Who are your top 10 favorite Rock lyricists ?

Make a list of 10 Rock lyricists (not so much for their singing ability, but more the strength of their words/lyrics) why you like them... also please list a song/songs that you think shows the singer as a great lyricist

some of my favorites would be...

John Lennon - pretty much any song he ever wrote but a good example is 'God'

Dylan - masters of war

Ian Curits - Novelty,something must break,digital, walked in line

Thom Yorke - Lucky,you and who's army,pretty much anything after pablo honey

Johnny Cash - Anything he wrote...., I hung my head, sunday morning blues


WOW thanks so MUCH for mentioning Elliot Smith. I'd heard about him but never really made an effort to get any of his songs. DEFINATELY a new favorite. thanks again :)

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'll go with a top 5 (It could be much longer but limitations are good to keep it form watering down too much)

    1. Elliott Smith - (all of them, but I'll go with) Condor Avenue (a really sad song about an ex girlfriend dieing in a car accident)

    2. Stephen Malkmus - Billie (I love the way he connects words. Half the time I can't tell what he's singing about if anything, but he puts words together so well. The selection I chose was from Pavement, his old band. His solo stuff is amazing too)

    3. Paul Simon - Hearts and Bones (not necessarily my favorite song of his in general, but it is so beautifully written that it puts you inside the story. I actually cried when I was in a pretty depressed mood and I heard this song for the first time in a long time. He does love that falls apart so well. See also Graceland)

    4. Frank Black - (I Wanna Live on an) Abstract Plain (Teenager of the Year is such an amazing record. He, kind of like Steve Malkmus, puts words together really well. A lot of abstracts that add up to a picture, a mood. This song is about getting stuck, needing a change. It is a just wonderful song.)

    5. John Lennon - A Day in the Life (it's probably a Lennon/McCartney, but this one feels more Lennon to me. It's classically Lennon. A perfect melody, original and impactful. Great lyrics, a journey. Like the asker said though there are tons from his solo career - Instant Karma, John Sinclair, Imagine (it may be a cliche now, but BRILLIANT), Cold Turkey, Mind Games, etc., etc., etc. Insert a whine about him being taken too early. It's too frustrating to even wonder what amazing stuff he could have done.)

    oops, you wanted 10 specifically: I'll be a lot more brief with the back 5

    6. D.C. Berman (of the Silver Jews) - Advice for the Graduate

    7. Thom Yorke - (so may to choose from) I guess, Lucky maybe Fake Plastic Trees

    8. Damon Albarn - (early Damon Albarn from Blur, when he was really flippant and sassy) Parklife (that song is so good. A real influence for me)

    9. Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy) - the Group Who Couldn't (he has a very interesting style. You have to hear this song and it's lyrics. very cool song about how the cubicle life is stifling)

    10. Will Sheff (of Okkervil River) - Black (No, not a cover of the Pearl Jam song. It's funny this song sounds incredibly poppy, but has just downright dark, disturbing lyrics. Okkervil River is a very cool band that not enough people know about. He has a great sense of imagery, and just wonderful flow to his lyrics. He also has a very impactful side. Songs like this one, For Real, and Another Radio Song just hit incredibly hard. Do yourself a favor, if you don't know them check them out. They have a kind of rock and roll, folky thing going. Great band.)

    Source(s): Honorable Mention Jeff Tweedy of Wilco I'm really glad you liked the Elliott Smith listing. He's been bumming me out, in a good way, for years. Just an amazing lyricist/songwriter.
  • 1 decade ago

    Roger Waters of Pink Floyd- Comfortably Numb, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, Cymbaline

    Thom Yorke of Radiohead- Just, Exit Music, Bishop's Robes

    Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd- Jugband Blues

    Bob Dylan (durf)- Subterranean Homesick Blues, A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall

    John Lennon- Nobody Told Me

    Ray Davies of the Kinks- Lola, Destroyer

    Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree- Piano Lesson, Lazarus

    Neil Young- My My Hey hey, Ohio

    Jim Morrison of the Doors- Break on Through, Peace Frogs

    Neil Peart of Rush- Freewill, Subdivisions

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Bob Dylan-the definition of singer/songwriter

