10 of the Greatest Songwriters Ever

10 of the Greatest Songwriters Ever

Music is a part of our on a regular basis life, and we’re just about wired to answer it. Historical past has seen musical prodigies resembling Beethoven and Mozart entertaining kings and plebeians alike, and trendy music, too, is crammed with fairly outstanding writers of music and lyrics. To charge the very best songwriters is a near-impossible process, however there are a number of who’re legendary.

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10 Paul McCartney

A complete of 129 songs that McCarthy has written or co-written, together with 32 songs with the Beatles, 21 with Wings, and 36 as a soloist or a part of a duo/group, have charted on the UK Official Singles Chart since its inception in 1952. The latest, in collaboration with Kanye West and Rihanna, made it to No. 18 on the charts in 2015. Of his songs, 33 have reached No. 1 within the UK, together with “Mull of Kintyre” and “Ebony and Ivory.” McCartney additionally wrote songs with fellow Beatle John Lennon, which nonetheless holds the report for probably the most No. 1 songs on each the UK and U.S. charts.

Sir Paul McCartney was the primary entertainer to broadcast reside music to the Worldwide Area Station when he sang “Good Day Sunshine” and “English Tea” to astronauts Invoice McArthur and Valery Tokarev on November 13, 2005.[1]

9 Andrew Lloyd Webber

Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote 82 phenomenal compositions, which helped to revive British and American musical theater late within the 20th century. He collaborated with Tim Rice in productions resembling Joseph and the Superb Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968) and Evita (1978). A number of of his stage productions additionally made it to the silver display. His controversial stage manufacturing Jesus Christ Famous person (beginning in 1971) is the longest-running musical in British theatrical historical past.

He collected so many awards that he turned one of many choose few to earn himself an “EGOT” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony). In 2019, he had 5 of his musicals operating concurrently in London theaters.[2]

8 John Lennon

John Lennon, the person liable for the utopian track “Think about,” had 32 U.S. No. 1 and 29 UK No. 1 hits—simply barely greater than Paul McCarthy. As a band, The Beatles, consisting of Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, have had probably the most No. 1 hits in each the U.S. (19) and the UK (15) up to now. Their debut album, Please Please Me (1963), stays the album with probably the most consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the UK albums chart—30 weeks. The band additionally nonetheless holds the report for probably the most weeks at No. 1 on each the U.S. (132 weeks) and UK charts (174 weeks).

On December 8, 1980, Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, a disillusioned fan. Chapman was sentenced to 20 years to life and was denied parole 11 instances. He’s nonetheless in jail. At the same time as prolific Lennon was as a author, think about what else he may have achieved if his life hadn’t been minimize quick.[3]

7 Benny Andersson

The 2 Bs of the ABBA phenomenon, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, wrote many songs, of which two reached No. 1 within the US and 9 within the UK—the place they topped the charts for 31 weeks non-consecutively. Their 1970s music remains to be being performed on radio and TV fifty years on—even after ABBA break up up in 1982 and their music light into the background for some time.

Andersson and ABBA’s music noticed a revival after the stage play Mama Mia! was launched on London’s West Finish in 1999 and on Broadway (New York) in 2001. This led to 2 star-studded movies, as soon as once more cementing ABBA’s reputation.

Andersson launched a solo instrumental album, Piano, in 2017. ABBA launched a brand new album, Voyage, with 10 songs which topped the album charts in 18 international locations in 2021. Certainly, wonderful for a Swedish band profitable the Eurovision track contest again in 1974![4]

Thanks for the Music, Mr. Andersson.

6 Bob Marley

Jamaican singer and songwriter Bob Marley launched reggae to the American viewers and confirmed that the style had as a lot to supply as rock and roll. Marley used his lyrics, resembling these from “Buffalo Soldier,” to protest third-world struggles and to uplift folks of their troublesome circumstances. Singer-songwriter Bono is quoted saying that he carries Marley’s “Redemption Tune” with him to each assembly with politicians. In reality, it was Bono who inducted Marley into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 1994.

Bob Marley’s lyrics weren’t restricted to protest, although. He additionally wrote religious lyrics and exquisite love songs like “Is This Love?” He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a star on the Hollywood Stroll of Fame, and inductions to the halls of fame of the Grammys, Black Music and Leisure, and ASCAP Songwriters. Regardless of his dying in 1981, his album Legend is the longest-charting album within the historical past of the Billboard Journal Catalog Albums chart and remains to be the world’s bestselling reggae album.[5]

5 Prince

The talk by followers on who was the very best between Prince and Michael Jackson has at all times been a heated one. Prince—aka The Artist Previously Generally known as Prince aka The Artist—was born Prince Rogers Nelson. He was a proficient composer who may carry out on nearly all of the devices required in his recordings. Though Prince’s music began out with funk and soul—aiming for black audiences—it developed to incorporate jazz-funk, heavy steel, hip-hop, and soulful ballads like “Purple Rain” (1984), one in every of his most lovely songs. Prince’s prolific writing and creativeness didn’t match together with his report firm’s coverage of solely releasing one album per 12 months, so his songs usually turned hits carried out by different bands—resembling The Bangles singing “Manic Monday.”

