That the musicians who took the journey with him all the way to his eventual suicide would go on to reinvent themselves in New Order as among the brightest, most engaging songwriters of the era was an extraordinary achievement.
Classic lyric: 'Existence well what does it matter?
Tales of thwarted sexual longing wrapped in enigmatic literary references are carried on reverberating waves of sound.
George Ivan Morrison was born in Belfast in 1945 and had written a bona fide rock classic, Gloria, for his band Them while still in his teens.
'When Paul felt like it, he would come in with about 20 songs and say, "We're recording." And I suddenly had to write a f---ing stack of songs.
"Sgt Pepper" was like that.' It can't have been easy being in a band with a songwriter as gifted as Paul Mc Cartney, but during their time together Lennon would write many of the Beatles' greatest songs, including Day Tripper, All You Need is Love and Strawberry Fields Forever.
Classic lyric: 'I know it's stupid, to be mad about the boy,/ I'm so ashamed of it, but must admit the sleepless nights I've had/ About the boy.' (Mad About the Boy, 1932) 8 Ian Curtis/New Order If your only knowledge of Joy Division had come from the film Closer, you could be forgiven for thinking that the band were a set of Manc music obsessives with a troubled singer.
But a deeper image emerges from the band's final album, from which the film's title was taken, of an important late 20th-century artist confronting the extremes of human experience in songs such as Heart and Soul and The Eternal.
12 Queen Freddie Mercury wrote Bohemian Rhapsody, John Deacon wrote I Want to Break Free and Brian May wrote Flash and Fat Bottomed Girls.