Gilbert and Sullivan would certainly be on the list. "Pirates of Penzance" and "Mikado" are still being performed almost 120 years after they were written.
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So many great songwriters in the 80s that were also writing great songs in the 60s, 70s, 90s, and now (e.g. David Bowie). For songwriters generally associated with the 80s, however, I might also add in no particular order:
-Andy Partridge (XTC)
-Chris Difford/Glenn Tillbrook (Squeeze)
-Mark Hollis (Talk Talk)
-Danny Elfman (Oingo Boingo)
Agree completely with Springsteen, Prince, Byrne, and Westerberg.
Others I would nominate, in no particular order:
Grant McLennan/Robert Forster (Go-Betweens)
Bob Mould/Grant Hart (Husker Du)
d boon (Minutemen)
Lou Reed (his best solo work was done in the 80s, IMO)
Finally, Lucinda Williams first came on the scene in the 80s, but did not produce her best work until the 90s. She is at or near the top of my list of top songwriters of the 90s.
Some very good choices above. I'd agree with a bunch o' 'em. And I'd like to add: Roddy Frame (of Aztec Camera), Mike Scott (the Waterboys), Paul Buchanan (the first two -- and best two Blue Nile discs, I believe, were released in the '80s), Paul Weller (with the Style Council), and the great songwriter and guitarist Tom Verlaine. That's five, but I don't feel good about having left out Thomas Dolby, a terribly good songwriter who I was lucky enough to see a few months back. Seen from this decade, the '80s don't look too bad, do they? I'm gonna go play an Aztec Camera disc. Thanks for putting the notion in my head.
My first impuse numbers one through four have already been identified;
Hiatt, Thompson, Westerberg, and Crenshaw.
Number 5, however, could go a lot of ways;
Graham Parker or David Byrne or Allen Toussaint or Elvis Costello or Todd Rundgren or Karl Wallinger (World Party, The Waterboys) or August Darnell (Kid Creole) or etc., etc.....
Lots of good songwriters out there
So which of my suggestions is not a song writer in the 80's? Do they all have to be no names like Micheal Been (who the *** is that)?
Agree with Mark Knofler, Joe Jackson. By 1980 Van Morrison's voice was shot. His best stuff was in the 70's, not the 80's.
I also should have added Phil Collins. Or Al Stewart.
Just because someone sell records, does not make them a poor song writer.