", No hip-hop artist has reached the Billboard Top Ten more times than Jay Z, and none has done more to shape both the culture and music around him. "They wanted surf music, surf music, surf music," he said in 2011. That’s writing.” Lesson learned. The team fell apart once Hayes became a hot buttered soul star in his own right, but they were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame together in 2005, three years before Hayes' death. As you know, a lot of the stuff that was once considered rubbish or 'for kids' is now considered classic.". Why He’s Dope: Seemingly coming out of thin air, Bruno Mars has been playing on the airwaves long before his rise to solo stardom, penning songs for Alexandra Burke, Brandy and Adam Lovine. And he never stopped, recording "The Wanderer" with U2 in 1993, and a series of albums with Rick Rubin in his final years as he battled the effects of Shy-Dragger Syndrome. Unique among their peers, they never stopped, writing Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram's 1986 hit "Somewhere Out There" and Hanson's 1997 Top 10 single "I Will Come to You." "[Songwriting] is hell on Earth," Jimmy Webb wrote in his book, Tunesmith. Besides their own hits (including a string of six consecutive Number Ones), the brothers wrote the title song for Grease, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream," Barbra Streisand's "Guilty," and Destiny's Child's "Emotion." The Best of Steve Earle (2000-2009): “I Can Wait,” “Jerusalem,” “Transcendental Blues,” “Over Yonder (Jonathan’s Song),” “City of Immigrants,” “Days Aren’t Long Enough,” “The Galway Girl,” “Down Here Below,” “Oxycontin Blues,” “I Don’t Want To Lose You Yet” ", Jerome Felder was a Jewish kid from Brooklyn who'd been on crutches since he'd contracted polio at age six. "I don't like to make things too obvious, because it gets stale," Cobain said. Best Known For: “I Decided,” Beyoncé’s “Get Me Bodied,” “Upgrade U,” “Why Don’t You Love Me” No one except Dylan has embraced the endless highway with more artistic success — as explained by Nelson in "On the Road Again," a Top 20 Grammy-winning hit in 1980 — and his studio career is just as endless, ranging from Texas swing to reggae to standards with strings. Best Known For: Pussycat Dolls’ “Beep,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Walk Away,” Gwen Stefani’s “Rich Girl” Jermaine Dupri "I've tried to sound ironic. After a failed attempt to make it in Nashville as a country artist, Holly returned to his native Lubbock, Texas, where he and his band the Crickets drove to producer Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, to cut a version of "That'll Day Be the Day" (a song Decca Records had rejected), that became a Number One single. Or softer, depending on how you look at it." "Say I saw a word like 'transcendalistic tendencies.' Taylor Swift reached that peak before she turned 21. The result is the massive gallery of great songwriters that follows - let’s dive in. But he gave up his performing career in the late Fifties and formed a songwriting partnership with Mort Shuman. But her restless brilliance couldn't be confined to one moment or movement. Beyoncé Knowles "You know, you can chrome a turd, but it's not going to do any good. As the band's charismatic frontman, Bono may soak up a lot of the credit, but he's the first to admit how important the Edge is to their songwriting. Lady Gaga Elle Varner He found his voice as a composer in the Seventies when Four Tops member Obie Benson brought him a song idea that would later blossom into "What's Going On." Any star asking for a Missy song is guaranteed to end up with a hit on their roster. They proceeded to do just that: Whether composing together ("Desperado," "One of These Nights," "Tequila Sunrise," "Lyin' Eyes") or with other band members ("Hotel California," "Life in the Fast Lane," "New Kid in Town"), Henley and Frey knew that songs — and fastidiously produced recordings of them— would be the key to their success far more so than their harmonies or lack of flashy showmanship. His songwriting, like his guitar playing, was at once vivid and phantasmagorical —psychedelic some 30 years before the Acid Tests — and helped set a course for Bob Dylan (who can be seen holding King of the Delta Blues on the cover of Bringing It All Back Home), the Rolling Stones (who covered "Love in Vain" and "Stop Breaking Down) and Eric Clapton (who covered "Ramblin' on My Mind" and "Cross Road Blues" and then chased Johnson's hell hounds for decades). While her own hits, like “Work It” and “Lose Control” reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 