great lyricists

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by veloso2, Mar 20, 2010.

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  1. veloso2

    veloso2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    in france we are not really good in rock but we used to have great lyricists: leo ferré, brel, brassens gainsbourg, couture, lavilliers, etc.

    who do you think are the greatest lyricist for you (songs who say really something not only about love): dylan, costello, cohen, morrissey, weller, neil young, who else?
  2. john lennonist

    john lennonist There ONCE was a NOTE, PURE and EASY...

    Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and John Lennon.
  3. boycie

    boycie Active Member

    I'm trying to think of less obvious lyricists as the usual suspects have already been picked.I think Ben Folds is a pretty good lyric writer.Don Henley and Billy Joel's best can hold up to anybody too.
  4. aaronfirebrand

    aaronfirebrand Well-Known Member

    Tom Waits
    Townes Van Zandt
    Michael Peter Smith
    Joni Mitchell
    John Darnielle (Mountain Goats)
    Nathan Moore
    Tracy Chapman
  5. veloso2

    veloso2 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    andy partridge
    lastdamdown likes this.
  6. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Liverpool, England
    Sandy Denny.
    But Brel may be the best!
  7. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    bernie taupin

    joni mitchell

    david baerwald

    warren zevon

    lucinda williams
  8. rushyescrim

    rushyescrim Forum Resident

    Lutz, FL US
    Neil Peart
  9. Scott S.

    Scott S. Indie Music Curator

    Walmartville PA
    Jim Carroll
    Bernie Taupin
    Elvis Costello
    Neil Young
    Kurt Cobain
  10. Norm Apter

    Norm Apter Well-Known Member In Memoriam

    Worcester, MA
    Roger Waters
    Peter Murphy
  11. hello people

    hello people Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    Bob Dylan
  12. Just some of my personal favourites:

    Ray Davies
    Keith Reid
    Bernie Taupin
    Gretchen Peters
    Elvis Costello
    Joe Jackson
    Jacques Brel
    Randy Newman

    A great French lyricist you haven't mentioned yet: Pierre Delanoë
  13. TeddyB

    TeddyB Forum Resident

    Joe Strummer, Stephen Malkmus, Ray Davies, Ian Hunter, Dylan of course, Lou Reed, Pete Doherty for a minute, David Johansen, Leonard Cohen, Chuck Berry, Mick Jagger pre-82, John Lennon
  14. KevinP

    KevinP Forum introvert

    Wellington , NZ
    I think Billy Joel is underrated as a lyricist. His lyrics are impressively tight and never meander.
  15. dave-gtr

    dave-gtr Forum Resident

    Robyn Hitchcock (great stories), Bob Dylan (great observation), Pete Townshend (in my teen years, I knew he was writing about ME).
  16. whaaat

    whaaat Active Member

    Toronto, ON
    Paddy McAloon (Prefab Sprout)
  17. Todd W.

    Todd W. A Beautiful woman continued.........

    Michael Penn
  18. Galley

    Galley Forum Resident

    Jim Steinman
    Adam Duritz
  19. ccarty

    ccarty Senior Member

    Can't believe nobody has mentioned John Prine.
  20. whisper3978

    whisper3978 Forum Resident

    Cary, NC
    COMPLETELY agreed on Darnielle. Add to that Guy Garvey of Elbow, as far as great current lyricists go.
  21. Nostaljack

    Nostaljack Resident R&B enthusiast

    DC metro area
    With all due respect to the choices listed here, none of them even come close to Johnny Mercer. He is, without question, one of the best lyricists ever to pick up a pen.

    To find the greatest lyrics, you can't just look at Rock (which is what almost everyone thus far has done). One also has to investigate the Great American Songbook. Those songs have lasted because of how lyrically fantastic they are.

  22. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

    Agreed. There's a good review of two recent books about Mercer in the current NY Review of Books.

    I guess we just have to take into account the fact that Mercer, Sondheim, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and many others come from a previous generation and simply won't get the mentions they deserve here.

    Even so, I would include many of those mentioned already as their equals even though the article in NY Review mentions that Mercer hated Rock and Roll. Of the current generation, my favorites include but aren't limited to:

    Robert Hunter
    Joni Mitchell
    Neil Young
    Donald Fagen
  23. Mr Sam

    Mr Sam "...don't look so good no more"

    in this thread only. Pre-rock lyric writing has been discussed many times before

    once again,
    Lorenz Hart is the best pre-rock lyric writer
    Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Mercer and, on rare occasions, Oscar Hammerstein did wonders too

    Dylan, Cohen, Becker & Fagen, Springsteen, Morrissey and Neil Young get my vote for the Rock age.

    back to the OP: as far as France is concerned,
    Claude Nougaro is the King, followed closely by Léo Ferré, Brassens, Manset, Gainsbourg, Boby Lapointe, Jean Fauque, and, last but not least Jacques Prévert.

    he's a composer
  24. sixelsix

    sixelsix Forum Resident

    memphis, tn, usa
    Scott Miller (Game Theory/Loud Family) is an AMAZING lyricist.
  25. Skip Reynolds

    Skip Reynolds Legend In His Own Mind

    Moscow, Idaho
    Dan Hicks.

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