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But when they took a stab at disco with 1975's "Jive Talkin'," their career kicked into an even higher gear.
Besides their own hits (including a string of six consecutive Number Ones), the brothers wrote the title song for Grease, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream," Barbra Streisand's "Guilty," and Destiny's Child's "Emotion." "We see ourselves first and foremost as composers, writing for ourselves and other people," Robin Gibb said.
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.
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.
(Only she could slip the line "Any snide remarks from my father about your tattoos will be ignored" into a teen romance like "Ours.") But she's really hit her stride with the pop mastery of Red and 1989, especially on confessional ballads like "Clean" and "All Too Well." There's no limit to where she can go from here.
America first discovered the Bee Gees with the 1977 disco soundtrack Saturday Night Fever.Maybe it's his family's blue-collar background or the years he spent delivering mail before becoming a full-time musician.But John Prine has always had the innate ability to emphatically capture the highs, lows and occasional laughs of everyday Americans and fringe characters: the drug-addled vet in "Sam Stone," the lonely older folks in "Angel from Montgomery" and "Hello in There." One of a group of early Seventies singer-songwriters to get pegged with the unfortunate tag "New Dylan," Prine has written poignant songs of romantic despair ("Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"), songs that sound like centuries-old mountain ballads ("Paradise") and ribald comic masterpieces aimed at advice columns and various crazies.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.One of Nashville's most overtly political songwriters, he was a liberal who recorded "Watergate Blues" and turned a drink in a bar after the 1972 Democratic convention into a Number One country hit called "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine." "I couldn't write the 'Darling, you left alone and blue' or 'I'm drunk in this bar and crying' [songs]— I just didn't get it," he once said. Blackwell subsequently gave Elvis "All Shook Up" and "Return to Sender," and wrote a cluster of hits for other artists, including "Great Balls of Fire" for Jerry Lee Lewis.