in the early to mid 2000s, she’s also written hit songs for Beyonce (“Signs”), Ciara (“One Two Step”) and Aaliyah (“One in a Million”). ", "The words just came tumbling out of me," Petty said of "American Girl," his greatest song and first hit single. "We see ourselves first and foremost as composers, writing for ourselves and other people," Robin Gibb said. "Had it all in his head; harmony and everything. Bono brings the grand vision and uncanny ear for heroic hooks, and the Edge brings his sonic mastery and an eagerness to push boundaries. It's hard to imagine anyone but Whitney Houston giving shape to "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," anyone but Mary J. Blige taking a stand with "Not Gon' Cry," anyone but Toni Braxton lending the necessary sultry edge to the many songs he's written for her over the past quarter-century. And I could write a song about it. "Here's the person you're in love with, and you're being creative together, and things are going well — it's the highest high you can imagine. After the split, Barry continued to write songs for acts including the Archies and Olivia Newton–John; Greenwich developed Leader of the Pack, a musical about her career. But her most famous song is still "Landslide," her acoustic lament for children growing older, written before she'd even turned 30. Why She’s Dope: The R&B crooner has taken pages out of her diary to write about the roller-coasting feelings of love, infidelity, heartbreak and sacrifice that are found in her songs "Foolish," "Rain On Me" and "The Way That I Love You.". He had one foot off the ground and he'd be writing in his notebooks. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. A collegiate creative writing student who played covers in bar bands and briefly held a job writing pop song knockoffs in the Brill Building era, Reed drew inspiration both from literature (Sacher-Masoch's Venus in Furs, William Burroughs' Naked Lunch) and his own life — for example, the fellow Warhol collaborators that informed quintessential Reed character studies like "Candy Says" and "Walk on the Wild Side." Motown was so overstaffed with great in-house songwriters that Gaye spent much of the Sixties singing other people's songs. Read our countdown of passionate pop, electrifying rock and anthemic rap – and see if you agree ", With 3,000 songs to her name — including more than 20 Number One country singles —Dolly Parton has enjoyed one of country's most impressive songwriting careers. I let my subconscious do the editing for me." ", Taylor was one of the most successful and influential artists to emerge from the "singer-songwriter" scene of the early Seventies. His ballads fly higher than anyone else's, his sex jams started evocatively naughty (1993's "Bump N' Grind") and ended up evocatively surreal (2005's "Sex in the Kitchen" and, of course, the 30-part "Trapped in the Closet"). It includes singer-songwriters that can also be found in the parent category, or in diffusing subcategories of the parent. Both Beyoncé’s B’Day, I Am… Sasha Fierce, and Solange’s 2008 album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St Dreams, most of which she wrote, spawned three singles that became No. It took a husband and wife team — married for more than four decades and parted only by death — to write one of rock's most devastating tales of heartbreak: "Love Hurts." Over the decades, his music has incorporated Tin Pan Alley tunecraft, global textures, gentle acoustic reveries, gospel, R&B and electronic music, all without diluting his core appeal as an easeful chronicler of everyday alienation. . But the music was pure delight: melodies that let vocalists' power and move gracefully through them, neatly cross-stitched into an array of instrumental hooks and forceful dance rhythms. We'd work on music and lyrics together, inventing characters, adding musical and verbal jokes, polishing the arrangements and smoking Turkish cigarettes." ", Waits began as a throwback, a beatnik jazzbo singing the praises of old cars and barflies and looking for the heart of Saturday night. The scope of his music is almost unparalleled: Guthrie wrote children's songs and Hanukkah songs, songs supporting unions and World War II and the construction of several dams, songs that celebrated Jesus as an outlaw and criticized Charles Lindbergh as a Nazi sympathizer, even a song about a flying saucer. All three began their careers as singers, but when they started working together behind the scenes, they made magic. ", "Hag, you're the guy people think I am," said Johnny Cash to Merle Haggard, whose life and lyrics