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Songwriters

There's nothing like a well-crafted, creatively arranged song and considering the thousands of song that are probably written every day there are only a relative handful that ever enter the popular realm. The talent needed to write a truly great song seems to be given to a precious few but luckily many of these writers have been extremely prolific creating one great song after another. Here we offer a list of some of those great artists.

Composers - Early Music | Classical | 20th Century | Modern

Displaying 51 - 65 of 65 items.


Stephen Schwartz

Stephen Lawrence Schwartz is an American musical theatre lyricist and composer. In a career spanning over four decades, Schwartz has written such hit musicals as Godspell (1971), Pippin (1972) and Wicked (2003). He has contributed lyrics for a number of successful films, including Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), The Prince of Egypt (1998; music and lyrics) and Enchanted (2007). Schwartz has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lyrics, three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He received the 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Award, a special Tony Award, for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent.


Marc Shaiman

Marc Shaiman, award-winning composer, lyricist, orchestrator and musician, has successfully created music for TV, film and theater since entering show business at the age of 16 in 1976. Marc has been Oscar nominated seven times (for "Mary Poppins Returns" (2), "Sleepless In Seattle", "Patch Adams", "The First Wives Club", The American President" and "South Park-Bigger, Longer & Uncut"). He has received two Tony Award nominations (winning one for co-writing the score to "Hairspray" with co-lyricist Scott Wittman), five Grammy Awards nominations (winning one for The Original Cast Recording of "Hairspray"), eleven Emmy Awards (winning one for his work on Billy Crystal's Academy Award hosting), four Golden Globe nominations (including "The Star", song co-written with Mariah Carey), and two BAFTA nominations ("Sleepless In Seattle" and "Mary Poppins Returns").


Paul Simon

During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which ("Bridge Over Troubled Water", "Still Crazy After All These Years" and "Graceland") were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song "Mrs. Robinson" from the motion picture "The Graduate" was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute's 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 and was named as one of Time Magazine's "100 People Who Shape Our World" in 2006. In 2007, Mr. Simon was awarded the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world's culture, and is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin's.


Stephen Sondheim

Stephen Joshua Sondheim is an American composer and lyricist known for more than a half-century of contributions to musical theatre. Sondheim has received an Academy Award; eight Tony Awards (more than any other composer, including a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre); eight Grammy Awards; a Pulitzer Prize, the Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has been described by Frank Rich of The New York Times as "now the greatest and perhaps best-known artist in the American musical theater." His best-known works as composer and lyricist include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. He wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy.

The composer was president of the Dramatists Guild from 1973 to 1981. To celebrate his 80th birthday, the former Henry Miller's Theatre was renamed the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on September 15, 2010, and the BBC Proms held a concert in his honor. Cameron Mackintosh has called Sondheim "possibly the greatest lyricist ever."


Charles Strouse

Charles Strouse is an American composer and lyricist best known for writing the music to the musicals Bye Bye Birdie and Annie, amongst others. Strouse's first Broadway musical was the 1960 hit Bye Bye Birdie, with lyrics by Lee Adams, who would become his long-time collaborator. For this show, Strouse won his first Tony Award in the category of best musical, and Bye Bye Birdie is considered the precursor of the rock musical. Strouse's next show, All American, with a book by Mel Brooks and lyrics by Adams, came in 1962; it was not a success but it produced the standard "Once Upon a Time" (recorded by Perry Como, Eddie Fisher, Al Martino, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and Bobby Darin, among others).

Strouse has won Emmy Awards for music in television adaptions of Bye Bye Birdie and Annie. He is also the recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers Award and the Oscar Hammerstein Award. He is also a member of the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.


Jule Styne

Styne was a vocal coach for 20th Century Fox, until Darryl F. Zanuck fired him because vocal coaching was "a luxury, and we're cutting out those luxuries" and told him he should write songs, because "that's forever". Styne established his own dance band, which brought him to the notice of Hollywood, where he was championed by Frank Sinatra and where he began a collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn, with whom he wrote many songs for the movies, including "It's Been a Long, Long Time" (#1 for 3 weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1945), "Five Minutes More," and the Oscar-winning title song of Three Coins in the Fountain. He collaborated on the score for the 1955 musical film My Sister Eileen with Leo Robin. Ten of his songs were nominated for the Oscar, many written with Cahn, including "I've Heard That Song Before" (#1 for 13 weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1943), "I'll Walk Alone", "It's Magic" (a #2 hit for Doris Day in 1948) and "I Fall in Love Too Easily".


Taylor Swift

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. One of the leading contemporary recording artists, she is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage. As a songwriter, Swift has received awards from the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was included in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015. She is also the recipient of 10 Grammy Awards, five Guinness World Records, one Emmy Award, 21 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Country Music Association Awards, eight Academy of Country Music Awards, and one Brit Award.


James Taylor

James Vernon Taylor (born March 12, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist born in Lenox, Massachusetts, and raised in Carrboro, North Carolina.(2) He owns a house in the Berkshire County town of Washington, Massachusetts. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

Taylor achieved his major breakthrough in 1970 with the #3 single "Fire and Rain" and had his first #1 hit the following year with "You've Got a Friend", a recording of Carole King's classic song. His 1976 Greatest Hits album was certified Diamond and has sold 12 million US copies. Following his 1977 album, JT, he has retained a large audience over the decades. His commercial achievements declined slightly until a big resurgence during the late 1990s and 2000s, when some of his best-selling and most-awarded albums (including Hourglass, October Road and Covers) were released.


