Greatest Lyrics (Rock Songs Only) [in progress]

  1. Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands-Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)

  2. Gates of Eden-Bringing It All Back Home-Bob Dylan (1965)

  3. Emily-Ys-Joanna Newsom (2006)

  4. Birdland-Horses-Patti Smith (1975)

  5. Sawdust & Diamonds-Ys-Joanna Newsom (2006)

  6. Only Skin-Ys-Joanna Newsom (2006)

  7. Land: Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/La Mer (de)-Horses-Patti Smith (1975)

  8. Desolation Row-Highway 61 Revisted-Bob Dylan (1965)

  9. Hallelujah-Various Positions-Leonard Cohen (1984)

  10. Tombstone Blues-Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)

  11. Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again-Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)

  12. Visions of Johanna-Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)

  13. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)-Bringing It All Back Home-Bob Dylan (1965)

  14. A Box For Black Paul-From Her To Eternity-Nick Cave (1984)

  15. Say Goodbye To The Little Girl Tree-The Firstborn Is Dead-Nick Cave (1985)

  16. Orange Claw Hammer-Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart (1969)

  17. Pena-Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart (1969)

  18. My Human Gets Me Blues-Captain Beefheart (1969)

  19. Stranger Song-Leonard Cohen-Songs of Leonard Cohen (1968)

  20. The Sound of Silence-Sounds of Silence-Simon & Garfunkel (1966)

  21. Oh Comely-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

  22. Two Headed Boy-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

  23. Suzanne-Songs of Leonard Cohen-Leonard Cohen (1968)

  24. Lily, Rosemary & The Jack of Hears-Blood On The Tracks-Bob Dylan (1975)

  25. Like A Rolling Stone-Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)

  26. Shelter From The Storm-Blood On The Tracks-Bob Dylan (1975)

  27. Song To The Siren-Starsailor-Tim Buckley (1970)

  28. Ballad Of A Thin Man-Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)

  29. Holland, 1945-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

  30. Sea Song-Rock Bottom-Robert Wyatt (1974)

  31. Beside You-Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)

  32. Medicine Bottle-Down Colorful Hill-Red House Painters (1992)

  33. Sweet Sweet Bulbs-Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart (1969)

  34. Bills Corpse-Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart (1969)

  35. The Dangling Conversation-Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme-Simon & Garfunkel (1966)

  36. Pennyroyal Tea-In Utero-Nirvana (1993)

Suggestions welcome though keep in mind that I am not nearly done with my own entries: Nick Cave, more Dylan and Cohen, Robert Wyatt, Patti Smith, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and so forth, to come.

Looking really good so far. There's another 5 Dylan songs I'd recommend, but I will leave out those artists you're still going over. Here's some I recommend:

Pena - Captain Beefheart
Across the Universe - The Beatles
Two Headed Boy - Neutral Milk Hotel
Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus - Mars Volta
All Apologies - Nirvana
Heart-Shaped Box - Nirvana
Come As You Are - Nirvana
Good Girls Go To Heaven (Bad Girls Go Everywhere - Pandora's Box
Medicine Bottle - Red House Painters
Throne of Agony - Foetus
Octopus - Syd Barrett
Black Angel's Death Song - Velvet Underground

All great choices. Not sure which ones out of those I'll place and which will be oh so close. Medicine Bottle, Pena, Heart Shaped Box and Two Headed Boy are the most likely entries.

"Ballad of a Thin Man" has fantastic lyrics and is an excellent choice for this list. It's on Highway 61 Revisited, though, not Blonde on Blonde.

I also love "Shelter From the Storm" but would easily pick "Tangled Up in Blue" over it from Blood on the Tracks.

Very nice list though.

Whoops. That's what I get for compiling this at 3am. Thanks for pointing that out.

Re: Tangled Up in Blue...great, great song. It will probably make it on here sooner or later, though I don't think its' quite as strong as his earlier masterpieces lyrically (though in the same range musically). For me it would also fall behind Lily, Rosemary & the Jack of Hearts.

While doing this list it is becoming more and more evident for me that Dylan was the greatest lyricist of all time (no longer "tied" with Cohen or Cave). I might place Captain Beefheart #2, though to be sure I still have to thumb through Cave, Cohen and Patti Smiths (not to mention many others) discographies.

I always considered Idiot Wind the strongest on Blood on the Tracks.

do you like the album version or the bootleg version? i prefer the bootleg!!! as i do with the other tracks that there is a bootleg for and wish he made the album closer to what he started with.

