4 Female Songwriters Who Wrote Major Hits From the Last Century

Unless your favorite musician is a songwriter, many of their top hits were likely written by other people. In fact, many of the biggest and most recognizable songs of the last century were penned by someone other than the musician or band that became famous for them. And these four female songwriters wrote major hits that you would probably recognize (and jam to) today.

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1. Cindy Walker

She’s been called one of the greatest country songwriters in the world, and she wrote thousands of songs up until her death in 2006. Cindy Walker started out as a singer but found that her real talent was in writing songs. 

She wrote a wide range of hits, from Gene Autry’s “Blue Canadian Rockies” to Jim Reeves’ “Take Me In Your Arms And Hold Me”. Her music has since been covered by Elvis, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, and more. Walker was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the late 1990s, and she certainly deserved it.

2. Diane Warren

Diane Warren started her career writing song lyrics for Laura Branigan, notably the hits “Solitaire” and “Rhythm Of The Night”. Warren was the first songwriter to pen seven chart-topping hits for seven respective artists at the same time. She has written for the likes of Cher, Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Britney Spears, and even Beyonce. And it doesn’t look like she’s retired quite yet, either.

3. Allee Willis

Most people know the theme song to the show Friends. You can thank the incomparable Allee Willis for that. She’s written music for film and TV for years and also has some respectable writing credits for Broadway tunes and documentaries. She’s written for Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Holliday, and many more. Willis passed away in 2019.

4. Sylvia Moy

Sylvia Moy has been credited with saving Stevie Wonder’s career. The struggling young musician was at risk of being dropped by Motown Records in 1959, but Moy believed in him. She wrote “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” for Wonder, and his rendition of the song became a chart-topping hit. She wrote a number of songs for him throughout her career, as well as some songwriting credits for The Isley Brothers. Moy is still considered one of the best female songwriters to write major hits in the last 100 years.

Photo by Josh Komitzky and Malachi Barnes

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