Best Rock n Roll Pianistsfortnight
The Top Ten
When Elton is playing he is not from this world. There must be more depth in this human being than any of us can imagine. Simply listen to an older album like 'Madman across the water' or see one of his shows with Ray Cooper. There is profound intelligence in his playing, every single note will be effectively accentuated, he's got so much feeling and even in the midst of the most dramatic pattern there is stillness and space. Never before (and probably never again) will there be a better contribution to modern music. Glenn Gould (classic) and Oscar Peterson (jazz) were also examples for that from where music comes from must not necessarily be this world. But Elton combines it all. In other words, just reduce Elton to his playing, and you would not even need to have him visibly around. His playing is all you need. He won't be in any competition with anybody because he simply can't be compared. All the others mentioned here would quote Elton as being there favorite and they are grateful ...more
Without a doubt, Elton is the worlds best rock and roll pianist. Even Billy Joel said, and I quote, "Elton kicks my ass on piano. He's fantastic a throwback to Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino and Little Richard. His spontaneous, improvisational playing always challenges me. And that is his contribution to rock & roll and pop: his musicianship. Before him, rock was a bunch of James Taylor's guitar-based singer-songwriter stuff. Elton brought back fantastic piano-based rock. Elton knows what his instrument is capable of. The piano is a percussion instrument, like a drum. You don't strum a piano. You don't bow a piano. You bang and strike a piano. You beat the **** out of a piano. Elton knows exactly how to do that he always had that rhythmic, very African, syncopated style that comes from being well versed in gospel and good old R&B." Nuf said!
I just feel that song writing is a giant part of being a musician. And Billy seems like the obvious better song writer? Billy Joel wrote his song's lyrics too, which puts him on top for me. And his lyrics are just so poetic and smart. Piano Man, Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Only the Good Did Young, Still Rock and Roll to me, and My Life just say so much more lyrically, to me at least, than Your Song, Rocket Man or Tiny Dancer. And It just seems so much more authentic and real to know the singer wrote the lyrics he's singing.
To tell Elton is the best, you can't just go by his hits. You have to dig into some of his more obscure catalog and listen to his live recordings. The piano playing on songs off his album "A Single Man" and his live performances of "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" are outstanding. His piano playing on "Blue Moves" and with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is devestatingly beautiful. And at the live concert in 1988 in Tokyo with Eric Clapton, when he backed Clapton on "Cocaine" and "Layla", he showed off keyboard chops that equal or best all other players. The genius of Elton John is that everything he plays fits the music a perfectly. He definitely shows his complete virtuosity and mastery of the technical side of playing piano, but he doesn't overdo it to an extent that makes the music seem to take a backseat to his showing off. He strikes the perfect balance, and always plays what really fits whatever song he is performing. That's the really where the genius of Elton John that ...more
I love Elton johnV 118 Comments
How could anyone be higher on the list than the Piano Man himself? Billy Joel masters any style, any genre, and can kick anyone's musical behind. (That's bee-hind, prounounced the redneck way)
The Prelude to "Angry Young Man" has rattled many a pianoplayers brains, not to say cheap keyboards. The bluesy/jazzy intro to "New York State Of Mind" has made many a mediocre pianist sound like God himself when they've found and mastered it through one of those sheet-cheat books. But the wild, crazy, ingenious piano playings on "Summer Highland Falls" is really what makes Billy wander off with the cake, leaving Sir Elton and the others standing gawking with amazement and shame.
And he knows what he's doing too! He's not just some dope who by trial and error finally figured out how to play both hands at the same time; he's written a classical album, and his portrait is hanging in Steinway Hall for Pete's sake, next to Liszt and Rachmaninoff! They don't do that to any schmo who ...more
Billy is better than Elton to me due to superior song writing ability. Billy might be able to sing just a little better. Elton might be a bit better of a piano player. And they can both write great musical compositions. But Elton always needed help with writing lyrics, while Billy could write a song all by himself. Billy has also created such an immense range of music, while always filling his albums with good or great songs. It's easier to find a top 20 chart single than a bad song on a Joel Album.
