10 Greatest Rock Keyboardists / Pianists

Keyboardists were chosen for their skill, creativity, influence,
impact, musical depth & expression, and lasting popularity in 'Rock' music.
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The Top Ten

1
Keith Emerson (ELP)
HOW IS FREDDIE MERCURY (great singer but not a very good pianist) ABOVE THE KING OF THE KEYBOARD HIMSELF! Seriously just listen to karn evil 9, tarkus, take a pebble, the three fates, the endless enigma & hang on to a dream and you'll see why he's easily the greatest keyboardist of all time. You ask any keyboardist and they will tell you he is easily the greatest keyboardist/pianist of all time. Plus he obviously influenced jordan rudess, if you listen closely there's snatches of tarkus in his playing.
It's quite obvious that not very many people here have ever listened to Emerson, Lake, ^^ Palmer, because if everyone here did, I honestly think he'd be #1. It should be: Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, Ray Manzarek, Steve Winwood, ^^ Richard Wright at the top.
Keith was even better wit the Nice than with ELP. Given his fame with ELP, that tells you something about the skill of Emerson.
[Newest]Just the best. If there is a perfect rock keyboardist, that's Keith Emerson.

2Rick Wakeman (Yes)
This was close between Kieth Emerson and Rick Wakeman for me. But I am listening to Rick's version of Starship Trooper of his Fields of Green. Amazing. Keith's new version of Fanfare for the Common Man of his Three Fates Project is a close second.
I think that Jon Lord is better than Tony Banks by a little but these guys are all great the only problem I have is that I'd put Ray Manzarek above Jordan Rudess but nonetheless this is a near perfect list.
The undisputed king of all keyboardists. Just listen to his solos. Masterfully crafted and lots of them improvised!

3Tony Banks (Genesis)
Too many people vote with their hearts and not with their minds. Tony Banks IS the quintessential keyboardist in rock music. Volumes could be written on the man. He has an understanding of music and all its various and sundry components, and translates it in a way that makes ones tears runnel down their cheeks, cascade off their chin, and pool upon the floor. It is a true privilege to watch the Master at his work.
Better songwriter than Emerson, including #1 prog masterpiece, Firth of Fifth.
Tony Banks should be #1. Listen to the album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"
Look at some videos on YouTube. He carries the band and did so all through the life of the band, especially in the Peter Gabriel days of the 70s.

4Jon Lord (Deep Purple)
Technique, feeling, composition, improvisation: Jon Lord had them all. Jon's work with DP is enough to put him on top. Add the orchestra masterpieces and there is no discussion any more.
Jon could play it all, he matched every guitar solo by blackmore, and that says a lot.
The soul of deep purple a grate talent, rip.

5Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Ray should be waay upper. The way he combined the renaissance music with rock to create one of the biggest psychedelic experiences. The Doors were about three things: Astonishing vocals from Morrison, weird Robby Krieger solos, and, most of all, Manzarek's keyboards. A very intelligent musician, you just listen to Break on Through, or Light My Fire, or The End. Also he wrote great compositions.
Ray deserves much of the credit for the Door's success. Ray was classically trained and he fused the unique style of the doors. He played bass with keyboard to help keep time with his left hand while he completed the beat with his right hand. Ray is unique and underappreciated among keyboardist's...
The music that he created is not only pleasurable but also creates a particular color in our subconscious mind and indescribable combination of feelings of euphoria and melancholy. Manzarek is unsurpassed keyboardist and my great role model.
[Newest]Ray is the one of the greatest keyboardists ever he played some of the best bass lines using his left hand

6Richard Wright (Pink Floyd)
Wright practically invented the combination of sound effects and music into something never since rivaled, great gig in the sky, and various keyboard and effects throughout pipers at the gates of dawn are more than enough to rate him as the single greatest innovator of all time, especially considering his work integrating surround sound at the Games of May
How can I say.. Richard was that piece of paper that Gilmour, Waters and Mason were performing and writing their notes. HE was creating all the atmosphere behind, that background filled with hidden keyboad notes. Richard was as important as Gilmour and Waters. Plus, he was much more dedicated to the band that them, and never went to court for song rights. Anyway, I think he deserves better ranking. This is unfair.
Technically he may not be as 'gifted' as some of the other great musicians, on this page, but you've got to give him credit for his role in revolutionizing the role of keyboards in the modern rock band - RIP, you legend.
[Newest]One of the most underrated musicians of all time.

7Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater)
Composes classical music, invents/creates both new electronic instruments and software packages... AND plays as well as anyone who has ever stroked the electric keys... Listen to your favorite keyboardist and THEN check out some of the videos online of Jordan playing... And weep... ;0)
Rudess is a monster. He's fast, technical, melodic and will do things with a keyboard that will put a smile on your face. He's crazy, but also a complete genius in this field. Emerson might be your hero, but Rudess will always be the God of Keyboards.
Rudess is a complete genius! No one can even match his technical ability! He is the number 1 for sure!
[Newest]Rudess is one for sure.

8Dick Sims
Dick Sims is certainly THE BEST! His playing is styled impeccably and he was a natural from birth. I don't see Dick as number 20 on here! He is the ONLY NUMBER ONE... THE BEST OF THE BEST! Dick could play anything beautifully. I could hang on every chord and float in the clouds listening... Yes it's DICKEY SIMS!
Dick Sims had the feel for the keys like no other! Eric "Slow Hand" Clapton was lucky to have him as long as he did! R.I.P. dick Sims
The best I have ever heard. Also great song writer.
[newest]
His music will go down in history some day

9Freddie Mercury (Queen)
Top 2 in vocals now top 3 in piano ¿
I can say that Freddie is a great musician who ever live before. Id like to learn to play piano too and try to play bohemian rhapsody first...
Great! I love this guy!

10Patrick Moraz (Refugee, Yes)

The Contenders

11Eddie Jobson (UK)

12Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers)

13Thijs Van Leer (Focus)

14Steve Winwood (Traffic)
yea good stuff. he needs more votes. good stuff. very good stuff. please vote up. good stuff. yes. I love this guy. good stuff.

15John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
In the light, your time is gonna come, no quarter and somethin' else (Eddie Cochran cover). These are just a few examples of jonsey's genius.

16David Bryan (Bon Jovi)
Are you kidding me. He plays 5 keyboards at a time and improvises each show! Amazing technique and playing. Plus Memphis is a piece of work. I dare anyone to play that piece as well as him as well some other piano versions of the full rock band songs!
You gotta be kidding me. He should be in the top 7. He is the package. Bon Jovi is a great band and he has such a chemistry with richie and tico. Creates songs. Hits the solo instead of sambora
David is the best in the world
I love to hear David Bryan play the keyboards. He's awesome!

17Janne Johannes Puurtinen (HIM)
Never saw anybody playing so cool but still letting so many emotions tae part.
There's just one word about janne jonannes puurtinen- EPIC.

18Al Kooper (Blood Sweat & Tears)

19Matt Bellamy (Muse)
That man is a genius. let the breathtaking vocals, the songwriting skills etc aside. he is a true artist. he composes music and the piano is just extraordinary. the way he manages to combine the soft sound of the instrument with the unique and intense songs of the band is so brilliant. just listen to all his live performances (like sunburn live at glastonbury) or his symphonies (like exogenesis symphony) and you'll feel me!
Extraordinary pianist and it shows in many of their songs (if you don't know what I'm talking about listen to Piano thing or Butterflies and Hurricanes. ) He was also aiming to be a concert pianist before muse formed.
Fantastic pianist and guitarist. His skill set is extraordinary and he deserves to me much higher on the list.

20Elton John
This list is comical. Freddie mercury above a twentieth ranked elton, who is unmatched on piano in rock history. Who needs rodney dangerfield for laughs when all I need to do is look up one of these ridiculous lists. !

21Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)

22Danny Federici

23Nicky Hopkins (Rolling Stones)

24Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

25David Paich (Toto)
Great composer! Technically not as good as Jordan Rudess, but his songwriting talent is huge! Listen to the Toto song "Jake To The Bone"... Good stuff!

26Jonathan Cain (The Babys, Journey)

27Jesse Carmicheal (Maroon 5)

28Woolly Wolstenholme (Barclay James Harvest)

29Billy Joel

30Dennis DeYoung (Styx)

31Billy Preston

32Geddy Lee (Rush)

33Mike Pinder (Moody Blues)

34Steve Porcaro (Toto)

35Chuck Leavell

36Ian McLagan (Faces)

37Robert Lamm (Chicago)

38Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey)

39Gregg Allman

40Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane)

41Ben Folds
Best rock n' roll pianist of the last 20 years. Jerry Lee Lewis piano playing which turns into Elton John and Billy Joel for the slow songs.

42Franz Nicolay

43Josh Balz (Motionless in White)

44Andrew Dost

45Allen Lanier

46Madonna Wayne Gacy

47Jason Freese

48Vadim Pruzhanov (DragonForce)

49Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers)

50Doug Johnson (Loverboy)

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This list was created 3 years, 124 days ago and has been voted on over 400 times. This top ten list has been remixed 2 times.

Updated Wednesday, November 26, 2014


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