    Neil Young

    Roger Waters-weird lyrics

    John Lennon-trippy

    Bruce Springsteen

    Jackson Browne

    Pete Townshend-simple but great

    Paul Simon

    Jim Morrison-poet

    Ray Davies

  • 4 years ago

    Here are my favorite rappers: 1. Wiz Khalifa, My favorite rapper, he is chill as **** and is just exploding into the hip hop world Some of his best work (The Statement, This Plane, Buss Down, G'd Up, Talk To Ya) 2. Lil Wayne, Most of you are probably like wtf is this guy doing here, but all i got is to stop hatin he has some really good mixtapes and his older work (I Feel Like Dying, Money On My Mind, P.M.W., Dipset pt. 2) 3. Tech N9ne, straight reppin' KC with his unbeleivable stamina and fast raps (Trapped in a Psycho's Body, Come Gangsta, Breath, KC Tea, Down for the Block) 4. The Game, Hasn't released a studio album in a couple years but has released hot mixtapes (Bad Intentions, Old English, Wouldn't Get Far, Gangsta's Ride) 5. 2pac, ah the king of hip-hop, one of the first to firmly establish hip-hop in the west coast (Keep Ya Head Up, Get Around, Hail Mary, Runnin', Tradin' War Stories) 6. Biggie Smalls, The King of the east, possibly the best lyricist ever graced the mic (Victory, Who Shot Ya, Dead Wrong, 10 Crack Commandments, Hypnotize) 7. Dr. Dre, Possibly my most favorite producer, (Nuthin' But a G Thang, Kush, Next Episode, **** You, Bitchez Ain't ****, Xxplosive) 8. Snoop Dogg, His old **** is raw as **** but is beginning to soften up (That's That ****, That Good, Gin And Juice, The One And Only, Buck E'm) 9. Kid Cudi, The ultimate stoner, the best music to get blazed to (Cleveland is the Reason, Daps And Pounds, Rollin, The Mood, Day n Nite, I Do My Thing) 10. Rick Ross, the rapper of the year, he aint the best but had a really good year (B.M.F, 9piece, Even Deepr, Mc Hammer, Aston Martin Music)

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  • 1 decade ago

    1. Freddie Mercury- Bohemian Rhapsody

    2. Stevie Nicks- Rhainnon any of her songs are amazing

    3. Jimmy Page/ Robert Plant- too many to name

    4. Jim Morrison- I guess The End

    5. Ani Difranco- alot of her songs are great

    6. Nick Drake- underrated and very talented

    7. John Lennon one word : IMAGINE

    8. Bernie Taupin- all of his song with elton

    9. Bob Dylan- blowin in the wind

    10. Johnny Cash- ring of fire and all the others are good.

  • 1 decade ago

    I'll agree with John Lennon.

    Jimi Hendrix

    Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots)

    Tom Marshall (Phish)

    Neal Peart (Rush)

    John Anderson (Yes)

    Greg Lake (ELP, King Crimson)

    Ronnie Dio (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio)

    Jerry Cantrell/Layne Staley (Alice in Chains)

    Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    hurt (weird but i love it),

    staind (i can relate to him, we even had a tattoo done by the same person),

    evans blue(again weird but great)

    metallica: 2 songs unforgiven2 & bleeding me

    s.t.p./velvet revolver: 2 words: big empty!

    nickleback: though not all the time, but dammit i want 2 be a rock star

    bush: love mouth

    bullet for my valentine: read the lyrics

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Johny Cash

    Boy named Sue (but he has much more good song lyrics )


    Youtube thumbnail

    Leonard Cohen

    Bird on the Wire (almost of of his songs have great lyric s)


    Youtube thumbnail

  • 1 decade ago

    -corpsegrinder of cannibal corpse-make them suffer

    -mike of devourment-deflesh the abducted

    -alexi laiho of children of bodom-we're not gonna fall

    -travor strnad of the black dahlia murder-closed casket requiem

    -nergal of behemoth-conquer all

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