Paul Simon- Was more significant during 'Simon & Garfunkle' period. Just a few AM hits in the 70's, and I don't care about his African music experiment, know many who do it so much better.
Phil Collins- He commercialized and turned Genesis into a 'hit single' band, & then he became one of the music fat cats, turning out solo fluff.
Elton John- He was huge and successful 1970-1976, then faded. He never should have come out of the closet, seemed it effected his music.
James Taylor- Popular on 'adult radio', some of his songs were ok, but not like I own any of his albums.
Bob Dylan- No one on this board will understand how big of an influence he was on music in the 60's, he was right up there with the Beatles.
He was still relevant in the 70's too. I rate him #1 off the artists listed here.
Paul McCartney- As Lennon/McCartney one of the greatest songwriting teams in history of music. Solo? He can create good pop singles, but just not my cup of tea.
Billy Joel- This guy once called himself the 'Jimi Hendrix' of the keyboards' WTF? I lost respect for him right there...he is nothing more than another artist that puts out 'pop' singles.
John Lennon- Again, as Lennon/McCartney, there was no equal in songwriting. Solo? Had some good songs, and stood up for his anti-war beliefs, but still better in the Beatles.
So, keep in mind, I am looking at all the above artists as having lived through the years they were relevant. Obviously Lennon/McCartney would be #1 followed by Bob Dylan. 'Pop' was an ugly word to us 'serious' music listeners in the late 60's, early 70's. But today, ALL of the above artists are worlds better than any of the crap on radio today. Hate to say it, but 'video' and MTV was the beginning of the end- suddenly, you could become popular by looking good in a video, even if you played 'crap'.