It helps all great pop and rock acts to have a unique sound and a memorable image, but ultimately it’s the quality of their songs that rewards them with longevity. Here we pay tribute to those who have flipped music’s script, and countdown the 20 best songwriters of all time.
Listen to our Rock Classics playlist here, and check out our 20 best songwriters, below.
20 : Chrissie Hynde
Chrissie Hynde might be dismissive of her inclusion among the world’s very best songwriters. She’s a team player through and through and rates the idea of being in a band above an individual’s input. Yet while Hynde has skilfully chosen collaborators from James Honeyman-Scott through to Pretenders’ latter-day lead guitarist, James Walbourne, it’s her talents as a songsmith which have ensured her band has thrived for over four decades.
Hynde first launched Pretenders in the aftermath of punk, and that music’s aggression and attitude has often seeped into the group’s harder-edged songs, not least the likes of Precious, The Adultress and Middle Of The Road. However, early classics such as Lovers Of Today and the county-tinged Kid showed that the best Pretenders songs had far more to offer than sass and sarcasm. Indeed, it’s this singular ability to balance the tough with the tender which has led Hynde to writing career-defining hits such as 2000 Miles, Brass In Pocket and I’ll Stand By You, securing her place in this august company.
Must hear: I’ll Stand By You