Bjorn Ulvaeus

Bjoorn Kristian Ulvaeus is a Swedish songwriter, producer, a former member of the Swedish musical group ABBA (1972-1982), and co-composer of the musicals Chess, Kristina fran Duvemala, and Mamma Mia!. He co-produced the film Mamma Mia! with fellow ABBA member and close friend Benny Andersson.

After ABBA, Ulvaeus and Andersson created the musicals Chess, a collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice, Kristina från Duvemåla (based on The Emigrants novels by Swedish writer Vilhelm Moberg), and Mamma Mia! (based on ABBA songs).

Together with Andersson, Ulvaeus was nominated for the Drama Desk Award in the category "Outstanding Music" (for the musical Chess), and for a Tony Award in a category "Best Orchestrations" (for the musical Mamma Mia!). Original cast recordings of both musicals were nominated for a Grammy Award.


Diane Warren

Diane Eve Warren is an American songwriter and musician. She rose to prominence in 1983, and has since written songs for and co-written songs with multiple singers, as well as for several films. Warren has written nine number-one songs and 32 top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Additionally, two of the top 13 hits in the Hot 100's 57-year history were composed by her. Warren's career catapulted in the late 1980s shortly after joining forces with the UK music company EMI when Warren became the first songwriter in the history of Billboard magazine to have seven hits, all by different artists, on the singles chart at the same time prompting the UK's former Chairman of EMI Music Publishing Peter Reichardt to credit her as "the most important songwriter in the world". She has been rated the third most successful female artist in the UK.

Warren has won a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, three consecutive Billboard Music Awards for Songwriter of the Year, and has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards. She has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her UK success saw her win an Ivor Novello Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors when she received the Special International Award in 2008. Warren owns a publishing company, Realsongs, which gives her control over her compositions.


Harry Warren

Harry Warren was an American composer and lyricist. Warren was the first major American songwriter to write primarily for film. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song eleven times and won three Oscars for composing "Lullaby of Broadway", "You'll Never Know" and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe". He wrote the music for the first blockbuster film musical, 42nd Street, choreographed by Busby Berkeley, with whom he would collaborate on many musical films.

Over a career spanning four decades, Warren wrote more than 800 songs. Other well known Warren hits included "I Only Have Eyes for You", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", "Jeepers Creepers", "The Gold Diggers' Song (We're in the Money)", "That's Amore", "There Will Never Be Another You", "The More I See You", "At Last" and "Chattanooga Choo Choo" (the last of which was the first gold record in history). Warren was one of America's most prolific film composers, and his songs have been featured in over 300 films.


Andrew Lloyd Webber

Andrew Lloyd Webber is arguably the most successful composer of our time. He is best known for stage and film adaptations of his musicals Jesus Christ Superstar (1973), Cats (1994), Evita (1996), and The Phantom of the Opera (2004).

He was born on March 22, 1948, in South Kensington in London, England, the first of two sons of William Lloyd Webber, an organist and composer. His mother, Jean Johnstone, was a pianist and violinist. Young Andrew Lloyd Webber learned to play various musical instruments at home and began composing at an early age. He continued his music studies at Westminster School, where his father was an organist. At the age of 9, young Andrew was able to play the organ and assisted his father during performances. In 1964 he went to Oxford University as a Queens Scholar of history.

In 1965 he met lyricist Tim Rice and dropped out of school to compose musicals and pop songs. In 1968 he had his first success with the West End production of 'Joseph and the Amasing Techicolor Dreamcoat'. From the 1960s to 2000s Lloyd Webber has been constantly updating his style as an eclectic blend of musical genres ranging from classical to rock, pop, and jazz, and with inclusion of electro-acoustic music and choral-like numbers in his musicals.


Meredith Willson

Meredith Willson - musician, playwright and composer - was best known for the book, words, and music for The Music Man (1962). He wrote two other musical plays, including The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Many of his songs are standards, including "You and I", "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You", "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas", "Seventy-six Trombones", and "Till There Was You", which was a surprising song choice for a hit record by The Beatles. Willson left Mason City, the setting for "The Music Man", in 1919 to attend Damrosch Institute (now Juilliard) in New York. He played flute and piccolo in John Philip Sousa's band from 1921 to 1923 and then joined the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1924 to 1929. In 1930 he got a job in radio in California. Radio was his primary source of income over the following twenty-five years. He also composed several orchestral works during the '30s and '40s, including symphonies for The Great Dictator (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941). In 1951 the stage producers Martin and Feuer proposed that Willson write a musical comedy about his Iowa boyhood. With his common touch, they said, it was sure to be a hit. After seven years, he finally got what turned out to be his masterpiece onto the stage. "The Music Man", which Willson said was "an Iowan's attempt to pay tribute to his home state", premiered on Broadway in 1957. Robert Preston recreated his most famous role and Willson's most famous character, that of Professor Harold Hill, in the film production of The Music Man (1962).


Brian Wilson

Brian Douglas Wilson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for being the multi-tasking leader and co-founder of the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for the group. Because of his unorthodox approaches to song composition and arrangement and mastery of recording techniques, he is widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative and influential creative forces in popular music by critics and musicians alike.


Stevie Wonder

Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins), known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he became one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at the age of 11 and has continued to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

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