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Who is the greatest pop songwriter of the post-standards era?
#1
Qualifications:

1. Has to be someone that primarily wrote for other people - i.e., not Lennon/McCartney or Brian Wilson or even Prince.

1a. I will allow Brill Building artists who began their careers writing for other people and then went on to perform their own stuff. 

2. We're talking basically 1946-Present, so a lot of the standard guys - Porter, Gerswhin, etc. - don't count. 

3. "Pop" is a fluid category, but I will allow consideration of rock, jazz, other genres - though I think we all have a pretty good idea of what pop music is.

Discuss.
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#2
My immediate thought was Carole King, but maybe that's because of how 1a was worded.
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#3
1a is definitely the King Exception.
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#4
edit.....wrote for other people is a lame qualifier, IMO.

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https://www.azlyrics.com/e/elviscostello.html
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#5
Your first qualifier leaves me out of this, I think, pretty effectively. I'm not well versed in people who've primarily or also written a lot of material for other artists.

Bernie Taupin comes to mind. I want to say Prince but I have NO idea how much he actually wrote for other people.

Plus some vague information that essentially all pop songs (including pop country) for the last decade or more have been written by a couple of Scandinavian guys.
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#6
Who immediately came to mind for me on this (and don't laugh): Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman of The Hooters.  They both wrote a ton of music for other artists.  I'm not citing them as 'best' or anything, I just always found it kinda fascinating how The Hooters was their main gig but they were both very, very successful just as songwriters for others.

Aldo Nova is another one.  Yep, the one hit wonder of 'Fantasy'.  He's had a very, very successful career as a songwriter of others.  His most notable client?  Celine Dion.
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#7
Jim Steinman.

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#8
Along those lines: apparently Richard Marx also parleyed 80s pop fame into becoming a very successful songwriter.

I have no direct knowledge as to the extent of his influence and work, though.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

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#9
(01-07-2020, 01:07 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Plus some vague information that essentially all pop songs (including pop country) for the last decade or more have been written by a couple of Scandinavian guys.

A lot of country music is written by other country artists until they break into the industry themselves, Chris Stapleton probably being the best recent example,

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#10
For a while, the Bee Gees were primarily songwriters for others. After disco imploded, they couldn't get any airplay or really get anything off of the ground, so they ended up writing for others. They wrote 'Islands in the Stream' for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers for instance, and they worked with Barbra Streisand among other big names.
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#11
Yeah, if we're not counting your Paul Fucking McCartneys, I'm gonna have to second Carole King, with an honorable mention for Neil Diamond, with whom she penned a number of terrific songs.
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#12
I put in rule 1 to make it it interesting! McCartney is the obvious answer in that case! (I will also accept Brian Wilson.)

Some other names for consideration:

David Foster: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Foster_discography

Burt Bacharach: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_so..._Bacharach

Quincy Jones: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jon...iscography

And one of those Scandinavian guys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Martin...tten_songs
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#13
Side Topice: You have to buy it from England, but I love the Black America Sings... collection.

https://acerecords.co.uk/various-artists...rica-sings

You get these great soul singers and bands of the 60s and 70s singing Bacharach, Lennon and McCartney, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Lennon McCartney and Harrison, and Sam Cooke. I own the first 3 and love them. The 50s and 60s were filled with bands covering the same songbooks and I love listening to covers. I hate Bob Dylan's singing voice, but the writing he didn't steal... well, he has it. So, I love listening to other people do his music. Like, Boys II Men and En Vogue covering the Beatle's Yesterday or PostModern Jukebox's covers are mostly great.
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#14
Covers could probably be a whole separate thread.

Though if anyone brings up Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" I'm going to have to start hurting people.
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#15
Tyres, that's great. One of the first albums I owned that really got me into cover songs was "Motown Sings The Beatles." Thanks for the heads up!
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#16
If we're gonna talk covers, I'm gonna have to start posting metal covers of ABBA tunes because some of them are AWESOME.
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#17
Of course, you could also have a whole separate discussion on the topic of cover songs almost nobody realizes are cover songs - "When the Levee Breaks," f'rexample, or the Beatles' version of "Act Naturally."
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#18
(01-07-2020, 01:16 PM)boone daniels Wrote: And one of those Scandinavian guys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Martin...tten_songs

Max Martin is who I was primarily thinking of.
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#19
(01-07-2020, 01:07 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Bernie Taupin comes to mind.

