Every generation needs its poets and here's the 23 musical scribes who define 2010.

Meanwhile, you can vote for the best lyricists ever here.

Words: Emily Mackay, Matt Wilkinson, Barry Nicolson, Mark Beaumont, Laura Snapes, Dan Martin, Sam Wolfson, Martin Robinson, Jaimie Hodgson


From the neighbourhoods of New Jersey through the streets of Philadelphia, this 60-year-old is still working on a dream

The Boss’ work is populated by characters, but even when writing in his own voice, his cinematic commentary on blue-collar American life feels like a series of HBO dramas playing out inside four minutes. Whether that be the desperate man of ‘Born To Run’ or the anti-hero ‘Outlaw Pete’ from 2009’s ‘Working On A Dream’, he’s made it his business to tell the stories of people beaten down by the American dream. DM

Key lyric: “So you’re scared and you’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young any- more/Show a little faith there’s magic in the night/You ain’t a beauty but hey you’re alright”
(‘Thunder Road’, from ‘Born To Run’, 1975)


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