10 list that omits John Prine. While he is more of a folk/Americana/Alt-Country/whatever figure, he has to be in the top 10. His way with words and wry observations are singular.

At 6/07/2006 10:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Dylan is undoubtedly a great artist. He is considered the songwriters’ songwriter. The music of Bob Dylan (and The Beatles) has had a global influence without parallel. Neil himself is a huge admirer. However, given the ultimatum, I would not exchange my Neil Young music collection for either Bob Dylan’s or The Beatles! Call it personal preference if you like.

At 6/19/2006 02:00:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

neil is the one for me , but high way 61 is the best record ever . bob has to win for that what about jackson browne ?

At 6/22/2006 01:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Joni Mitchell should be up there at least in the top 5 (#1 to me). To me she embodies songwriter. Where Dylan can speak in paragraphs, it is for the sake of melodies. He uses three or four chords in most of his songs and although lyrically he is amazing, the whole package is not there. Joni brings not only unbelievable lyricism and ingenuity of imagery, but she also brings a sense of melodic movement to her songs unlike that of Dylan. And although this isn't a poll based on voices, her soaring soprano most definitely beats out Dylan and Neil Youngs voices. She is the definitive singer/songwriter.

At 6/30/2006 08:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the list, although everyone seems these days to have a ranking list why not just accept all of these extremely gifted artists as included...without a number over another number 1 ..2..etc.. and just accpet that they all have had a huge impact upon our lives and perspectives on our society..I do agree tht Jackson Brown also needs to be a part of this list.

At 7/06/2006 03:16:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joni Mitchell is like greeting card poetry.

Try Gilmour/Waters, now that's genius....

11 is a tie, John Prine, Jagger pre-1980, and david byrne

At 2/17/2008 10:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People! Paul McCartney should be #2! Come on! Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney changed music more than anyone else.

John Lennon was great but... let's face it... on the musical side, Sir Paul was the real genius behind the band.

At 2/17/2008 10:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And... Paul's written some great post 1971 stuff... like "BAND ON THE RUN" "VENUS & MARS" and the brilliant "CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACK YARD"

At 6/21/2008 08:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The order looks in order to me.

Dylan is the best, Neil is perfect at his rank and Bruce too.

At 9/12/2008 04:17:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I´d like to see the complete list, because I miss people in the first places, at list in the 10 or 15 first places... John Lennon as the more obvious, Silvio Rodriguez, Joan Manuel Serrat... or are we just talking about anglo saxon songwriters?
Anyway, as a list is the result of frequently subjetive points of view, I don´t care too much about it.
But you anglosaxon people, manifest an intriging,almost compulsive tendency to poll everything: the best 100 guitarrist, the best selling songs of all time, the 50 worst smelling farts a candidate to US presidency as ever released on a live debate...
Man, this is music, this is art, it´s about emotions, feelings, ideas and ideals... This is not fucking sports. There´s no neeed to compete... relax and just listen to the music...
Peace and love, and long may Neil run...



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