intertwined magnificently. During Motown's mid-Sixties golden age, Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier were the label's songwriting and production dream team. "Everything I ever wrote was a attempt to follow in the footsteps of the best country songwriters I knew," Kristofferson once said, citing writers like Hank Williams Jr. and Johnny Cash. For them, there's nothing crass, and everything earnest, about the art of the pop song. He wrote for Mario, Beyonce, Usher, Natasha Bedingfield, Pleasure P, Dirty Money and more, with some standout songs being Keri’s “Energy,” Bey’s “Sweet Dreams” and Diddy and Co.’s “Hello Good Morning” to name a few. Music member has had a heavy hand in the craftsmanship of each album’s lyrical content. "You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects creating a kind of story ingredients-list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix 'em up and reconnect them," he once said, describing a process that sometimes involves literally pulling phrases out of a hat. They first hit it big in the Seventies with "Your Song," a tune that Taupin now calls "one of the most naïve and childish lyrics in the entire repertoire of music." ", Nilsson was a pioneer of the Los Angeles studio sound, a crucial bridge between the baroque psychedelic pop of the late Sixties and the more personal singer-songwriter era of the Seventies. Best Known Songs: Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl,” Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been” Why She’s Dope: The same feisty attitude Solo has in real life transfers seamlessly into her music and those on the receiving end of her penmanship. Best Known For: “Pyramids,” "Thinking About You,” Beyoncé’s "I Miss You,” Why She’s Dope: A. Keys’ mix of R&B, soul and soft pop resonates in lyrical themes of self-worth and empowerment. "Back then, I just wanted to write songs I could be proud of and be able to play in five years," Billie Joe Armstrong said last year of his attitude while creating Green Day's 1994 pop-punk breakthrough Dookie. Rate your favorite albums to have your say in this list of the top user rated albums. "But things have been good for me for a long time. Mariah Carey’s Emancipation Of Mimi helped her make one of the biggest comebacks in music history. In "Redemption Song," released a year before cancer took his life in 1981, he gave us a protest anthem that still carries the universal power of a true global call to arms. He's telling you the truth and making fun of you at the same time. Lynn was also a self-taught guitarist, whose earliest songs were in keys seldom used by Nashville session pros. Thanks to his writerly skills, Kristofferson's hang-dog tales of screwups, hangovers, regret and redemption had the epochal feel of novellas, and without him, there would probably be no Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson or similar country hippies. He was one of rock's first inheritors, and certainly its greatest, because from the start he saw rock & roll as more than music. Whether immersing himself in social commentary ("Higher Ground," "Living for the City"), unabashed sentimentality ("You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "I Just Called to Say I Love You"), jubilant love ("Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours") or gritty disses ("You Haven't Done Nothin'"), Wonder has consistently tapped into the sum of human emotions and happenings. Swift's first three albums display her emotional yet uncommonly inventive country style — even early hits like "Our Song" and "Tim McGraw" sound like nobody else. Goffin, meanwhile, supplied the lyrics for a string of hits including Diana Ross's "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)," Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You," and Gladys Knight and the Pips' "I've Got to Use My Imagination." That decade also delivers some of the best, boldest, most striking, ambitious music of the genre, of all time. His best work was charged with literary irony but unfolded with the ease of spoken language, as when the mini-skirted heroine of "Harper Valley P.T.A." His signature song, "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant," is an epic seven-minute tale of suburban dreams biting the dust down at the Parkway Diner. Among Haggard's 38 Number One country hits, signature tunes like "Okie From Muskogee," "Mama Tried" and "Sing Me Back Home" mixed autobiography and attitude with a honky-tonk spirit in the tradition of Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams. 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