The list is "best pianists" not singers, writers, performers, musicians, or total combos of talents. - Billyv
As much as I adore Elton John, Billy is the better pianist. Far more diverse in his styles. Billy can play rock, pop, jazz, blues, soul, and classical with equal ease. His live solos are inspired, and always different. He is also probably the fastest rock/pop pianist on the planet! Amazing talent.
Much better than Elton. My favorite musician of all time!V 29 Comments
The Killer could hammer hell out of any piano with any part of his anatomy and still sound amazing should be No 1.
PS Some of this list, do you know what rock and roll is? David Bryan, Ben Folds? maybe good pianists, but hardly rock and roll... Fats Domino, Little Richards, see! - thegrumpybadger
david bryan. rlly? wtf. and freddie mercury? omg listen jerry lee lewis's music and then tell me how he's not at least in the top three. - sgilb5
Oh man, Jerry sure can tickle the ivories! He just puts so much emotion and enthusiasm into his piano-playing that it's almost impossible not to dance or sing along. His songs made sure everybody was having fun somehow!
Whether he's pounding the keys or playing gently, or standing on the piano and stomping the keys with his feet, he always sounds great. His playing is full of energy and attitude. There is nobody I'd rather listen to than this rock and roll pioneer.V 35 Comments
Freddie's style was unique: just listen to "Love of My Life" or "You Take My Breath Away". It is not the technical skill which is impressive, but rather the melody. They are superior to his lyrics, as he said - and he was right.
Yeah, he won. He won our hearts, and he won our souls. With love. He writes piano riffs that let alone make you shocked (on how great they are), his lyrics make it even more powerful. And his voice will just blow you away.
FREDDIE IS THE BEST! Freddie will dominate. All you have to do is listen to one song, and you'll understand. That song is Bohemian Rhapsody, for those who actually have to look.
freddy mercury is awesome, listen to bohemian rhapsody
Combine this with his vocals he is amazing - 2stormV 16 Comments
The most handsome and talented keyboard player in the history of Rock :) A men who plays Mozart to warm up his fingers before a rock concert - stephjovi
Amazingly diverse pianist. Can turn his hand to any genre imaginable. And to have been accepted into Juilliard as a young man is an achievement all of its own.
Love Him! He is my inspiration as a keyboard player... he is the melody in Bon Jovi, wi
Ben Folds is a brilliant songwriter and a passionate pianist. If anyone deserves to be on this list, he does. From goofy, upbeat arrangements like "Song for the Dumped" and "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces" to heart-wrenchingly honest songs like "Still Fighting It", I'd say the man has far more piano talent (and talent in general) than a man should be allowed to have. Musical genius. Piano genius. Lyrical genius. Humor genius. Genius. Period.
How could he not be on this list? Absolutely the best rock n' roll pianist of our time! -
"It doesn't really matter who came before him, because his skill, technicality, speed, and overall ability has surpassed Elton, Billy, Leon, et al exponentially. He can go from classic slower songs like "Brick" or "The Luckiest" to upbeat masterpieces like "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces," "Philosophy," or "Bastard." As far as true piano-rock goes, he is unmatched in his talent.
I listen to him often, and am always amazed!V 23 Comments
Even blind he beats many good pianist.
Ray and Rick are best real rock'n roll pianist forever.
Ray is complete when he's with his piano. Nobody's piano playing has the soul and emotion that comes out of Ray's keys when he plays.
