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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 - 58 of 58 items.


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.


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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