The Two Singers Billy Joel Picked As The Best Songwriters Of The ’90s

Surely, everyone has their picks when someone pops a question about which songwriters should be among the finest, and Billy Joel was no exception. The singer had his personal name pool when it came to mentioning his favorite rockers, and two particular names stood out from his list as Joel named them the best songwriters of the late ’80s.

Rolling Stone was interviewing Billy in 1986 when this revelation came, and the topic surfaced after the rocker was asked whether he had been enjoying any new music and what his opinions were about the other contemporary singers, as Joel believed there had been plenty of great rockers throughout many decades.

However, he noted that only two figures had managed to turn themselves into prolific songwriters and well-established composers with their knack for writing and arranging original tunes. It was the mid-to-late ’80s, after all, when Joel praised these musicians, and it sounded like they had influenced the rocker and changed his perspective on songwriting.

So, when the host asked Billy what he thought about Sting and the Police, the singer couldn’t help but praise the British rocker for his talent for composing. He then also quickly appreciated Elvis Costello‘s talent in songwriting while calling the two rockers the finest of their generations and mentioning how they affected his musical perspective.

Joel’s words on liking Sting and naming him and Costello as the best songwriters of the late 80s:

“Yeah, [I like] Sting, definitely. I think the two greatest songwriters right now are Elvis Costello and Sting. Elvis Costello specifically for lyrics, and Sting specifically for music. Those two guys have definitely had an impact on me and how I perceive the writing I’m doing. Sting brought a jazz consciousness out.”

The singer felt that Sting and Elvis had quite an impact on him with their arrangements and lyrics and influenced his own writing process. He saw the two rockers as two of the finest lyricists at the time, discussing how the British rockers had different qualities in songwriting and composing, which turned them into influential musicians.