Rock n roll pianists aren't being named here. Ray, Jerry lee lewis, little richard, fats Domino. - Beatlesboy9
Goes to show just because you're blind, doesn't mean you can't rock out! - TheAwesomeBrosVotesV 5 Comments
No other Pianist combines rock, rhythm and blues and even Gospel in their playing like Leon. He is an icon and if you were to ask every other pianist on this list, who is the best, they'd more than likely say Leon. It's exactly what Elton John said when he indicted Leon in to the R&R Hall of fame. Another easy way to see where he stands and his legacy, is to see how many Major artist's records he performed on. HUNDREDS! He was the pianist in greatest demand for many many years. Rock on Leon. You are number 1!
One of the few piano players that can identify as soon as you hear the first few chords.. Truly a unique and talented musician. I smile like a river every time I hear his music.
His signature sound is apparent in all of us his backup of hundreds of artists and groups from the Beach Boys to Frank Sinatra. He's still a great showman.
Rare combination of talent and humility. Love ya Leon!V 10 Comments
He puts his soul on every music of him. He doesn't just make musics, he creates masterpieces of melodies and emotions.
Far beyond just being a composer or a artist, he can make you cry, make you scream, make you angry, he can make you feel every single emotion he wants to show and use it as a kind of therapy, to heal and to create happiness even when the music is sad, because he can make you live the music and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Yoshiki is amazing musician who inspire us. His music is like a miracle. It heals. And personally Hayashi-san is like miracle. He's legend who influenced strongly on Japanese music scene. Great respect to this wonderful person.
Yoshiki, had he gone classical, would be a virtuoso pianist. He is an amazing pianist and has incredible skill at improvisation as well as at playing pretty much anything in existing works. This man can play Chopin almost better than Chopin himself... and then play something like Art of Life.
Yoshiki is by far the best rock pianist. He is a classically trained virtuoso pianist, and his understanding of music is much greater than any of these people.V 11 Comments
By far the most versatile keys player ever. Listen to the Morrison Hotel album for instance... Every single song he's playing with a different sound and style. His playing can do anything to bring you down and dirty with blues to far away lands with songs like Indian Summer. RIP Ray, you're touched my soul... And you're still there.
Ray will always be the best for me. By far the most creative.
The Doors didn't need a bassist thanks to the brilliant skill of this keyboardist. Definitely deserves to be higher up this list.
I'd rank Ray higher than number 10 on the list. He was an absolutely incredible pianist, and he had a great voice too.V 6 Comments
You guys are getting Billy Preston confused with Billy Powell. Billy Powell is the pianist in Lynyrd Skynyrd, who had really good piano solos in songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Tuesday's Gone" and songs like that. I'm sure Billy Preston is a good pianist too, but I don't know him that well but I do know he's not in Lynyrd Skynyrd!
Played with john Lennon, Elvis...top notch
Best southern rock pianist. Also responsible for intro to "Freebird" and the stunning solo in the band's version of "Call Me The Breeze. " RIP Billy.
WonderfulV 2 Comments
Songs on the key of life, enough said...
The man is blind and he plays piano is that not enough
Why isn't he higher - 2storm
Even though he was always the quiet member of Pink Floyd you can truly understand how much he contributed to the band in song such as "Echoes" "Us and Them" and "Great Gig in the Sky" he also added his vocals in much of their music. His songwriting was also flawless even though he wasn't the best lyricist. He truly did much more for the band than what he is given credit for
His playing in Echoes was exceptional. Though hid playing was never on the forefront of Pink Floyd's music it is clear from what we hear from his playing that he was a brilliant artist.
just listen to dark side of the moon and ull agree he must be at number 1
GoatV 6 Comments
Much higher on my list. Top 20, in my opinion.
Should be number 1
Just listen to him play, awesome
#1 all day everydayV 1 Comment
I have been a fan of Yes for about three years now, I believe. It took me until just this year, however, to start paying attention to each musician individually. Before, Yes was just some good listening; now, they're an opening to the height of musical genius. My mom and I call them the classical composers of modern times for a reason, and Rick is nothing short of the greatest (if not THE greatest) keyboardists I have ever heard. Wonderful, fluid technique, flawless style and speed, Rick is definitely someone I would pay a small fortune to see.
