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 Post subject: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:18 pm 
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Criteria: - Lyricists are musical artists who write lyrics of wit, originality,
emotion, great storytelling, social consciousness, & lasting popularity.

http://digitaldreamdoor.com/pages/best_lyricists.html

Edited By: Eric
Last Updated 5-13-05

1. Bob Dylan
2. Neil Young
3. Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
4. John Lennon (The Beatles)
5. Bruce Springsteen
6. Jackson Browne
7. Pete Townshend (The Who)
8. Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel)
9. Jim Morrison (The Doors)
10. Ray Davies (The Kinks)
11. Elvis Costello
12. Paul McCartney (The Beatles)
13. Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam)
14. Leonard Cohen
15. Maynard James Keenan (Tool)
16. Joni Mitchell
17. Morrissey (The Smiths)
18. Lou Reed (Velvet Underground)
19. Van Morrison
20. Bob Marley
21. Joe Strummer (The Clash)
22. Warren Zevon
23. John Fogerty (CCR)
24. Smokey Robinson
25. Tom Waits
26. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
27. Chuck Berry
28. Justin Hayward (Moody Blues)
29. Nick Cave
30. John Mellencamp
31. Cat Stevens
32. Tom Petty
33. Donald Fagan (Steely Dan)
34. Frank Zappa
35. Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)
36. Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull)
37. Jeff Buckley
38. Mick Jagger (Rolling Stones)
39. Robbie Robertson (The Band)
40. David Bowie
41. Bernie Taupin (Elton John)
42. Peter Gabriel (Genesis)
43. Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains)
44. Don Henley (The Eagles)
45. Edward Kowalczyk (Live)
46. Nick Drake
47. Brian Wilson (Beach Boys)
48. Billy Joel
49. George Harrison (The Beatles)
50. Harry Nilsson
51. Bono (U2)
52. Thom Yorke (Radiohead)
53. Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails)
54. Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
55. Neil Peart (Rush)
56. Don Mclean
57. Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)
58. Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd)
59. Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
60. John Lodge (Moody Blues)
61. David Crosby (CSNY)
62. Freddie Mercury (Queen)
63. Jeff Lynne (ELO)
64. Ben Harper
65. Eric Clapton
66. Bob Seger
67. Robert Hunter (Grateful Dead)
68. Beck
69. Michael Stipe (R.E.M.)
70. Randy Newman
71. Jim Croce
72. James Taylor
73. Robert Smith (The Cure)
74. Jimi Hendrix
75. Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
76. Paul Westerberg (Replacements)
77. Ani Difranco
78. Steve Earle
79. Stephen Stills (CSNY)
80. David Byrne (Talking Heads)
81. Arthur Lee (Love)
82. Tori Amos
83. Zack De La Rocha (Rage Against The Machine)
84. Phil Ochs
85. Carole King
86. Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders)
87. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
88. Pete Brown (Cream)
89. Ian Curtis (Joy Division)
90. Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips)
91. Patti Smith
92. Sting (The Police)
93. Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree)
94. Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
95. Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie)
96. John Hiatt
97. Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)
98. Steve Winwood (Traffic)
99. Dave Matthews
100. Matt Bellamy (Muse)


