Leave it to the kids at Paste Magazine to come up with a great List idea that will get you excited and/or irritated. I love all the lists that magazines and online music sites come up with. From Rolling Stone, to Blender, to this very blog, we all do ‘best of” lists. Best 100 albums of all time, Top 50 artists, Top Ten albums of the year and so on. Most of them are frustrating in what they include and don’t include, and the facts upon which the lists are based are almost always just the writers or editors whim.
Paste is doing a 100 Best Living Songwriters list via an online poll in which you can vote. They ask you to pick your top 20 favorite “living” songwriters from a list that they provide but fortunately you’re not just limited to their choices because they offer you a chance at the end to write in your picks. Which brings me to the point of this post…not only did they forget some of the greatest living songwriters; they neglected to list my top two! But hey, that’s what makes these lists fun. I need your help! Go on there and vote, but please write-in at least two of the greatest living songwriters that they forgot: Terry Scott Taylor (Lost Dogs, Daniel Amos, etc.) and Jeff Lynne (ELO, The Move). I’m sure they would say that Terry is too obscure so they didn’t include him, but he’s no more obscure than William Cullen Hart or Rennie Sparks, which are included. There is absolutely no excuse for Jeff Lynne not being there. If ELO’s Mr. Blue Sky had been the only song he’d ever written it would have been more of a songwriting achievement than half of those listed have ever managed, but of course he’s written dozens of songs that are considered brilliant by millions. I was really surprised by all of the great songwriters they left off their list of choices and how many average to poor songwriters they included, of course it’s all subjective. Check out my list below, then click on the link at the end of this post and check out the Paste list and vote for you favorites. It’s amazing how many in my top 20 are not on their list of choices.
Here’s my current Top 20 Greatest Living Songwriters list:
- Terry Scott Taylor (DA, Lost Dogs, Swirling Eddies)
- Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra)
- Paul McCartney
- Brian Wilson
- Chris Collingwood & Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne)
- Bruce Cockburn
- Daniel Johns & Paul Mac (Dissociatives)
- Michael Been (The Call)
- Roger Waters
- Sufjan Stevens
- Jon Anderson (Yes)
- Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish)
- Andy Partridge (XTC)
- Tim & Neil Finn
- Matt Mahaffey (Self)
- Mike Doughty
- John Flansburgh & John Linnell (They Might Be Giants)
- Ben Eshbach (Sugarplastic)
- John Davis
- Aaron Sprinkle (Fair)
Now click the icon below to go to the Paste Magazine site to vote on your top 20 (and once you’re done you can also post them here if you want by clicking the comments at the end of this post)!