Good list so far. I definitely agree with Sad Eyed Lady being number one. Also nice to see The Dangling Conversation on here. It's nice little gem that doesn't get enough attention as it deserves. Here are a few suggestions for your list:

Wolfpack - Syd Barrett (1970)

Happiness is a Warm Gun - The Beatles (1968)

I Am the Walrus - The Beatles (1967)

Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles (1967)

Anonymous Proposition - Tim Buckley (1970)

Love From Room 109 At The Islander (On Pacific Coast Highway) - Tim Buckley (1968)

The Crystal Ship - The Doors (1967)

The End - The Doors (1967)

Dead End Street - The Kinks (1966)

Shangri-La - The Kinks (1969)

You Set the Scene - Love (1967)

Overs - Simon & Garfunkel (1967)

Palm Desert - Van Dyke Parks (1968)

Heroin - The Velvet Underground (1967)

Many great choices. Thank you. A number of these have a legitimate shot at appearing on here, depending on how long I extend the list (top 50? 100?).

Many great choices. Thank you. A number of these have a legitimate shot at appearing on here, depending on how long I extend the list (top 50? 100?).

Anyone know how to fix the out-of-order numbering?

Great list. I'd also put Sad-Eyed Lady at number one but probably choose It's Alright Ma for the second slot, although I can understand why you put Gates of Eden so high. And your Patti Smith selection is spot-on... listening to it is a harrowing experience.

I'd throw up nominations for American Pie, Marquee Moon, Both Sides Now, The End, Family Affair, Livin' for the City, Black Angel's Death Song, A Change is Gonna Come, some Carole King and of course roughly 2392 other Dylan tracks (although Mr Tambourine Man currently sticks out as a glaring omission).

Oh, and more Van Morrison is required, dammit!

Many superb choices. Hopefully I'll get back around to updating this list soon.

Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall - Bob Dylan

as I don't think your list has enough Dylan on it

That's a strong possibility...and yes, there will be more Dylan on here, I'm sure. It's undeniable.

Ambulance Blues -- Neil Young
Moon in June -- Soft Machine (Robert Wyatt really)

Not sure about Moon in June...certainly Wyatt-esque

I'll have to check out Ambulance Blues when I get back around to updating this list.


How about Neil Young's "Thrasher", about why he left CSN.(

Or something by the Talking Heads such as Life During Wartime

I'll get back to you on those when I get back to working on this list. Currently I'm preoccupied with film.

Faust - Miss Fortune :P

It's lyrics are amazing...I'll think it over...not sure since it's so short-lived...mainly an "instrumental"...feel free to state your case if you'd like...might help me turn the corner ( :

Really nice selections. Great choice on 'It's Alright Ma...'

Some of the songs that I would choose are (I'll leave out Dylan & Beefheart, you seem to have them well covered):

Nick Cave - The Mercy Seat
Nas - N.Y. State Of Mind
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Black
Pere Ubu - 30 Seconds Over Tokyo
Eels - 3 Speed (These lyrics use so few words but say so much)
Frank Zappa - Brown Shoes Don't Make it
Wu-Tang Clan - C.R.E.A.M
Some Joni Mitchell maybe? I don't know quite which one...
The Velvet Underground - Venus In Furs
Nine Inch Nails - Hurt
Richard Hell & The Voidiods - Blank Generation
Tom Waits - Misery Is The River Of The World
Wilco - I Am Trying To Break Your Heart

Slint - Good Morning Captain
Slint - Don, Aman
The Doors - The End
Leonard Cohen - Master Song
Velvet Underground - Heroin
Faust - Miss Fortune (though I know the lyrics are short it is poignant)
Captain Beefheart - Well
Nico - Evening Of Light

Both you and Menindrag have provided me with some great ones to think over. When I get back to updating I'll consider them.

Should make a list that doesn't include Dylan and Cohen (they are almost matchless), just for variety sake.

Bruce Springsteen is a surprisingly good poet. I honestly feel like Thunder Road and Jungle Land work just as well if one reads them. Those are just my two favourite examples.

Yep, I agree that those are two of his best -- The River too.

Something neat is that the second-side of the album The River-- that is, from Hungry Heart to The River-- it makes a kind of interesting song/poem cycle. It begins with a statement of theme with disillusion of a relationship, and then growing through the side from meeting, courting, to full relationship, with a happy splendor, and ends with another potential dissilution, or simply ending with "hard truths"

Yea, I've noticed that too. The River is a very well executed concept album.