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

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!
[Newest]Wakeman plays 10 boards at a time

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.
[Newest]Simply the best ever!

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.

5Jordan 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.
If Jordan Rudess is not #1... You simply haven't watched/listened to him play.
[Newest]Rudess is one for sure.

6Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
There are many amazing organ players in this list, all of them capable of composing and creating great music. Most of these artists were of the proggressive rock era and they were keyboard gods in their own right. However if you ask me ray manzarek deserves more credit and deserves to be higher on the list. The reason for that is not only was he able to create some of the greatest solos and riffs of rock (light my fire, when the musics over, love street, downbound train etc. ) that are beautiful enought to rival the best of the prog rock I believe he had something besides amazing solos. First of all nearly all of that doors sound was built on his organ work. The thing about that is that while many other artists did similar things I believe simply being able to do what he did with Jim Morrisons lyrics is more than enough. I mean his work and morrison's lyrics go so well together and I doubt anyone else would succeed like he did. He created a psychedelic sound unlike anything else of that time, or the sound of today. His work both enpowered the beautiful lyrics of Jim Morrison, and also created a psychedelic experience that is unique. It was not shadowing the lyrics, but was very noticable as well. It was simply just what was needed and that level of musical understanding and psychedelic sound is something not really easy to obtain. I wont even speak about his left hand bass lines which drove the song or his amazing solo work. Peace ^^
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...
[Newest]Ray is the best

7Richard 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.

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...
Mr Mercury's top ten should be for best voices in Rock and Roll or Best
Rocked unitards ever, until David Lee Roth wore his

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.

15Woolly Wolstenholme (Barclay James Harvest)

16John 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.

17David 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!
[Newest]Deserves the top spot

18Janne 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.

19Al Kooper (Blood Sweat & Tears)

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. !
Elton should be number one if you go by what they said the criteria is but then again does Elton care? He is still at the top of his game, selling out concerts, top 10 CDs while the rest of theses guys on the list are just a footnote and GONE.

21Matt 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.

22David 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!
The melodic base of this great band lies greatly on keyboards played by Mr. Paich

23Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park)
Numb, In The End, My December, From The Inside, Iridescent...
Enough said =)
Best Pianist and Rapper.
Linkin Park Rocks!

24Nicky Hopkins (Rolling Stones)

25Danny Federici

26Billy Powell (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

27Billy Joel

28Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey)

29Jonathan Cain (The Babys, Journey)

30Dennis DeYoung (Styx)

31Jesse Carmicheal (Maroon 5)

32Billy Preston

33Geddy Lee (Rush)
Geddy Lee is one of the most disciplined and hardworking rock and rollers of all times.

34Mike Pinder (Moody Blues)

35Steve Porcaro (Toto)

36Chuck Leavell

37Ian McLagan (Faces)

38Robert Lamm (Chicago)

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)

51Manfred Mann
Being so long into the music business, one of the first to use minimoog synth and still playing. listen to Mighty Quinn with the Earth band

52Billy Corgan
If there is one thing that gets me mad, it's how under appreciated Billy Corgan is. Just listen to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and Adore, and you'll see how great Corgan really is.

53Micky Lee Soule (Rainbow)

54Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

55Dizzy Reed

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This list was created 3 years, 274 days ago and has been voted on over 500 times. This top ten list has been remixed 2 times.

Updated Saturday, April 25, 2015

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