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Favorite Songwriter Thread


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OK, I suggested something like this, so I'll kick it off.


A favorite songwriter is often as hard to nail as a favorite song. But, I'll list one. And why. after all, that's the guideline...


Joni Mitchell has been one of my favorite songwriters for many years for many reasons. First, it's her use of alternate guitar tunings, which give her songs that unique flavor. I've picked up many of her tunes in standard tuning, and they often lose the impact. Her innate sense of chord structure and construction give a flow to her music that entices the ear. And unlike many of the other songwriters of her time and genre, who wrote songs that fingered all the world's problems and provided what they felt were the answers, Joni's songs most often contained more questions. A continual search for answers to questions that plague most of us.


Connect them to a most unusual and unique vocal style, and it's a hard combination to beat.



I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I think Lennon and McCartny were greater than the sum of thier parts.


As far as individual songwriters ... I have two that move me more than others.


Paul Simon is amazing and just keeps getting better.


Carole King has an amazing sense of melody and structure. She was THE hit writer in the '70s.

I really don't know what to put here.
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I have mentioned this before but I got turned onto Bruce Cockburn in the eighties and he was always in the top five for me. A couple years ago I heard him live in Bend, just him and acoustic guitar, he instantly became my favorite singer/songwriter, a true artist IMHO.


His voice matches his style perfectly and he writes about what he wants to with no apologies, everything from religious to political to it's just a nice day.


His lyrics have depth which I am particularly drawn to, especially when he writes about topics that are important to me and causes me to think of it in a different way.


Even though he's a great guitarest (again IMO), he isn't overbearing and uses his playing to complement his singing. His focus seems to be the lyrics and melody which is my focus as well.


Just one more thing, he's willing to be adventerous in his writing and style as well. Even though I haven't liked all the poetry or spoken word tracks on the last few CDs, he's done them well and I give him credit for being brave enough to put out something that isn't so mainstream, it gives me courage to try new things as well.

Me and my two dogs, Remington and Winchester
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My favourite songwriter is Tom Waits. His early music (the 70's) IMHO is superb. When you listen to that, you really wander off into his world. My current favourite album is "The Heart of Saturday Night", it's full of great songs. He keeps the music pretty simple, and it really gives life to the songs.

- Bob Freebird


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  • 4 weeks later...
I second the Lennon and McCartney mention. And what really blows my mind is that they wrote most of their great songs while they were both in their 20's. I was still learning how to sing in my 20s. These guys could do it all at sucha young age, and have influencede so many singer/sonwriters that's it's impossible to measure.
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I've been mulling this one over for a while.

I simply cant pick one.

Too much great stuff and too much diversity out there to make that possible.

Also, how can you weigh one really really really great song versus a longer list or great songs?

How do you weigh lyrics, melody and arrangement skills in various styles? Damned if I know.


However, in addition to several folks already mentioned and that I'd agree with, my short list would also include but not be limited to:


E. Costello

B. Joel

Lamont Dozier - MOTOWN baby

Check out some tunes here:


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I'm a big fan of Hoagie Carmichael. Billie Holiday wrote a few good tunes. For instrumentals and blues ballads you could't beat Duke Ellington and Co. Dubin and Warren wrote some bitchen songs. Rogers and Hart, of course. Hank Williams was a giant. Chuck Berry is credited with some real classics. Tim Hardin. I liked pre-motorcycle-wreck Dylan. Leonard Cohen. Joni Mitchell. Nick Drake was pretty special. Neil Young. I think Robyn Hitchcock has definitely had some real moments. Elvis Costello, of course. The very young Andy Pratt. Howard Devoto was often brilliant. But creepy. Pete Shelley. Steve Diggle. Andy Partidge and Colin Moulding. Adrian Utley, Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons had some good songs and a great sound.
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Originally posted by Rik:

Neil Peart has been my favorite for years and years and years.

"grace under pressure" and "power windows" have some great stuff on them.
Me and my two dogs, Remington and Winchester
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