Greatest Keyboard Player Of All-Time

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The Top Ten

1
Keith Emerson
I have seen all the great Rock keyboardist and literally there is Keith Emerson and all the rest. The greatest technical player, Hell he plays complex Bach pieces with a 200lb organ on top of him upside down! REALlY!

His piano playing is extraordinary, but his mastery of the Hammond Organ is absolute Genius. Not mention he innovation with synthesizers.
I have been a professional musician (keyboard session/studio) and no one comes close to Keith. I see comments about other players like he can play two keyboards at one time... My dog can play two keyboards at one time. Wakeman's left hand is no where near the dexterity or speed of Keith's in the day. Keith played contrapuntal leads, when no one else did and most couldn't. So let's start the list over with Keith at number's one and two. One for his right hand and two for his left, and then let's proceed.
Just listen to the the end of "Fugue" in the middle of "The Endless Enigma". Incredible piano piece followed with a wonderful synth flurry. Should always be number 1.
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2Rick Wakeman
Not only was Rick a pioneer in keyboard playing - he's still got incredible talent and can deliver top-quality music live. The same cannot be said for Keith Emerson who, while once an awesome exponent, is not longer able to match his earlier capabilities. I know this is largely due to a physical condition with nerve damage to his hand, but we have to rely on his past performances. Rick is still up there - brilliant after such a long career.
While Rick & Keith are of similar talent, Rick's catalogue of compositions seems a little deeper. Physical dexterity & speed are difficult to argue now... Both have paid a heavy price from years of playing... Keith had to have an operation on pinched nerves in his right elbow... No info getting from his brain to his 4th & 5th fingers... Not much improvement after... In performance I still see those two fingers curled under most of the time. All of us have our bodies betray us eventually. It's like fighting over Mozart vs Beethoven.
Rick is loaded with talent, and is by far the greatest keyboard player to ever live. Sorry Keith Emerson, but once gaining a bunch of attention by acting like a wild nut on stage does not compare to the true talent, and pure musicianship owned by none other than the keyboard wizard... The caped one... Mr. Rick Wakeman. Rick's compositions are very inspiring and still very popular today. Rick continues to perform at his high standard, and owns the title "Best Keyboard Player to Live."
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3Yoshiki Hayashi
The greatest keyboard player of all time!
Yoshiki Hayashi you are the best keyboardist... Yoshiki Hayashi makes look playing keyboard so easy... But in real its not an easy task... Yoshiki Hayashi you're the best
The greatest pianist, drummer, composer all time. His creations range from classic, orchestral pieces to heavy metal song.

kurotenshi

Definitely Yoshiki. He plays piano as good as he plays his drum

kurenai_tenshi

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4Jordan Rudess
the people who didn't vote for him (or other great keyboardist), voted for a stupid the keyboardist from an stupid band like X Japan; one of the most overrated bands in TheTopTens....

by the way, ALL the members in DREAM THEATER are great: James LaBrie has a really awesome voice, John Petrucci is a real shredder who always gives a great feeling to his solos, John Myung has a great power for the bass, Mike Portnoy is one of the greatest drummers ever (to bad he left the band) and JORDAN RUDESS has made great keyboard performances...

rock2metal

truly a Versatile Keyboard player, graduated from juilliard, he is in my opinion one of the best keyboard players, he has so much technique and so much versatility in his playing, he can literally play just about everything ranging from cartoon music to the most complex compositions, not to mention his innovative mind including his new iphone app "morphwiz"
and the use of new tools all the time
Let's be honest here. Technical skill is something that almost EVERY keyboardist on this list possesses. However, what sets Jordan Rudess apart for me is just the true RANGE of things he does with this technique.

From orchestral to ambient, from classical to the prog metal that most know him for, this guy tries to do everything, and almost always succeeds.

Heck, he even goes as far to design new software to bring even further innovation to the keyboard scene.

It's this kind of dedication that truly marks a legend in music.
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5Chick Corea
This guy can really play compose and piano and keyboards in classical, jazz and fusion styles. Truly incredibly talented!

