Taylor Swift reached that peak before she turned 21. She might be the youngest artist on this list — as you may have heard, she was born in 1989, the year Green Day released their first record.
But she's already written two or three careers' worth of keepers.
We’ve partnered with WHSmith to offer readers Telegraph Great Reads – an exclusive offer on 10 hand-picked non-fiction titles.
Every week, one of the titles is half price when you buy The Telegraph at WHSmith High Street stores or with the voucher in paper.
"And so I started writing these story songs." A Brooklynite who was equally entranced by R&B and country (claiming his favorite singer was C&W mainstay Tex Ritter), Otis Blackwell began his career with 1953's "Daddy Rollin' Stone," which has been covered repeatedly. And even though Blackwell's own singing career never took off, it's been noted that his vocals on demos of songs that Presley recorded were followed faithfully by the King.
"At certain tempo, the way Elvis sang was the result of copying Otis' demos," said Blackwell's friend Doc Pomus. Many singer-songwriters reach the point where they have too many great tunes to fit into a live show.
Taylor uses so much ice when her husband's out of town. Riley in 1968, it freed Hall to record his own work, which included songs about burying a man who owed him 40 dollars, mourning the death of the local hero who taught him how to drink and play guitar, and "Trip to Hyden," a journalistic tale of a drive to the scene of a mining disaster that was part Woody Guthrie, part Studs Turkel. When Elvis Presley recorded one of his songs, the result was 1956's epochal "Don't Be Cruel," which was simultaneously Number One on the pop, R&B and country charts.
His best work was charged with literary irony but unfolded with the ease of spoken language, as when the mini-skirted heroine of "Harper Valley P. A." struts into the local junior high and exposes small-town hypocrisy by asking why Mrs.
Benny and Björn had already been a songwriting duo for six years when they teamed up with their girlfriends Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog — who were both Swedish pop stars already — to form Abba.
The two of them were hardcore about songwriting: they bought a cottage on the island of Viggsö where they could focus on making their music and lyrics as catchy as humanly possible.
"Hi, I'm Taylor," she told the crowds on her Red tour. I'm told I have a lot of feelings." Swift's first three albums display her emotional yet uncommonly inventive country style — even early hits like "Our Song" and "Tim Mc Graw" sound like nobody else.
"Each song had to be different," Andersson said in 2002, "because, in the Sixties, that's what the Beatles had done.The challenge was to not do another 'Mamma Mia' or 'Waterloo.'" Ulvaeus's lyrics grew progressively darker over the course of Abba's career, even as the band became so unbelievably popular that they were able to release an 18-song greatest hits album simply called Number Ones.