this covers some ground, this question does.
examples? welll. When i first READ the lyrics to Laura Branigans version of "the power of love" (oversung simple love ballad, she had 'the voice') I thought, "Eh, how weak is THAT?" Then, when i HEARD it? wow.
Elton John? Kind of in reverse... I had always listened to tiny dancer on the radio and sang along (badly, lol). Original candle in the wind, same thing... but it worked in reverse. One day, I wrote the lyrics out listening to them both... it kind of floored me, i had for the most part only a couple lines of text. Mostly RE-sung with slight changes. I hadnt noticed before...
some of the BEST sounding songs have what, lyrics only on paper, really dont look like much...
someone already took sting.
Jeff Lynne? (he was "mister ELO")
Bernie Taupin was a lot of hit lyrics for Elton John, probably elton john himself on a few (dont know)
(trying not to repeat others i saw up there, like beatles and such obvious picks)
I always liked concept albums... so whoever, singly or collectively did:
Styx? Lot of good lyrics over a couple albums
The first ASIA album?
Alan Parsons Project
I am going to have to point out Jeff Lynne from ELO. he typically might write nearly all the lyrics and music for entire ELO albums. The TIME album was the first *CASSETTE* I ever bought.
the POIGNANT imagery in so many songs on TIME album was incredible.
21st century man... ticket to the moon... here is the news.... (others too, and other albums)
Laura Branigan was known for the B-I-G voice put to songs, but, while she had many lyricists, a lot of them were really good.
PS - did someone mention the moody blues? lol... ELO, Laura Branigan, and the moody blues were the "holy trinity" that got me into listening to music in 7th grade. before THAT, i wasnt even interested in music much.
Queensryche? while you may not like the music, the powerful IMAGERY in some of their older stuff was great.
Iron maiden? might hate heavy metal, but... the imagery and lyrics were great in a lot of the hits...