6Tony Banks
Inspired by the likes of Rachmaninoff and hailed as the 'chord master' by fellow Genesis member Steve Hackett, he has a personal style and some of his traits are now quite popular, such as adding the 4th on a triad on the 3rd inversion. Has always done all the keyboard programming himself and has always had a distinctive sound as well as style which singles him out as an outstanding individual. Quite sensitive to the needs of each piece of music, the overall soundscape has been top priority and virtuosity has been just one of many devices as well as his unique method of using the cross-hand technique. Yes, other can play 'faster' but Tony's passion for his music supersedes technique for the sake of showing off technique. The music's all that matters for Tony so all in all he stands at number 1 in my chart, and always will.
He is not only keyboard player. But melody and harmonics maker.
Tony use his hands and keyboard very effectively, he makes very distinctive chords.. I can recognize his keyboard playing even with only one bar...
He is the mastermind in music compositions of Genesis.
I love Tony Banks' tasteful playing and compositions.
He is considered as the best keyboardist.. although he never expose himself too much.
The keyboard player who isn't just about playing fast. He is a master of melodies, and he also uses a lot of interesting chords. My vote definitely goes to Tony Banks. He defined the sound of early Genesis.
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7Jonathan Cain
He wrote the parts for When You Love A Woman, Don't Stop Believin, Open Arms, and Who's Crying now. What more do you need?
hes a fantastic actor whom takes to his role extremly well

The best keyboardist ever! He makes Journey happen!
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8Jon Lord
Jordan Rudess is good, but he can't hold his own against Jon Lord's genius. Also, Yoshiki Hayashi? Really? X Japan is a pretty good band and I like them, but Yoshiki ain't no Ray Manzarek or Jon Lord.

Deep Purple will greatly miss him, as his keyboard parts were an integral part of the classic sound. The riffs sounded better thanks to him.
The greatest keyboard/organ player of all time!

Deep Purple and Jon Lord forever!
My favorite organist! Look at the diversity in playing. Also very fast and mostly very melodic!
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9Richard Wright
He was a great musician! For example, he learned music alone and never had teacher! His main influence was Miles Davis and "A Kind of Blue". He was the soul of Pink Floyd when David Gilmour was its heart and Waters its brain! He used many new material at the time and showed many habilities into playing Hammond organ, Moog synth, Farsifa, EMS synth, mellotron, ARP and even piano! He also played on many keyboards to obtain the lush introduction of " Shine on you crazy diamond", he used a Leslie effect on "Echoes", used all the keyboards he had on "Sysyphus", wrote "The great gig in the sky" for on organ, he was an influence for many keyboardists including Gong's Tim Blake, Porcupine Tree's Richard Barbieri and even Camel's Peter Bardens! And I can tell you a thousand things about him!
Definitely should be number one. He mastered keyboards with samplers in the Floyd's early days, (Piper at the gates of dawn, Meddle, etc.. Etc.. ) and then explored new territory with the Synthi A on what are considered their masterpieces:"The Dark Side of the Moon", "Wish you were Here", and "Animals". On top of that he had his own successful solo career. I am saying this not just as a Pink Floyd fan, but as a keyboard player myself, with many other influences, (Billy Preston, Miles Davis, Brian Wilson). As was mentioned in other comments, his modesty is the other half, of what makes him a legend.
P.S. this seems a bit too much, but I'm just a really big fan.
Syd Barret invented Pink Floyd, whereas Rich Wright was the essence, the atmosphere, the aura, the soul. You can realize that on all Floyd's masterpieces, after Barret, the structure of the music is from him. Echoes, A Saucerful of Secrets, Summer' 68, Us and Them, Welcome to the Machine, The Great Gig in the Sky... Top 3 for sure.
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10Ray Manzarek
Ray is the most underrated member of the doors considering he probably the most work (organ, bass, backing vocals). I love his classical Bach-Influenced organ solos and rhodes-basslines that no ordinary bassist could have a hope of playing! And I envy his sideburns!
He is amazing. The fact that he was able to come up with the riff from Light My Fire by just screwing around on the organ for a while is truly incredible.
If you would have spent more time listening to good bands like the doors instead of crappy 1s like x japan you would know that would whip their mostly drummer.

russian

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The Contenders

11David Bryan
Absolutely the best keyboard and pianist ever, playing since the age of 6, composing musical scores, as well as the writing and composing of songs for Bon Jovi. His interaction with the audience is simply outstanding, he always has a smile for his fans. He is energetic, a true entertainer. He is a gentleman who deserves recognition for his outstanding talent and contribution to music
Easily the most talented keyboardists I have ever heard. And NO not just with his stuff with Bon Jovi.. Also his solo stuff and his music on broadway. This guy is a mega talent who can do anything and play anything he wants... After hearing all his body of work it becomes patently clear it would be a BIG mistake to underestimate or pigeon hole David. He is a legend on the keys pure and simple!
The most talented keyboard player and his able to play multiple keyboards at the same time. His live performance is something very energetic and he contact audience amazingly!

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12Peter Bardens

13Kerry Minnear
Gentle Giant are at the top of over-the-top...
Royal College of Music anyone?
He is number one!

14Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish)
He brings soul to his songs while playing keyboard. Thus may be not the most technical keyboardist, but Tuomas always is my favorite. He is beethoven of contemporain era.
I admire Tuomas because of his multi-talented ability to write catch songs that last a life time and charging forward above and beyond all other keyboard players with his revolutionary beats
He is the driving force for his band and I couldn't see Nightwish withouth him in it. Singers Change and Guitarists may change but Tuomas will always be the best thing that has ever happened to them. Hands down the best Keyboard player ever if not for that alone.
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15Tom Coster

16Joe Zawinul
Greatest Jazz keyboard player and a composer of genius.
Weather Report keyboards along with Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra with Correa and Hammer respectively set a bar that has yet to be and questionably ever will be surpassed.

17Dave Brubeck

18Eddie Jobson
One of the most gifted keyboard player and performers of all time... Also played with Roxy Music at 17-years old replacing Eno... Technically flawless.
Eddie should be in the top three, behind Emerson and Wakeman.
Curved Air, Zappa, UK, Yes, Jethro Tull...

19Herbie Hancock

20Janne Wirman
I love Children of Bodom for the music, all very very talented. No doubt the most talented around at the moment. Janne is incredible, the speed is insane. Duels with lead guitarist Alexi Laiho are impressive. Laiho one of the best guitar players alive also
Give me one keyboardist that can play as fast as Wirman. Just listen to Children of Bodom's cover of Slayer's "Silent Scream" or their songs "Kissing the Shadows" and "In Your Face". He's the best shredder on keyboard, no doubt of that.
The best keyboard player of all time just looking at him when he played the keyboard, just one word comes out from mouth awesome. Cob is the only band that have perfect combinations of musicians.
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21Tom Waits

22Elton John
No better rock/pop pianist!
The best in pop rock, no other

23Nicky Hopkins

24Billy Joel
How is Billy Joel not top 5?

Come on this is crazy

To many hits to list jon cain #2 give me a break
Strangest key board list of all time

25Gregg Rolie
IMO, the greatest keyboard player of them all.

26Stephen Devassy
He is one of the best classical - western keyboardist player in india
My god his fingure is going a magic my all wishes stepehen all indians support and blessing for
He is one of the best in india
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27John Paul Jones

28Rod Argent

29Jens Johansson
His Music is something that you just canĀ't put in words. Speed, Technique, Feelings. And he also explode toilets.
He's a top ten must be!

30Alan Wilder
Downright shame Alan Wilder is placed at 30. Top 15 easy. Depeche Mode isn't Depeche Mode without Alan. Check out the albums Wilder was apart of and you see the major contribution he made not only to Depeche, but to Synthpop/Electronic music.
He's not just a keyboardist, he's a drummer and the best atmospheric producer ever! listen to Depeche Mode's SOFAD album and you'll understand
Watch the live performances with Depeche Mode. You can't even see his fingers cause they're moving so fast.
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31Steve Winwood
In my opinion he should be in the top ten for sure. I think he is one of the most underrated musicians of all time, and this list certainly doesn't help his cause. He can play everything but his keyboard/organ skills are amazing!
Best multi instrument player

32Nick Rhodes
Writes music, unique style. Nick is still in business, with thirty plus years and still going strong.
Best in the business. Also the best looking!

33Ronald Jenkees

Ronald Jenkees is very unknown and VERY underrated. He is undoubtedly one of the best of his time. He has his own flow, his own style that is incredible and unique. You can FEEL his music. It touches the soul.


34Vadim Pruzinhov

OBVIOUSLY THE BEST KEYBOARD PLAYER. MAN! HE HAS SPEED, TECHNO, TIMING, MELODY AND EVERYTHING ONE NEEDS TO BE THE BEST.
NO OTHER KEYBOARD PLAYER CAN EVER BEAT VADIM.
HE IS SIMPLY THE BEST.

he is epic! maybe not as good as the guy from children of bodom though.
DRAGONFORCE RULE!


35Mike Shinoda
Mike deserves a plane between 1-10 because he's one of the best mixer as well as a great keyboardist... Have of the Linkin Park's mixing job is done by him and Joe Hahn!... Mike rules!
He is the best keyboardist and works well with samplers and synthesizer. He is a allrounder. A guitarist, keyboardist, Turn tabler... And a long a list! He deserves to be in top 10!
Mike deserves to be in top 10

36Dave Greenfield
Just listen to no more heroes and you'll see why he's definitely one of the best keyboardists around. Plus he's a punk keyboardist.
Unique... His sound created by him.. Others followed a trend he went it alone and that's what makes the stranglers what they are today...
If you ever listened to the Stranglers, then you would know he's one of the greatest ever...

37Freddie Mercury
Freddie should be higher on this list! Take me to The Seven Seas of Rhye!

38Neil Doughty

39Frederic Chopin

40Kiyo (Janne Da Arc)

He has super fast fingers!


