Memorable melodies, great counterpoint in his bass lines. PM always gives a child-like simplicity and fun to the music. I always keep this in mind when writing - music is supposed to be fun!
Beautiful jazz-influenced melodies and harmonies - pop standards. I can't really put a finger on where Bachrach's style comes from...Jobim? Milhaus? Either way you can always tell it's him. BB once said he always strives to write a melody that people can sing while walking down the street. I like that.
Another jazz influenced composer whose melodies and harmonic vocabulary are cutting edge but so accessible. That's what they thought about Bach in the 1600's. Only geniuses can walk that fine line. And Stevie has done it decade after decade. How can one man be so talented? How can one man give so much beauty to the world? SW was blind so that we could see.
Townes Van Zandt
I love TVZ because b/c his songs are like dirty lace (yes I made up that bad analogy). His lyrics are the "lace" finely crafted and with detailed imagery. The music is the "dirt" - simple and folky. Hidden sophistication. I once read that TVZ could never get his songs on the radio in his early days because people told him his music was too good for the radio. I guess that is one type of discrimination.
The highwayman. Once again, a case of hidden sophistication. If you look at Webb's lyrics alone they are beautiful. If you analyze his changes, they are complex. Yet his music appeals to the common man. Brilliant.