Saturday, March 11, 2006

The three most important songwriters of the rock age

Bob Dylan

Stevie Wonder

David Bowie

Sorry, Beatles and James Brown fans.


  1. As a Beatlemaniac, yeah, I'm hurt. But as long as the category is songwriter and not performer, then I guess we can keep Dylan on there (seriously, the dude's voice...).

    Never really thought of Soul Brother Number One as a songwriter; more of an Entertainment (and Sex) Machine.

    He's a legend, but I'm curious as to what your reasoning behind placing Bowie on the list is.

  2. somebody said it was a performance thing, but i heard recordings of dylan from early on in high school (in Scorcese's film) where he just did that warbling.

    the reasoning for not including the Beatles is easy - there's two primary songwriters that share just about every song. it's mathematical.

    a more appropriate choice probably would've been ray charles (though he's done his best, i think, in re-interpreting existing songs).

    but i like bowie and his great pop songs. he's done a million songs, and most of 'em near-perfect masterpieces spread over several different styles. but all 1) accessible and 2) enduring.

    although i guess i could make that same argument for peter gabriel.

  3. but here's my argument for bowie:
    1) ziggy stardust,
    2) heroes
    3) suffragate city
    4) young american
    5) let's dance
    6) changes
    7) rebel rebel
    8) golden years
    9) space oddity
    10) fame
    11) starman
    12) all the young dudes
    13) the man who sold the world

    and then there's the collaborations w/ lou reed (one radio hit, 'take a walk on the wild side'), iggy pop (also one radio hit that he scored with bowie after also leaving his seminal punk band. that being 'lust for life') and queen (who had tons of hits, but only one soundtrack for vanilla ice. all the same, 'under pressure' is one of the most perfect pop songs ever to grace the radio.)


Be kind. Rewind.