That was my first thought, but only writing mostly for one other person seems a bit of a cheat.

Aside from Taupin, Diane Warren.
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#20
(01-07-2020, 02:18 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Of course, you could also have a whole separate discussion on the topic of cover songs almost nobody realizes are cover songs - "When the Levee Breaks," f'rexample, or the Beatles' version of "Act Naturally."

As I recall, wasn't Buck Owens kind of a jerk?
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#21
(01-07-2020, 02:12 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Covers could probably be a whole separate thread.

Though if anyone brings up Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" I'm going to have to start hurting people.

(01-07-2020, 02:17 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: If we're gonna talk covers, I'm gonna have to start posting metal covers of ABBA tunes because some of them are AWESOME.

(01-07-2020, 02:18 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Of course, you could also have a whole separate discussion on the topic of cover songs almost nobody realizes are cover songs - "When the Levee Breaks," f'rexample, or the Beatles' version of "Act Naturally."

That is the thing about covers. Sometimes it is the lyrics that make a cover in another genre work so very well. Sometimes it is the musical composition, even when transposed into another genre. I am not much of a Bieber fan, but Postmodern Jukebox has a bunch of his songs and damn if they aren't pop earworms with lyrical and musical hooks that grab you-- no matter the style or genre they play in. I am not much of a Country man either, but Chris Stapleton songs definitely catch the ear anytime I walk into a local bar or restaurant. To me, that is the sign of a good songwriter.

So, when we say songwriters, are we talking lyricists, musicians, or both?
"Wilford Brimley can't be bothered to accept praise. He doesn't act because he thinks people will enjoy his work. He acts because it's his goddamned job." --Will Harris, AV Club
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#22
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze are pretty damn high up there for me.

Oops: read the rules after I posted, nevermind!
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#23
(01-07-2020, 03:00 PM)MrTyres Wrote:
(01-07-2020, 02:12 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Covers could probably be a whole separate thread.

Though if anyone brings up Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help From My Friends" I'm going to have to start hurting people.

(01-07-2020, 02:17 PM)Judas Booth Wrote: If we're gonna talk covers, I'm gonna have to start posting metal covers of ABBA tunes because some of them are AWESOME.

(01-07-2020, 02:18 PM)commodorejohn Wrote: Of course, you could also have a whole separate discussion on the topic of cover songs almost nobody realizes are cover songs - "When the Levee Breaks," f'rexample, or the Beatles' version of "Act Naturally."

That is the thing about covers. Sometimes it is the lyrics that make a cover in another genre work so very well. Sometimes it is the musical composition, even when transposed into another genre. I am not much of a Bieber fan, but Postmodern Jukebox has a bunch of his songs and damn if they aren't pop earworms with lyrical and musical hooks that grab you-- no matter the style or genre they play in. I am not much of a Country man either, but Chris Stapleton songs definitely catch the ear anytime I walk into a local bar or restaurant. To me, that is the sign of a good songwriter.

So, when we say songwriters, are we talking lyricists, musicians, or both?

For songwriting, I really look at mainly the actual music vs the lyrics.  Lyrics, for me, are really only important in terms of how the word synchopate with the music...what's actually being said, as long as it isn't totally stupid, is usually my third consideration.

In terms of the music itself, a lot of the really good songwriters will compose a song that will lend itself to multiple genres.  They have the musical skill/knowledge to correctly compose melodies that have excellent flow to them and can be adjusted, in terms of synchopation, to any genre.  ABBA (Benny and Bjorn) were masters of this ability to craft a tune, and that's why a lot of musicians will cover their tunes...they just WORK.
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#24
Randy Newman? Paul Williams?
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#25
(01-07-2020, 05:19 PM)hammerhead Wrote: Randy Newman? Paul Williams?

I feel like Newman generally writes for himself; Paul Williams has 3 or 4 hits that all by themselves should give him "fuck you" money ("We've Only Just Begun"; "Rainy Days and Mondays"; "Rainbow Connection"; "Evergreen")


I was coming here to nominate Holly Knight.

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#26
Williams is fascinating in interviews. He talks about songwriting like it's bricklaying, or digging ditches-- just something he's good at.
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