Ok, who writes the best lyrics? My vote is Tom Waits. A lyrical genius. One of my musical heroes.
Many other come to mind, I know there are many genres, but I request only your favorite. IOW: one artist per reply, if you would.
Who is your own personal, quintessential lyricist?
Elvis. No, not the (un)dead one…Costello.
You may be right, Robot Arm…Tom Lehrer may be better than Elvis Costello…
Costello is a great choice. I have a shitload of his stuff.
What about Lehrer? You guys have a site where I can find some prior to purchase? FTP preferred. No Napster!
I wasn’t trying to change anybody’s mind. I think Lehrer stands out because the style that he did so well, no one else even attempts. But there’s more to life and art than brilliant wit. I’m going to keep thinking about this and see if I can come up with someone who’s eloquence is the equal of Tom Lehrer’s cleverness.
Without a doubt, Paul Simon.
I’ve heard Bob Dylan is good, but I could never get past his nasally voice to listen.
If I had to go with just one, it would be Dylan.
When I wasn’t being chased by wooly mammoths and sabre tooth tigers, I felt that Pete Sinfield’s (King Crimson) lyrics were pure poetry, or at least literature (or maybe it was just the drugs).
I can’t believe I got here before Coldfire.
Neil Peart still stands as the best lyricist.
Ronnie Van Zant
but Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin blow all these others away
(though Dylan comes close)
They are ALL amateurs compared to Stephen Sondheim.
The man has elevated lyric-writing to a level others have yet to even approach.
if we want to get into older stuff then
and yeah Ira Gershwin,Cole Porter - good call
Bruce Springsteen (and if you disagree with me on this, listen to “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” off the “Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ” album–just fantastic.)
Billie Holiday (I don’t know if she wrote a lot of her songs, but “Strange Fruit” is one of the best songs ever written, not question)
You forgot Johnny Mercer…That old black magic has me in its spell…
Come on people, the best is obviousy Lennon-McCartney.
Followed closely by Paul Simon
And a close third is Sting
Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan, Dylan…
runners up (no particular order):