Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ours Go to 11: Volume 20, America's Greatest Living Songwriters (in a Pop/Rock/Country vein)

Today, Paul Simon, who was writing notable songs by the age of 15, turns 75.

And this morning, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” in the words of the Swedish Academy.

So it seems like a good day to scratch out a list of the men and women I believe to be America's greatest living songwriters.

For purposes of this list, I am excluding Broadway composers--otherwise Stephen Sondheim would likely top it--and writers in jazz, classical and other non-pop idioms.

Also, as apt for a few cases, "America" includes Canada.

1. Bob Dylan
2. Brian Wilson 
3. Paul Simon
4. Stevie Wonder
5. Smokey Robinson 
6. Bruce Springsteen 
7. John Fogerty
8. Carole King
9. Neil Young
10. Chuck Berry
11. Holland/Dozier/Holland (Brian & Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier)

And a few more
Donald Fagan & Walter Becker
Jackson Browne
Leonard Cohen
Paul Westerberg
Billy Joel 
Tom Petty
Neil Diamond
Burt Bacharach
Willie Nelson
Sly Stone
Randy Newman
Joni Mitchell
James Taylor
David Byrne
Berry/Buck/Mills/Stipe (R.E.M.)
Robbie Robertson
Patti Smith

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