1950-2000: The 10 Greatest Songwriting Teams

The attribution of songwriting credit in the popular music industry is fraught with all manner of swindling and cheating. Royalty checks are sent as often to pretenders and usurpers as they are to the true creative parties. I am not going to attempt to untangle the twisted and arcane competing stories underlying the extant listed publishing rights. With regard to just one band, The Beach Boys, there is an entire cottage industry of books devoted to arguing the minutiae of “who really deserves credit” for the band's most celebrated recordings.

So here, with the above caveat, is my list of the 10 greatest songwriting twosomes of the last half of the 20th Century.

1. John Lennon/Paul McCartney
2. Boudleaux Bryant/Felice Bryant
3. Burt Bacharach/Hal David
4. Gerry Goffin/Carole King
5. Kenneth Gamble/Leon Huff
6. Benny Andersson/Bjorn Ulvaeus
7. Ronald Dunbar/Edythe Wayne
8. Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller
9. Mick Jagger/Keith Richards
10. Jimmy Page/Robert Plant
To add two or three:

Dan Penn (Pennington) and Spooner Oldham
Charles Hardin Holley (Buddy Holly) and Norman Petty (though it is unclear how much credit Petty actually deserved)
Lately, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings are amazing.
Elton John/Bernie Taupin especially "Madman Across The Water", "Tumbleweed Connection", "Honkey Chateau", and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road". After that period, they took a nose-dive, in my opinion! B.T.W., the Mofi Gold CD version of "Madman" SUCKS as far as audio quality (notoriously piss poor fidelty on some Mofi CD's...and this one is VERY pricy at $70 to $100!) I was fortunate enough to find a SEALED DCC vinyl copy, and I could not believe the difference in audio quality! This is not a vinyl vs. digital issue, Mofi just had someone do a NASTY mastering job on this title, which is also the best release in the E.J. catalog, in my opinion, as well.

the Squeeze boys Tilbrook and ?
Elvis Costello and his alter ego
Howard Ashman & Alan Menken
Richard and Linda Thompson
Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy
Wayne and Garth
Damn, Rodgers and Hart miss out by just a few years.
Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel
Don Henely/Glen Frey
Lamont Dozier/Brian Holland/Edward Holland
Richard Rogers/Oscar Hammerstein
Nickolas Ashford/Valerie Simpson
Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil
Kix Brooks/Ronnie Dunn

BTW, Mes, the schwing vote goes to Garth for bagging Kim Basinger.
Do David Gilmour/Roger Waters count, or did they more or less write separately for the larger Pink Floyd whole (in the wall)?
At no particular order but with no place for crap i list:

Laurie Anderson/Lou Reed
Robert Fripp/Adrean Belew
Jon Anderson/Rick Wackeman
Bryan Ferry/Phil Manzanera
Phil Manzanera/Brian Eno
Brian Eno/David Byrne
Sting/Andy Summers
David Sylvian/Robert Fripp
David Sylvian/Ryichi Sakamoto
Ryichi Sakamoto/Arto Lindsay

After this list I can add Gilmour/Waters.
Yeah, Taupin/Elton JOhn, I concure with "Fatparrot"
"Wayne and garth"!!!...too funny
close to the edge by yes
If nothing else, I realized a long time ago that one person's crap = another person's fertilizer, when it comes to music (and politics). There is, of course, a definite "flip side" to that record, too.
I would add Grateful Dead/Robert Hunter collaborations.
Simon and Garfunkle were pretty good.
I think they should be on any top 10 list.

Audiotomb mentioned Squeeze...Songwriters with Squeeze were Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford. I think they are a great band, but not sure they belong in the company of some of the others mentioned.....
Morrissey and Marr
Bono and the edge
Ian Brown and John Squire
Simon and Garfunkel were, as you are no doubt aware, more than good. However, it was Paul Simon who got the songwriting credit.
True Tweakgeek, but together they were great. Apart... well... Paul has been good, but I think he lost something when they broke up. Call me strange, but I own none of Paul Simon's albums (even Graceland which I know is pretty good). I own ever studio album that Simon & Garfunkle put out. Sometimes it takes a team to be successful, and I think the two (had they stayed together) would have been much more successful than either did on their own.

It may be worth remembering that Jimmy Van Heusen's 40 year career as a song writer extended into the 50s and 60s. With lyricist Johnny Burke he wrote Here's That Rainy Day in 1953 (prior to that, Polka Dots and Moonbeams, But Beautiful, Imagination, Swinging on a Star, and with Eddie De Lange, Darn That Dream). He went on to write with Sammy Cahn such memorable tunes as Love and Marriage, Call Me Irresponsible, All the Way, The Second Time Around and Only the Lonely.
Antonio Carlos Jobim did some of his best work with lyracist Vinicius De Moraes: The Girl From Ipanema, Favela, Insensatez, One Note Samba, O Grande Amor, Chega De Saudade (No More Blues), Once I Loved, Agua De Beber.
Last but not least, there was the collaboration of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim on West Side Story in 1957.