41Yanni
The best keyboard player in the earth

42Ludwig van Beethoven

43Michael Pinnella
Yes he does deserve to be one of the best ten but people don't even know him.
That's the problem.
Or know him and too stupid to realize.
Probably the most underrated keyboardist.
Deserves to be one of the best ten.

44Benmont Tench

Probably the most underrated keyboard player anywhere. The reason? He doesn't overplay. Just plays what is needed for the song and nothing more.

Listen to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and tell me this guy isn't top 5


45Chris Martin
Greatest pianist of all time. How could there be another choice...
Chris Martin is a master at keyboards and makes beutiful music with them

46Kevin Codfert (Adagio)
Listen to anything on the album underworld and you will understand.

deadgrass27


47Billy Powell

48Billy Preston
Billy Preston (the only musician to work with both the Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers" & the Beatles "Let it be") has more soul than any other keyboard player I've heard. Take a listen of "that's the way god planned it" from George Harrison's Bangladesh Concert, Just beautiful.
He has played with the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton
The music this man played was truely inspired. "That's the way God planned it" is incredible.

49Bernie Worrell

50Ken Hensley
Great keyboardist ranks with Jon Lord as the best in the Heavy Keyboard Department!

51Franz Liszt

52Richard Clayderman

53Oscar Peterson
Yeah, I know... Most of you are going "who? " laugh out loud @ some of the people on this list, thanks for the laughs
Yep, no one, NO ONE, can match Oscar Peterson's virtuosity!
How do you add to this list. Oscar was # 1. Charlie Banacos was # 2. Trust Me!

54Vangelis
Why in the world this guy is not on this list is beyond me.

55Lyle Mays

Lyle Mays doesn't make even the top 10? Lyle is the true number ONE! The masses as usual do not have a clue. Such an absolute genius & supernaturally gifted keyboard player who has been willingly/happily subject to an even greater gift(Pat Metheny of course) all these years speaks volumes for his love, passion & respect for TRUE music. MVW


56Trent Reznor

the founder and only lasting member of Nine Inch Nails, and How To Destroy Angels. He deserves a spot on here for his inspiration to other musicians in the dark, industrial, electro, community and bands.

xaxismusic


57Roy Bittan

58Liam Howlett

59Johann Sabastian Bach

60Tim Rice-Oxley

61Seth Justman
Can't put a number on him or anyone for that matter but Seth justman was author of some pretty tasteful b3 solos and some funk blues infused piano.

62Tomo Milicevic

63Bill Paine

Great keyboard player and band leader. If only you can spell his name correctly. Billy Payne

Bill Paine of Little Feat has to be one of the top five rock piano players of all time. Incredible virtuosity.


64Martin Gore
Creativ music composer that can produce beatiful "destroyed" sounds

65Richard Tee

66Yuhki Kuramoto

67Mark Stein

68Amy Lee

69Mike Pinder
Defined the unique sound of a band (Moody Blues) through arrangement, performance, and technical know-how to an extent no one has with any other band.
He is truly amazing.

70Kiki Djan

71Martin Hedin

72Stevie Wonder

73Glen Gould
He should be number 1 beside chopin

74Bobby Laquidara
This guy is sublime. He is a phenomenal multi keyboard player. I think he is from the Boston/New Hampshire area.

75Johnny Greenwood

76Liz Story

77Dietrich Buxtehude

78Gary Brooker

An innovative player with Procul Harem who rarely wrote lyrics but created music around them. A super talent who etched lasting memories of his keyboard prowess


79Ray Charles

80Roger O'Donnell

81Joe Sample

People if there's anyone that has featured with the world's best Guitar player, George Benson is it this man, very experienced from classical to JAZZ, which is his favourite actually.


82Daijiro "DIE" Nozawa

83Jason Freese

84Vitalij Kuprij

85Richard Tandy

86Kevin Moore
Dream Theater, Chromakey, OSI

87Matt Bellamy

88Allan Zavod
Keyboardist with Frank Zappa, Jean-Luc Ponty, Glen Miller Orch. Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson,

89Josh Silver
The keyboardist for Type O Negative really understood how this instrument should be played. The atmospheric qualities he brings to his music and his technique are amazing.

90Ashley Ellyllon

91Barry Manilow

92Romel Ali
He is from Bangladesh. Played piano with Air Supply and many other renown bands of the world.

93Kitaro

94Don Airey

95Hiromi
Best Keyboard player and musician on Earth today.

96Jimmy Smith
His playing on a Hammond B3, timeless!

97Rick Van Der Linden
Superb keyboardplayer with Ekseption and Trace. Very underrated!

98Chuck Leavell

99Robert Lamm

100Tomita

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This list was created 5 years, 260 days ago and has been voted on over 3,000 times. This top ten list contains 106 items, has been remixed 3 times.

Updated Sunday, April 20, 2014


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