Wednesday Question: Best Non-Rock/Metal Songwriter

Let's step away from the guitar-heavy domain for a sec, OK?

Wednesday Question: Best Non-Rock/Metal Songwriter
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Following a series of rock and metal-related discussions, we decided to take a little break from the heavy stuff and focus on the distortion-lacking domain.

Specifically, we'd like to talk exquisite songwriters not belonging to the mentioned niche. To make it official, this week's Wednesday Question is:

Who is the best non-rock/metal songwriter?

A slight element of rock can still be present, but the songwriter must not be considered a rocker. There's quality music outside of the rock realm, so there's still plenty to choose from here.

Same rules as always apply - only one suggestion per comment, vote up the ideas you support and vote down the ones you dislike. We'll sum up your votes by Friday and bring you another traditional UG Top 10. Time to show what you got, UG!

540 comments sorted by best / new / date

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    jovan.ignatich.
    Best non guitar songwriter?? Probably Johann Sebastian Bach
    Izzy-Sweet
    I see your Johann Sebastian Bach and raise you Ludwig van Beethoven!
    RedLabelRecords
    I'm more of a Tchaikovsky guy myself.
    michaelaurand
    I like his early stuff a lot better, honestly...before he sold out.
    Izzy-Sweet
    It was all good until he wrote Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, by then it was obvious he was totally cashing in on the popular Baroque demographic.
    Cryptikal
    He's a composer though, not a songwriter.
    Tkwndbobo
    Yeah? What does he compose? An essay, no he composes ****ing songs. Instrumentals are songs too, don't discriminate
    Kueller917
    No they're not. Songs by definitions are pieces of music with lyrics to be sung, so instrumentals are not songs.
    Izzy-Sweet
    Technically you are correct, but still, it's a petty argument either way.
    Kueller917
    Petty indeed I usually don't care. But the argument was about contrasting composing and songwriting so I don't know why I got antagonized for clarification. If we are just generalizing "songs" to mean all music, I'm voting for Stockhausen.
    mpk3432
    even then, he still wrote loads of operas, cantatas and such, which are all pieces to be sung, so he still qualifies
    Cryptikal
    If the question was posed for best composer I doubt you would have seen folks nominating Dave Mustaine or Bruce Springsteen.
    henrihell
    Going classic I'd say Jean Sibelius. Maybe not as well-known as the real big names, but his work is stunning!
    pbiggie
    Stevie Wonder! Brilliant arrangements, and brilliant vocals and lyrics.
    maidenbridge666
    I'm shocked I had to scroll this far to find this. Was the first person that popped into my head :/
    l0ld4v3
    Yeah, took too ****ing long for Stevie to get mentioned. Maybe UG readers are not into funk or soul music. For shame
    shadow_murph
    YES! I was gonna say this, surprised it took so long! This man is a genius! I've seen him live a few years back just after mickael jackson passed, he did a tribute for him, he has such a way with words! I love this guy!
    kasrafallen
    Lovely Louis Armstrong
    N-D
    So, talking about jazz - my call is again goes for: Miles Davis
    Machineflame
    I may be wrong, but I don't really consider Miles Davis work's strength to be the songwriting. It's all about the energy, the execution and the contact between the musicians to me.
    DecLepard
    Those guys from ABBA
    liiiam
    YES! I went to an all boys school, and in the gym ABBA's greatest hits was the only cd we had. There's not much funnier than seeing a load of guys trying to be manly and lift heavy weights set to dancing queen
    WholeLottaIzzy
    Tom Waits.
    GeriatricNinja
    Frank Zappa - his jazz & classical compositions are often overlooked due to his off beat sense of humour, but are great works imo
    HitmanJenkins
    Yes! I recall reading somewhere that the only reason Zappa started writing Rock tunes was because no one wanted to play his Classical compositions.
    TomasVerdejo
    I was thinking about this guy, if not, it is time for UG to ask for the best soundtrack compser
    Yabba Who
    Weird Al Yankovic. Seriously. Listen to his originals. And most of the time his parodies are better written and produced than the original songs.
    dacman
    ELTON JOHN
    macgregger
    Bernie Taupin wrote most of his songs...
    The_Wilrus
    Taupin was the lyric guy Elton did the majority of the music including composition for the band.
    The_Wilrus
    Taupin was the lyric guy Elton did the majority of the music including composition for the band.
    Krieger91
    Eminem
    jonathan.keeler
    Imogen heap
    rip3149
    Michael Jackson
    p_a_morgan
    John Mayer, easily.
    dewitt
    Han Williams
    GodzillaRAWRRR
    Fuck Eminem, overrated douchebag who's a dick just for the sake of controversy and he copies other people's music and talks fast over it.
    l0ld4v3
    Slim produced most of his shit, and writes his own (and a bunch of Dre's 2001) lyrics. You may not like him, but he does way more than just "copy" other cats.
    pjn7000
    Speaking of rappers(and I may get some heat)... Notorious BIG
    kashmar88
    If we're talking rap, Atmosphere and Childish Gambino. Because the Internet alone is incredible if you understand it's purpose.
    shlepy
    Producers in the hip hop game as in the ones who write the beats I would say Madlib, MF DOOM, or J Dilla, even if my comment doesn't cont these right here are hip hop's finest, I can go on with hip hop producers and djs
    Izzy-Sweet
    Robert Smith from The Cure.
    Izzy-Sweet
    Huh... kinda disappointed that no one likes this... Ah well, it is a reader's poll, I suppose.
    seance
    I agree, but The Cure is probably considered an alternative rock/goth rock/post-punk band to most (all subgenres of rock). Of course they have so much variety, but they are probably considered a "rock" band, technically speaking.
    Izzy-Sweet
    This is true, but the article does allow for artists that have elements of rock. I think they're just asking for music that isn't entirely hard rock/heavy metal. I'll leave that for everyone else to decide, that's just my own interpretation on the issue.
    third(-)eye
    I think The Cure are a little too closely aligned with the rock genre to be nominated for this.
    metallideth88
    This is an interesting question. How about Circa 1970 - 1980 JOHN LENNON
    metallideth88
    Why on earth would this get downvotes? I swear UG community can be a bunch of i_d_i_o_t_s sometimes. Downvote me all you want kids. Lennon is the greatest composer EVER!!!!!
    schirripar
    John Lennon was a total rocker his entire life, so why would he be considered in a greatest non-rock songwriters list?
    metallideth88
    I am not sure if I would consider double fantasy rock
    l0ld4v3
    You may not, but the whole world regards Lennon as a rock musician.
    metallideth88
    I do dude. I have said several time I am the biggest Lennon fan around. But his last works I am not sure if these are Rock n Roll records
    metallideth88
    And this is coming from a guy who considers The Beatles a full blown Rock n roll band. I love them