It takes a lot to create a hit song, and very rarely does it take only one person to write one. Throughout rock’s biggest decades, we’ve seen some of the best songwriting duos that there are, and have watched them produce songs that have swept across the globe, and are now known worldwide.
1. John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
When you think Lennon and McCartney, it’s like thinking about peanut butter and jelly, you can’t imagine one without the other. Over the course of The Beatles’ career, Lennon and McCartney wrote over 180 credited songs, most of these forming the Beatles’ extensive catalog. Unlike many other partnerships that have been seen throughout musical history, Lennon and McCartney were able to both write music AND lyrics, As the success of The Beatles’ grew, sometimes whole songs would be written by one or the other, but one would never be recorded or produced without the input of the other writer. It was also decided early on, that Lennon and McCartney would each be credited equally, as to avoid tension or problems to arise within the band.
2. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant.
Led Zeppelin is undoubtedly one of the biggest rock bands of all time, and they managed to pump out some of the biggest hits and complex music that the rock community has ever seen. With hits like, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Kashmir”, “Since I’ve Been Loving You”, and “Going To California”, it’s not hard to see why Page and Plant would be on this list. Similarly to Lennon and McCartney, it’s hard to imagine one without the other. The pair actually embarked on a tour under the name Page and Plant after an extremely successful album separate from Led Zeppelin, not including John Paul Jones or John Bonham (who passed away in 1980). What’s so interesting about this songwriting duo, is the rate that their songs were written and recorded. Led Zeppelin had a total of eight albums released in the time frame of 1968 to 1979, and the quality didn’t falter through any of them.
3. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, known as The Glimmer Twins, are of part of the legendary Rolling Stones. It’s been stated by John Lennon, that the two’s collaboration were inspired by Lennon and McCartney’s partnership after the pair was gifted with a Lennon/McCartney written song entitled, “I Wanna Be Your Man.” Similarly to Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards had equal writing credits on each song, even if it was written by a single partner. Some of the Stone’s biggest hits written by the iconic duo are, “Sympathy For The Devil”, “Brown Sugar”, “Ruby Tuesday”, and “Happy.” Their songs held balance, Jagger focusing more on the lyrics while Richards focused more on the music. Together, they proved to be unstoppable and are still performing with each other and The Stones to this day.
4. Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
Although Bernie Taupin didn’t perform with Elton John, he was still one of the most important people that assisted and helped Elton create hits, and songs known by Classic Rock fans across the globe. Bernie Taupin, renowned lyricist was best known for his work with Elton, but also went on to work with artists like Alice Cooper on his ‘77 album From The Inside, the group Heart, and even David Ackles. Together, John and Taupin were invincible, and produced songs like, “Rocket Man”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Crocodile Rock”, and “Candle In The Wind.” The writing style between the two was usually Bernie sticking to the lyrics, and Elton putting them to music. The two, like Jagger and Richards, seem to balance each other out, and in turn became one of the most successful songwriting duos of the time.
5. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of the band Aerosmith, were known as The ‘Toxic Twins’ and helped one another create some of the biggest hits of their career such as, “Walk This Way”, “Dream On”, and “Back In The Saddle,” All three of these songs include riffs and lyrics that are known by any rock fan, and succeeded putting them on the map. The pair were recognized for their iconic songwriting by being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The two still write music to this day and tour, although Aerosmith may be coming to an end soon with talks of a Farewell Tour.
Which songwriting duo is your favorite, and which one would be at the top of your list?