One Thing I've come to Realize is that when you ask someone to name the top five songwriters of all time they might have a few the same but none have all the same. I want to know some peoples thoughts. My top five are:

1.Hank Williams SR.
2.Bob Dylan
3.Kris Kristofferson
4.Townes Van Zandt
5.Guy Clark

You?

Tags: Songwriters

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Too hard to do, so I've split them into two categories

Living:
1. Kris Kristofferson
2. Bob Dylan
3. Paul Simon
4. Jimmy Webb
5. Tie: Paul McCartney and Lieber & Stoller

Dead:
1. Stephen Foster
2. Woody Guthrie
3. Hank Wiliams
4. John Lennon
5. Townes Van Zandt
1. Bob Dylan
2. John Lennon
3. Paul Simon
4. Ray Davies
5. Elvis Costello
I like the living/dead distinction 'cause it lets me list 10 people :)

Living:
1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Bruce Springsteen
4. Paul McCartney
5. Tom Waits

Dead:
1. Woody Guthrie
2. Hank Williams
3. Townes Van Zandt
4. John Lennon
5. Irving Berlin
You really could not argue with ANY of the names so far , i'd like to throw the following into the ring though :
1. Merle Haggard
2. Billy Joe Shaver
3. Cole Porter

Oh and i could happily sit and read Joni Mitchells lyrics all day (poetic and evocative) but i really can't stand her voice ! When i pull out "Hejira" i just read the words and don't even play it !!!
yeah it's hard to pick a top five I think Harlan Howard Bill Anderson Boudleaux & Felice Bryant Ira Louvin need to be mentioned to

Oh my God,I thought I was the only 1 who couldn't stand Joni's music! Like you said Steve,her lyricism is near genius,but that voice and instrumentation just grates on my nerves...like fingers on a chalkboard!

THE top 5? No can do. But, Tom Russell needs to be mentioned, he'd not be at all out of place among the many great names already listed.

Stevedal mentioned Billy Joe Shaver. Amen. Everyone should get to see him play live at least once in their lives.
Quite a grouping of names so far.

JJ Cale should be very much at home with some of the great names already mentioned.
Can't quibble with your list but need to find room for Steve Earle and Fred Eaglesmith
fred ?? greatest ?? how about the great always ignored Hoyt Axton, whose superb trio of albums Fearless- Southbound-Life Machine surely rank with the great Townes,David Olney,and Leonard Cohen

I agree, especially with the Steve Earle part!

In addition to those already mentioned I would add Richard Thompson, Greg Brown, Willie Nelson, Johnny Mercer and Lucinda Williams.

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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.