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Who is the greatest songwriter?

  • Bob Dylan

    Votes: 7 26.9%
  • Townes Van Zandt

    Votes: 2 7.7%
  • Leonard Cohen

    Votes: 2 7.7%
  • Other(please specify)

    Votes: 15 57.7%
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resident classicist
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It's really really hard to say.

In a battle of lyrics, Bob Dylan has a slight edge over Leonard Cohen. But I think that Cohen was better at arranging songs to fit the lyrics. It's hard to choose between them.

I'm gonna give up on choosing between them and say David Bowie, years 1971-1980.

Edit: Changed my mind, Smiths-era Morrissey and Marr are my new choice. More consistent than Bowie.
 

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Dylan without a doubt, Cohens good but there is just something about Dylan. Bowie and the smiths... meh I love the music but to me the lyrics sound ridiculous and pretentious. Like lou reed and the velvet underground, lots of brilliant stuff but it crosses into the saccharine.

This is a hard topic I can think of so many people too choose from and they all have their faults and pluses. Maybe Bob Marely or Tom Waits?
 

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Of those listed, I voted Dylan since he's my favourite and is probably the most 'important' from an objective standpoint. Though I don't know much about Townes Van Zandt...

If John Lennon and Paul McCartney count as one 'songwriter', then they might give Zimmerman a run for his money because of their great melodies and innovative way of harmonies and putting songs together. Individually they're not on that level though. Of course, it's well known that in their Beatles days they often wrote more or less separately, but just by being in the same band they had a kind of synergy they lacked after breaking up.
 

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Songwriting as in lyrics + music.... ummmmm, too hard to pick an all-time favorite. But among current stuff (excluding musicians who are dead or past their prime), my favorite would be Stephin Merritt. Since we're only counting songwriting, his awful live performances (zzzz) don't count.
 

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But among current stuff (excluding musicians who are dead or past their prime), my favorite would be Stephin Merritt.
I'm not familiar with a lot of his more recent stuff, but on the basis of the pre-69 Love Songs Magnetic Fields albums--The Charm of the Highway Strip especially--I'd have to agree with you.
 

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I can't really say who is the greatest songwriter but Linda Perry is one of my favorites.
 
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