In terms of his virtuosity, precision and speed, he is second to none. In addition, he is a great composer, arranger and is in great demand as a session musician. " One Take Wakeman " is in a class by himself.
Seen him in concert numerous times, with Yes, solo, and Anderson-Wakeman. Blows away people like Elton John. Elton John is a megasuperstar who plays piano very well, mostly as accompaniment to his singing. However, he is light years behind Wakeman.
Awesome!V 9 Comments
He should definitely be around the first top 5. A shame this pioneer, the architect of rock and roll... is not any higher. I'm 17 and I say this. His piano playing came first before Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard had such a strong vocal range. If you heard his stuff in the 70s and 80s, you's hear his huge gospel influences as well as other genres that make him incredibly unique. He was an inspiration to so many, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, and Elton John. You can't diss a legend like this. At least make him in the the 10 guys, the man knows how to rock and roll and move those fingers! If you've seen him live you'd get it.
He was the best. The guy could play the instrument upside down behind his back and in almost any position. The only one that could bang the keys like him might be Jerry Lee Lewis but he didn't have the "beat" Little Richard had. Little Richard was also before him time wise. I think racial lines got him blackballed too far down the list. He is pure talent and he sings as well as he plays the piano. Amazing talent. I would have wanted to see him play way more than the others. Elton John and Billy Joel couldn't play upside down or between their legs or behind their backs without missing a step. Man what a showman!
Watch him in Concert Then make your own mind up
Amazing talent.V 6 Comments
The Queen / Beatles die hards have got to step down a little. Just because the Beatles and Queen were great bands doesn't mean Paul McCartney and Freddie Mercury were great pianists...
Give me a break. Paul's a great musician but his piano playing is average at best.
Paul is a superior pianist and deserves nor respect for his piano playing I have think billy Joel Elton John and Freddie Mercury are the only players are better than him
Paul McCartney is a great songwriter, but in my opinion, his piano playing is meh.V 3 Comments
Taking all things into consideration, Keith Emerson has established himself as one of the premier piano players in any genre throughout the 20th century. If we were honest, we'd have to say that not only can he play circles around everyone on this list, but his composition output far outweighs those of mediocre pop stars such as Elton John and Billy Joel. He's really in a league far above popular music in general, and therefore needs to be on a more intelligent list with the likes of Glenn Gould and Arthur Rubinstein.
Are you kidding me? How is Keith Emerson not number one and Elton John is? Anyone can play crocodile rock but try playing Emerson's Trilogy or Endless Enigma part 1, fugue, and part 2. Keith Emerson is crazy good. If it were me this is how I would rate it...
1. Keith Emerson, 2. Rick Wakeman 3. Billy Joel
I love Elton, I really do, but technically Emerson is a better KEYBOARD musician than 1-12. It's not just about pianos.
R.I.P., Keith. Anyone sick of his later ELP bombast may need to listen to his work with the Nice or his "Piano Concerto, No. 1" (on WORKS, VOL. 1). For me, "Toccata" from BRAIN SALAD SURGERY is a rock and roll masterpiece; it and much of the first ELP album are sincere efforts to broaden the range of rock.V 11 Comments
Probably one of the best out there, even though his roots are classical and progressive he should easily be in the top 10
Simply unbelievable he's not at the list already.
It's terrible that people do not know about Jordan.
This guy is incredible.
Jon lord rocked the than on highway star. Awesome keyboard dude.V 2 Comments
Related ListsThe Most Beautiful Songs of the Rock and Roll Era 10 Greatest Rock Keyboardists / Pianists Top 10 Most Talented Rock N Roll Bands Most Shafted by the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Most Epic Rock N' Roll Bands of All Time
List StatsUpdated 24 May 2017
9 years, 216 days old
Top Remixes (8)
2. Billy Joel
3. Ray Manzarek
2. Leon Russell
3. Ben Folds
2. Billy Joel
3. Little Richard
View All 8