Sidebar list: The Greatest Lyric Albums

1. Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan
2. Dark Side of The Moon - Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)
3. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
4. Late For the Sky - Jackson Browne
5. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
6. After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
7. Rubber Soul - The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr)
8. Graceland - Paul Simon
9. Blue - Joni Mitchell
10. Imagine - John Lennon
11. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
12. Harvest - Neil Young
13. The Doors - The Doors (Jim Morrison)
14. Exodus - Bob Marley
15. White Album - The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr)
16. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel (Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel)
17. The Wall - Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)
18. Village Green Preservation Society - The Kinks (Ray Davies)
19. Quadrophenia - The Who (Pete Townshend)
20. Freewheelin Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan
21. Abbey Road - The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr)
22. The Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen
23. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
24. Days of Future Passed - Moody Blues (Justin Hayward/John Lodge)
25. Rain Dogs - Tom Waits
26. Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (Roger Waters)
27. Pink Moon - Nick Drake
28. In Utero - Nirvana (Kurt Cobain)
29. Excitable Boy - Warren Zevon
30. Revolver - The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr)
31. Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
32. Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog (Chris Cornell)
33. Blood and Chocolate - Elvis Costello
34. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr)
35. The Boatman's Call - Nick Cave
36. The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths (Morrissey)
37. London Calling - The Clash (Strummer/Jones/Simmonon)
38. The Naked Ride Home - Jackson Browne
39. No Code - Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder)
40. John Wesley Harding - Bob Dylan
41. The Thirteenth Step - A Perfect Circle (Maynard James Keenan)
42. Tommy - The Who (Pete Townshend)
43. Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan
44. Something Else - The Kinks (Ray Davies)
45. On the Beach - Neil Young
46. Fight For Your Mind - Ben Harper
47. Lateralus - Tool (Maynard James Keenan)
48. Moondance - Van Morrison
49. Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
50. Wildflowers - Tom Petty


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2010 10:16 pm 
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OK, I've just seen this list for the first time, having never seen the discussion before, so can someone explain to me why Waters is #3? I'm not overly familiar with his music (I've heard a couple of the famous Floyd albums), but I've never heard of him referred to as that great a lyricist before. And Cohen outside the top 10? The man is a published poet. I'm not sure why people like Townshend, Simon, Morrison and Davies are ahead of him apart from their music being more popular, which really shouldn't matter on a list referring to lyrics. Cohen is a superior storyteller to any of them as well as being more witty.

In fact I'm not sure Jim Morrison should be anywhere near that high either. He seems to have a split reputation from what I've seen, many regard his lyrics as being rather juvenile and ridiculous. I think I saw him in a list of 10 worst lyricists in rock before.

And I can't say I agree with Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury, or Matt Bellamy being on here. I've never thought any of them had reputations of being great lyricists. Maybe it's just me, but I find singing they often try to sound mystical by putting some words pertaining to fantasy novels or space or something grand in them without actually saying anything and it just often comes across as poorly written and well, rather cheesy.

They're probably just me though, but Jeff Buckley however, I really don't think belongs on here at all. He released one album, with several covers on it and the songs he did write were pretty simple lyrically: "Lover, You Should Have Come Over" "Last Goodbye" A couple of songs like that make him one of the top 100 lyricists? I don't think he should be on there at all.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Tue Oct 12, 2010 9:48 pm 
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I agree that Cohen should be top ten, and probably even top 5. Not only is the man a "published poet", but he is the Poet Laureate of Canada.

Personally, I think he should be in the top 3. I love Pink Floyd, but I can't make a strong case for Roger Waters above Leonard Cohen.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:55 am 
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I would have Cohen rounding off the top 3 after Dylan and Young too, though I'm not overly familiar with Waters' work, but to have Cohen outside the top 10 definitely seems wrong to me.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:31 pm 
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Waters can't be out of the top five. That's a fact.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:20 pm 
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Yeah, Roger's great. A musical genius.

Just listen to The Wall, Dark Side of the Moon, and Wish You Were Here. Classic albums overflowing with excellent lyrics. The melodies to the songs are probably better than the Cohen songs; however, I still believe Cohen a notch higher as a lyricist.

Pink Floyd is one of my favorite bands and I do prefer their music to Cohen's. I've got all of their albums, including the ones with Syd Barrett. And I agree that Mr. Waters should be top 5.


