ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Best Underrated Songwriters

Updated on September 29, 2015

Best Songwriters who are Underrated

I saw the request for this hub and thought about all the best and well known songwriters. Then I thought to myself about how there are probably ten times as many lesser known songwriters who are still great. Then there are the totally unknown songwriters. I decided that it might be useful to put together a hub of some of my favorite songwriters that not everyone knows.

If I said Billy Joel, Hank Williams, Stevie Wonder or Cole Porter most everyone would know the names, so I am aiming at songwriters who are less known or overshadowed by others. These are songwriters that I think about everyone should know by name, but I don't think this is the case.


I searched my own music library to see what songwriters I liked best who were less known. I found one artist named, "Traditional" who wrote some really great songs in a multitude of genres. I don't think any songwriter compares to this "Traditional" character I have discovered. He or she is probably filthy rich from royalties. Traditional wrote Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Motherless Child, Lay My Burden Down, and When the Saints Go Marching In. I noticed that Traditional likes to collaborate with a myriad of other artists and tends to write spirituals.

John Hiatt

With songs like "Feels Like Rain,"" Cry Love,"" Have a Little Faith in Me," and "Thing Called Love," John Hiatt gives us catchy melodies, incredible feeling, interesting lyrics, and groovy rhythms. You know he's good when artists like Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, and Joe Cocker do his songs. What a compliment from other great artists. Each of the artists have had a big hit with a Hiatt song.

Hiatts style lives somewhere between the blues and country with an old time rock n roll flavor. Hiatt's instrumentation and arrangement keeps your ear interested and his golden voice is at a level of distinction of the above named superstars. Maybe he is known better than I think, but he is probably under-rated. I've never seen him live, but would love to.

Mark Knopfler

Whenever I tell people I like Mark Knopfler, they usually say, "Who's that." Then I say Dire Straits, "Sultans of Swing" and "Money for Nothing" His name isn't all that well known, but he is still writing great stuff. He was the writer of most of the Dire Straits stuff anyway. I listened to a song several times before realizing it was about Ray Kroc, who exploded the McDonald's business in the 50's. The song is titled "Boom, Like That."

I can't list all of the great songs he's written, because there are way too many. He is definitely not well known enough for his skill level. Knopfler surpases Hiatt in arrangement and instrumentation; he even wrote movie scores. His lyrics are as flavorful as his sweet guitar fills. If you like his gruff Scottish voice, then you have the ultimate package.

Keb’ Mo’ or Kevin Moore

He's a modern day Robert Johnson. Keb' Mo' has a nack for simplicity and touching lyrics. He hangs out in the acoustic blues genre and writes like an old souled bluesman with one foot in the 1920s and one foot in modern time. He won songwriting awards in the blues genre, and is our best hope for keeping the blues authentic in today's pop culture. Unmistakable vocals, clean toned organic instrumentation, and inspirational lyrics are his trademarks. This guy can do more with just an acoustic guitar and voice than most artists can do with an entire band backing them. An example is Every Morning and Hand it Over.

Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman is my favorite soundtrack movie score composer. You may not know the name, but I bet you know the tunes. From the creepy Tales From the Crypt theme song to mysterious beautiful Edward Scissorhands scores, Danny Elfman makes my mind paint adventurous scenes in my mind. I believe his scores make movies twice as intriging. Imagine watching Edward Scissorhands without the Elfman score. It would be a cult classic B movie instead of a cult classic A movie. Danny Elfman produced great scores for superhero movies, just as John williams has done with the Sci-Fi genre.

Willie Dixon

I'll just let a list of artists and songs that covered him speak for his writing. When you see a line-up of songs redone by these greats, it says something about how underrated Willie Dixon is.

  • Round and Round-Bonnie Raitt
  • I just want to make love to you- Buddy Guy
  • Hoochie Coochie Man- Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, etc.
  • Gone Daddy Gone- Gnarls Barkley
  • Spoonful- Several Blues Greats (Howlin' Wolf)
  • Whole Lotta Love- Led Zeppelin
  • You Shook Me- Led Zeppelin
  • I Can't quit You Baby- Led Zeppelin
  • Bring it on Home- Led Zeppelin
  • Little Red Rooster- The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke
  • Shake for Me- Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • Close to You- Stevie Ray Vaughn
  • and the list goes on...

Who do You Think is Underrated?

This is not a comprehensive list of great songwriters who are less known. I have included my favorite lesser known songwriters, and now it is your turn to share. I would love to check out other people's lists. Write your own favorite underrated songwriters below.

Vote for your favorite

Which of these lesser known songwriters do you like best?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)