Best Singer Songwriters - MyTop 250

By richardcostantino richardcostantino
updated 2 months ago

My obsession with the songs of the greatest singer/songwriter in the history of music - Bob Dylan, led me on a journey to discover other singer/songwriters who either influenced him, or were influenced by him. My search led me off on tangents into all types of musical genres. It opened up a whole new world of music to me that, thanks to conservative pop radio stations, I never knew existed.

Here are my 250 favourites, in no particular order of preference Many are undeservedly obscure artists - some who made only one LP (that few people bought), and then disappeared.

There are many musical genres I personally don't care for, so while people like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Morrissey, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson might be great singer/songwriters in their chosen fields, their music was never my cup of tea - which is why they are not included in my list.

As you will gather by some of my comments below, on specific songwriters, I have a deep resentment of most of those naive traditional left-wing (communist) 'protest' folk singers of late 50's/early 60's, who thought Stalin & Castro were cool dudes. Dylan was very wise to desert them.

  1. David Ackles - American Gothic

    Picked up a copy of this LP in a $1 bargain bin back around 1975. I'd never heard of the guy, but was intrigued by the cover art.

    Partway through the first track I thought it was Neil Diamond under a pseudonym, but it quickly became obvious that this guy was lyrically and musically far more adventurous and creative. There is no way that Neil could come up with anything remotely as musically complex as Montana Song.

  2. Eric Andersen (2) - Blue River

    His 60's LP's are classic folk in the early Dylan vein. From the 70's onwards he became more adventurous. This album and 'Be True To You' are the standouts from his 70's period.

  3. Doug Ashdown - The Age Of Mouse

    18 For Sale from $5.00

    Sadly forgotten Australian singer/songwriter who had a world-wide hit in 1976 with 'Winter In America'. This is his epic double LP from 1970. A blend of folk, rock and psychedelia.

  4. Hoyt Axton - Joy To The World

    Folk/country artist who also ventured into acting. Best known for writing Joy To The World, Never Been To Spain (hits for Three Dog Night), and The Pusher (a hit for Steppenwolf).

  5. Kevin Ayers - The Confessions Of Dr. Dream And Other Stories

    Ex lead singer of 60's/70's Avant-garde/Rock group Soft Machine. This is far and away his best album, in a very esoteric solo career.

  6. Joan Baez - Joan

    Dylan's former paramour was a fine songwriter in her own right. Fine voice, but her exaggerated vibrato, her dinky 'sing-along' choruses, and her pinko politics, can get annoying at times.

  7. Russ Ballard - At The Third Stroke

    Ex lead singer of 70's rock group Argent

  8. Syd Barrett - Opel

    Eccentric singer from Pink Floyd's early psychedelic era.

  9. Chris Bell - I Am The Cosmos

    Ex Big Star. His one and only LP before his untimely death

  10. Marc Benno - Minnows

    Ex Leon Russell's 70's folk/rock duo Asylum Choir

  11. David Blue - Stories

    He had a very limited vocal range, but made some really good albums - this one being the best.

  12. David Bowie - Hunky Dory

    This is where Bowie came of age, after his rather twee Anthony Newley 'mini-me' phase. All of his 70's albums are excellent. I lost interest after the Scary Monsters LP.

  13. Arthur Brown - Dance

    Ex 60's/70's progressive rock bands Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, and Kingdom Come. Best known for his 60's hit 'Fire'. He has worked with Klaus Schulze, and Alan Parsons, and also appeared in the movie adaptation of The Who's 'Tommy'.

  14. Jackson Browne - The Pretender

    Has written hits for Linda Ronstadt and The Eagles, among others. A good singer in his own right, but his vocal style is fairly one-dimensional, making his albums sound indistinguishable from eachother.

  15. Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor

    Ex Cream. This is his finest solo LP by a wide margin.

  16. Jeff Buckley - Grace

    Son of the late Tim Buckley.

  17. Tim Buckley - Goodbye And Hello

    Amazing vocal range. One of the greatest singers of the modern age. A very esoteric songwriter. This is probably his most accessible LP, with Happy/Sad not far behind. Some critics hail his experimental 'Starsailor' LP as a masterpiece, but I find it heavy going.

  18. Eric Burdon - Darkness Darkness

    Ex Animals. People tend to forget, or underestimate, the quality of this man's vast repertoire of songs - because he had the misfortune of having to compete with the Lennon/McCartney, Jagger/Richard juggernauts.. Eric is one of UK's greatest musical exports.

  19. T-Bone Burnett - Truth Decay

    Ex Alpha Band, Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder

  20. J.J. Cale - Troubadour

    Created his own genre - aptly referred to as 'laid back'. This guy is so laid back, he's sleeping. Eric Clapton has spent most of his solo career doing JJ Cale imitations.