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John Simkin

Greatest Songwriters

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Some great candidates for this title. Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, Bob Dylan, John Lennon & Paul McCartney and Stephen Sondheim.

However, my vote goes to George and Ira Gershwin. I say that because I think they were the first to transcended the limits of the popular song: I Got Rhythm (1924), The Man I Love (1924), Someone to Watch Over Me (1926), Embraceable You (1927), Funny Face (1927), Wonderful (1930), Summertime (1935), Bess, You Is My Woman Now (1935), It Ain’t Necessarily So (1935), I Loves You Porgy (1935), Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (1937), They All Laughed (1937), and They Can’t Take That Away From Me (1937).

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I think we need three categories. One for greatest lyrics, one for greatest score and one for the people who write both. It is interesting that most of the people you list were in fact partnerships.

My nominations would include:Simon & Garfunkel, The Bee Gees, Phil Collins, Mark Knoffler and Pink Floyd. Just to be different!

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We definitely need a category for greatest writers of most hilarious bits of lyrics. My votes go to the following:

Warren Zevon for Werewolves of London and sheer audaciousness!

"I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand

Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain

He was looking for a place called Lee Ho Fook's

Going to get himself a big dish of beef chow mein

Ah-oo, Werewolves of London"

John Prine for Speed of the Sound of Loneliness and coming home curly!

"You come home late and you come home early

You come on big when you're feeling small

You come home straight and you come home curly

Sometimes you don't come home at all"

Kirsty MacColl for managing to get chip shops and Elvis into the same line

"There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis

Just like you swore to me that you'd be true

There's a guy works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis

But he's a xxxx and I'm not sure about you"

Now that is true greatness!

E-Julie

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Guest Andrew Moore

Dylan, certainly, and Lennon and McCartney. But for lyrics, I think Leonard Cohen is especially excellent - The Sisters of Mercy is as good as anything gets. Mick Jagger is pretty damn good, too. Joni Mitchell?

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Ah, the splendid Leonard Cohen, though I'd nominate Bird On A Wire myself. Hmm, now I'm thinking of a category, into which LC clearly belongs, of songwriters you can only listen to while lying on the floor with a bottle of Jack Daniels...

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greatest song MACARTHUR PARK by JIMMY WEBB

songwriter of all time BOB DYLAN

interpreter of own material JIM MORRISON

blues JIMMY REED

20th Century JOHNNY MERCER

Piano songs NAT KING COLE

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I would like to add Hoyt Axton to the list of the great ones as well as nominating Beetoven's 9th symphony as the greatest single piece of music ever written. :clapping

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Ah, the splendid Leonard Cohen, though I'd nominate Bird On A Wire myself.  Hmm, now I'm thinking of a category, into which LC clearly belongs, of songwriters you can only listen to while lying on the floor with a bottle of Jack Daniels...

He seems to have cheered up a bit in his old age :lol:

Leonard Cohen has been ruining my life since adolescence. Though I did find his advice in the lyrics below invaluable :clapping

"I was born in a beauty salon

My father was a dresser of hair

My mother was a girl you could call on

When you called she was always there

When you called she was always there

When you called she was always there

When you called she was always there

When you called she was always there

Ah but don't go home with your hard-on

It will only drive you insane

You can't shake it (or break it) with your Motown

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

I've looked behind all of the faces

That smile you down to you knees

And the lips that say, Come on, taste us

And when you try to they make you say Please

When you try to they make you say Please

When you try to they make you say Please

When you try to they make you say Please

When you try to they make you say Please

Ah but don't go home with your hard-on ...

Here come's your bride with her veil on

Approach her, you wretch, if you dare

Approach her, you ape with your tail on

Once you have her she'll always be there

Once you have her she'll always be there

Once you have her she'll always be there

Once you have her she'll always be there

Once you have her she'll always be there

Ah but don't go home with your hard-on ...

So I work in that same beauty salon

I'm chained to the old masquerade

The lipstick, the shadow, the silicone

I follow my father's trade

I follow my father's trade

Yes I follow my father's trade

Yes I follow my father's trade

Yes I follow my father's trade

Ah but don't go home with your hard-on

It will only drive you insane

You can't shake it (or break it) with your Motown

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain

You can't melt it down in the rain"

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I would like to add Hoyt Axton to the list of the great ones

Well, at least you're getting down to the nitty gritty, John. I'd think that with all the country-lovin' Brits on this wire, somebody would have come up with my nominee -- at least in the Dylan class -- and that would be Rhodes Scholar Kris Kristofferson. I could start a list of his great stuff, but that would use up the bandwidth.

I'd also nominate Gary P. Nunn, who wrote, in "London Homesick Blues" that he could "substantiate the rumor/ that the English sense of humor/ is drier than the Texas sand", but I'd probably be run off this forum in a flash.

Happy holidays to all,

Bob Cox (next door to Texis in the New Mexico sand...)

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I have so many - Definitely John Lennon and Paul McCartney, I think one of the best creative partnerships in History!

Bobby Darin - amazing artist and songwriter (go see Beyond the Sea its the best!)

All the Tin Pan Alley writers such as Neil Sedaka and Carole King - they created music so distinctive to that period of music history.

David Bowie - songs like heroes and Life on Mars - Amazing!

There are just a few because there are so many!

Caroline Hall

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My choice in English:

Leonard Cohen

Bob Dylan

Johnny Cash

in French:

Jacques Brel

Leo Ferré

Georges Brassens

in Portuguese:

Chico Buarque de Hollanda

Gilberto Gil

Caetano Veloso

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