07 July 2006

Best Songwriters

OK, so everyone has a "best" list out nowadays. When I heard that some outfit called Paste Magazine had compiled a list of the Top 100 Songwriters, I was intrigued. I have my preferences.

Before I clicked on the link, I thought of the songwriter I would recommend. I have to say Willie Nelson for two reasons: "Crazy" and "You Were Always on My Mind." I mean, this guy has written for Elvis and Patsy Cline, to name a few.

As it turned out, he didn't even crack the Top Ten! Here they are:

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

For the record, ole Willie was #12, right after Paul Simon.

I'm sorry, but the above list is a reach. I would keep Springsteen, Mitchell, Dylan and McCartney (who could argue with him at #1?)

Prince? Come on, "Purple Rain" had a melody that I played my 2nd week in piano lessons.

Granted, my knowledge of Neil Young came in the years after he lost his ability to actually carry a tune on a record.

Gravelly voiced Tom Waits--I hardly know him.

Leonard Cohen might belong here, I don't know. I'm usually too busy kissing my true love when his music is playing, so I'm not familiar with his use of chord structure or wordplay.

Elvis Costello is a cool singer, but I can name exactly ZERO songs that he has written.


Stephen McNulty said...

I can't believe U2 isn't on that list. My opinion on Prince is that he is not a great songwriter but puts on a really good show. He performed at the finale of the most popular show American Idol currently and made the whole night for all the musicians watching.

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Amanda said...

JD dear, there's something you should know:


How someone who is such a connoisseur of fine music as yourself could get this far in life without knowing Cohen is a mystery to me.

You might want to start with the "More Best Of" album, track 9 or "The Essential Leonard Cohen," track 8.

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