Last edited by Val Salva on Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:32 pm 
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A small sample of Cohen:


Last Year's Man http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/l/leon ... s_man.html

Suzanne http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/ ... F0002649BC

So Long, Marianne http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/ ... F00025E2BA

Famous Blue Raincoat http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/ ... F00026C76A

Hallelujah http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leonardc ... lujah.html


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:37 am 
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I've always loved the lyrics in "Field Commander Cohen." I can't think of any other artist who is so great at taking the mick out of himself as Cohen. :lol:

Also a mention to the last 2 songs on Songs of Leonard Cohen.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:01 pm 
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I would say Cohen tops Davies, and probably Morrison, but not Simon or Waters.

We are talking rock n' roll lyrics here, and I would say that although Cohen would top them on a simple lyricist list, this is "100 greatest lyricists of rock n' roll." Same reason Blackmore tops Iommi on the Greatest Rock Guitarists list, but Iommi tops Blackmore on the Greatest Metal Guitarists.

And I say Knopfler, Ian Curtis, Hendrix, Michael Stipe, Bob Seger and Don McLean go up.

Knopfler - Telegraph Road, Tunnel of Love, Romeo and Juliet, Brothers in Arms.

Curtis - LWTUA, Disorder, New Dawn Fades, Transmission

Hendrix - Castles Made of Sand, Bold as Love, Spanish Castle Magic, The Wind Cries Mary (I personally find him very underrated as a songwriter)

Stipe - Everybody Hurts, Fall On Me, The End Of The World, Losing My Religion

Seger - Turn The Page, Against The Wind, Roll Me Away, Mainstreet, Still The Same

McLean - American Pie (of course), The Grave, a few others that I can't think of off the top of my head

I agree with Avery that Jeff Buckley needs to go down, but I wouldn't bump him off entirely. And as for Plant, Mercury, and Bellamy, I feel Peart was kinda guilty of that too...but Peart is still a great lyricist. I wouldn't say Bellamy, but there should be a place for Plant and Mercury.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:12 pm 
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yeah Hendrix needs a BIG leap forward. Like seriously.

And I agree with Avery on some of his points, I don't think Buckley should be on the top 100 and Cohen should definitely be ahead of Jim Morrison (who isn't even top 20 imo).

I think although they have cheesy lyrics Plant, Mercury have more than enough credentials to be on the list


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:40 pm 
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Absolutely. If nothing, Mercury should at least be ahead of Steve Harris - though I love Maiden, I never quite forgave him for the lyrics to "Alexander the Great"...

And Plant's latter-day Zeppelin stuff is pretty killer IMO.

And I honestly don't believe Buckley should go - he could hit the 90s if nothing else. I can't see Stevie Nicks or Dave Mustaine, for instance, beating him.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:26 am 
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Cohen in pure talent is #2 all time IMO (you can all guess who #1 is)

But a 'greatest' list has to take more than that into account. If we take influence and innovation into account which we should do IMO Lennon jumps up to #2 which seems right. Young and Waters are most likely top 5. Cohen had considerable influence...why is he behind Browne, Morrison, Davies and Costello?

Wit - Cohen among the best ever, I haven't heard anyone better
Originality - Unclear what this means (?)
Emotion - Cohen does VERY WELL here, among the best ever IMO
Storytelling - Dunno
Social consciousness - Dunno
Lasting popularity - Good

IMO the criteria needs to be tweaked...where's imagery? Where's influence? Some of the old criteria just vanished. There needs to be a category for 'lyrical depth' or 'lyrical sophistication' or something too IMO


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:32 am 
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Is this list actually still active btw? I don't know who Eric is but it hasn't been updated in over 5 years. I'll happily take over it and we can re-do it, if Eric doesn't mind, or if he's long stopped posting.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:02 am 
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I think he just came back after five years (?) of not posting.. On the old site all of his lists were pretty much inactive.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Greatest Lyricists Of Rock 'n' Roll
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 6:29 pm 
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Trying to get something started - here's my Top 10, see what you guys think. (This is counting influence and innovation)

1. Dylan
2. Young
3. Lennon
4. Waters
5. Springsteen
6. Simon
7. Cohen
8. Townshend
9. Browne
10. Costello

Thoughts? Open to any suggestions...


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