Some bands have one primary songwriter. Others hash out most of their songs collaboratively (or pretend to), so you can’t really tell who’s contributing what. But a relatively unusual situation is when a group has three distinct songwriters: often two of them will be working in partnership, either artistic (e.g. the Beatles) or romantic (e.g. Sonic Youth). The third songwriter has to fight for space and glory–but if they deliver, then they can be the group’s secret weapon. All hail the third bananas! Five of the greatest:
1. George Harrison (the Beatles)
2. Christine McVie (Fleetwood Mac)
3. Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth)
4. Ron Wood (the Rolling Stones)
5. John Oates (Hall and Oates)
Poor John Oates–he’s the third-biggest songwriter in a two-man band (Hall’s ex Sara Allen was his collaborator on many hits).