It’s believed that Prince wrote between 500 and 1500 songs, releasing greater than 40 albums. Mentioned album launch insurance policies had been bypassed by altering report labels and utilizing the web to his benefit. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 2004—the 12 months the well-accepted album Musicology was launched. Prince died in 2016 from a drug overdose.[6]

4 Leonard Cohen

Canadian Leonard Cohen was a novelist and poet earlier than he was a singer. In comparison with different nice songwriters, he was by no means somebody aiming to gather accolades. He was a lifelong seeker of “one thing increased.” Whereas born a Jew, he tried out totally different religious paths and even turned a Buddhist monk for a short while.

Cohen’s songs are iconic. “The Stunning Suzanne” (1967) was a poem-turned-song apparently born from his friendship with a good friend’s spouse. “Hallelujah” (1984) took some time earlier than it was launched, as his report label thought it a catastrophe, however Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley sang it, and the remaining is historical past. The primary model of “Lover, Lover, Lover” (1974) was spontaneously improvised when he carried out for Israeli troopers within the Sinai Desert throughout the Yom Kippur Battle. “Chicken on a Wire” (1969) had its origins in his days when residing in Hydra, a Greek island, together with his lover, Marianne, who was the inspiration for his track, “So Lengthy, Marianne.” Their story was informed in a 2019 documentary, Marianne & Leonard: Phrases of Love.

Did his stressed spirit ever discover its house? His later songs hinted that he died a person at shalom (peace) with himself and doubtless together with his creator—because the phrases of one in every of his final songs, “You Need It Darker” (2016), indicated: “Hineini, I’m prepared, my Lord.”[7]

7 Ed Sheeran

He isn’t even twenty years within the music trade, but Ed Sheeran has already collected a lifetime’s price of accolades. He was accepted into the Nationwide Youth Music Theatre at age 15, acquired an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), and had cameos and roles in quite a few TV and movie productions, resembling Recreation of Thrones and Danny Boyle’s The Beatles-themed film, Yesterday.

Sheeran has greater than fifty songs sung by himself and others, resembling Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and One Course, and already has six U.S. No. 1 and 12 UK No. 1 songs. He continues to high charts often worldwide.

He has been named the UK’s artist of the last decade by the UK Official Charts Firm after reaching a mixed run of 12 primary singles and albums between 2010 and 2019—greater than some other artist. In 2017, all 16 tracks of his album Divide debuted contained in the High 40 on the UK charts, forcing a change in guidelines limiting entries to 3 per lead artist.

Most of Sheeran’s albums are named after mathematical symbols. In explaining the equals (=) image (2021), he stated: “I noticed the image ‘equals’ because it symbolizes life, not simply new life, it symbolizes life and whether or not that’s the tip of life or begin of life.” Sheeran will in all probability high the charts with intervals for definitively greater than “1000 Nights.”[8]

2 Max Martin

No man is an island, the saying goes, and that is the place Karl Martin Sandberg, aka Max Martin, stands together with his contributions to music. Only a few may know his identify, however everybody is aware of his music, as demonstrated in Ed Sheeran’s “I Don’t Care” (a duet with Bieber) and “Stunning Folks” (that includes Khalid). A few of his different compositions embrace “That’s the Approach It Is” (Céline Dion), “Child One Extra Time” (Britney Spears), “Can’t Cease the Feeling!” (Justin Timberlake), “So What?” (Pink), “I Need It That Approach” (Backstreet Boys), “Since U Been Gone” (Kelly Clarkson), and “All You Needed to Do Was Keep” (Taylor Swift).

Since making his look within the lat’90s, the Swedish songwriter-producer has co-written 23 Billboard Scorching 100 No. 1 hits—greater than anybody else however John Lennon (26) and Paul McCartney (32).

Thirty of his songs are carried out within the London West Finish present & Juliet —primarily based on Shakespeare’s well-known play however twisting the plot with Juliet deciding to not kill herself. He’s known as the grasp of “hooks” together with his perception that each the verse and the refrain should have them. He additionally has a fame as being super-collaborative and transferring with the instances—in all probability the rationale behind his success as Sesame Road’s musical director.[9]

1 Bob Dylan

Also known as the Shakespeare of his technology, Bob Dylan is a songwriter and performer not simply equaled. A prolific author, Dylan has rewritten historical past by changing into the primary songwriter to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016. He has written greater than 500 recorded songs, which have been carried out by greater than 2,000 artists by the years. Additionally, he’s a acknowledged portray artist who has had exhibitions worldwide.

Amongst Dylan’s different accolades embrace a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012, an induction into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in January 1988, a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and 10 Grammys.

In 2014, Simon & Schuster printed his lyrics in ebook type, containing 960 pages and weighing a whopping 3.12 kilograms (13.5 kilos). By April 2019, Dylan and the Band had performed in additional than 3,000 exhibits with their By no means Ending Tour. In December 2020, Common Music Publishing Group introduced that that they had purchased his whole track catalog.

Dylan was humbled by his Nobel win, and in his laureate lecture, he centered on the hyperlink between literature and songwriting, referencing three books having an important affect on his life—Moby-Dick (Herman Melville), All Quiet on the Western Entrance (Erich Maria Remarque), and The Odyssey (Homer). His lecture ended with the phrases: “Sing in me, oh Muse, and thru me inform the story.”[1]

Bob Dylan’s music will preserve doing simply that.

Initially Revealed by – Jamie Frater

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.

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