The greatest songwriters of the pop era

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

A few weeks ago, Rolling Stone Magazine polled its readers to choose the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time. The results are pretty much as expected from the readers of Rolling Stone with grit and edge and the blues taking precedence over sales and popularity. Most will agree that Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney deserve to be No. 1 and No. 2, not necessarily in that order. But they will not be happy that the likes of the Bee Gees came in at No. 95 and Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA at 100, barely made it to the list.

I would also like to change the title to The Greatest Songwriters of the Rock Era because an all-time list must include Verdi, Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein and so many other great composers. Still, it is the best list of its type that I have come across and I like the fact that it arouses interest in sounds one may not have heard before or in a long time. When was the last time you listened to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac? Have you ever heard of Robert Johnson?

And so here they are, the Top 50 names of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of the Rock Era and some of their works. Needless to say, they are also the most influential.

1. Bob Dylan, I’m A Rolling Stone, Blowin’ In The Wind, Mr. Tamborine Man; 2. Paul McCartney, Yesterday, Let It Be, Mull Of Kintyre; 3. John Lennon, Imagine, Give Peace A Chance, Working Class Hero; 4. Chuck Berry, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene; 5. Smokey Robinson, Cruisin’, The Tracks Of My Tears, Being With You; 6. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, (I Can Get No) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, As Tears Go By; 7. Carole King and Gerry Goffin, You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow; 8. Paul Simon, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, The Sound Of Silence, Mrs. Robinson; 9. Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now, Big Yellow Taxi, The River; 10. Stevie Wonder, Superstition, You Are The Sunshine Of My Life, Sir Duke.

11. Bob Marley, I Shot The Sheriff, No Woman No Cry; 12. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, God Only Knows, Surfin’ U.S. A.; 13. Hank Williams, Your Cheating Heart, I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry; 14. Bruce Springsteen, Born In The USA, Born To Run; 15. Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, Baby I Need Your Lovin’, Where Did Our Love Go; 16. Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah, Dance Me To The End Of Love; 17. Neil Young, Angry World, Powderfinger; 18. Prince, Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret; 19. Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, Be My Baby, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home); 20. Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock.

21. Lou Reed, Sally Can’t Dance, Pale Blue Eyes; 22. Van Morrison, Gloria, Brown Eyed Girl; 23. Robert Johnson, Love In Vain, Milkcow Calf Blues; 24. Elvis Costello, Less Than Zero, Pump It Up; 25. Randy Newman, You’ve Got A Friend In Me, Short People; 26. James Brown, Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good); 27. Ray Davies, You Really Got Me, All Day And All Of The Night; 28. Woody Guthrie, This Land Is My Land, Pastures Of Plenty; 29. Buddy Holly, That Will Be The Day, Peggy Sue; 30. Peter Townshend of The Who, My Generation, I Can See For Miles.

31. Dolly Parton, I’ll Always Love You, 9 To 5; 32. Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, Do You Know The Way To San Jose; 33. Merle Haggard, Hungry Eyes, Rainbow Stew; 34. Michael Jackson, We Are The World, Dangerous; 35. Bono and The Edge of U2, Beautiful, One; 36. Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter of Grateful Dead, Truckin’, He’s Gone; 37. Jackson Brown, Running On Empty, Red Necked Friend; 38. Al Green, Let’s Stay Together, I’m Still In Love With You; 39. David Bowie, Let’s Dance, Young Americans; 40. John Fogerty, Proud Mary, Centerfield.

41. Max Martin, I Want It That Way, Baby One More Time; 42. Sly Stone, Everyday People, I Want To Take You Higher; 43. Johnny Cash, I Walk The Line, Folsom Prison Blues; 44. Jimmy Webb, MacArthur Park, By The Time I Get To Phoenix ; 45. Robbie Robertson, The Weight, Somewhere Down The Crazy River; 46. Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Papa Was A Rolling Stone; 47. Neil Diamond, Song Sung Blue, I’m A Believer; 48. Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Candle In The Wind, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road; 49. Don Henley and Glen Frey, The Long Run, Desperado; and 50. Billy Joel, Just The Way You Are, Honesty.

And now for my bucket list, the 100 Greatest Filipino Songwriters of All Time soon.











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