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
To the person going on about songwriting, this list is about ROCK N ROLL PIANISTS, not songwriters and Sir Elton John is the best ROCK N ROLL PIANIST of all time.V 142 Comments
Ever see him play root beer rag or angry young man? His fingers are lightning fast and accurate! As a musician, I can say Billy Joel is definitely the better rock pianist. He beat Elton John in 19.. ( I forgot the year) for best keyboardist! He is humble when he said Elton kicked his ass at the piano. Anyone who saw them play together on Bennie and the jets, can plainly see that Billy is the better rock pianist hands hands!
You may be wrong for all I know I know you may be right...
When they played together Billy was clearly a better musician
This poll isn't about songwriting and/or voice. It's about the best rock and roll pianist and to me, Sir Elton John is a much superior rock and roll pianist than Billy Joel.
Elton John is a far better pianist and performer than Billy Joel, and the melodies to Elton's songs are far superior to Billy Joel's melodies.V 41 Comments
Always number 1
Nobody is better than The Killer
Jerry Lee Lewis is the BEST pianist to ever live. Should be number 1.
To date nobody surpasses him. Elton & Joel not even close. Only reason they are higher in this poll is their fan base is still relatively young. Jerry's fans have either passed or too old to care about voting.V 42 Comments
Even blind he beats many good pianist.
Ray and Rick are best real rock'n roll pianist forever.
Rock n roll pianists aren't being named here. Ray, Jerry lee lewis, little richard, fats Domino. - Beatlesboy9
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.
Ray should be way higherV 4 Comments
He played by his own rules. Underrated as a pianist.
He is very underrated as a pianist, but he was very good!
Freddie is a both an exceptional pianist and musician. His skills sre unparalleled by any other of today's artists because Mercury added charm, wit, charisma and talent to create master pieces that only get better with time.
Virtuoso pianist, he never believed in himself, but he was very good.V 27 Comments
The title of the Top Ten forum should be "Piano Players That Were The Most Popular and Made The Most Money" - Leon was technically the best piano player. Ask Elton, Billy and the rest. They know
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!
He comes to mind first without a doubt! Then tie Elton and Billy Joel ooh this makes me want Leon to come back and play for us again!
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.V 14 Comments
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.
He makes the piano truly cool, and is very dedicated to perfecting his art. Every piece he is well-constructed and well-executed.V 24 Comments
Ray suffers on this list from the fact he didn't play pop music. His keyboard skills greatly exceed those above him on this list. Look into his solo on Crystal Ship.
He was so skilled, he played the keyboard melody on one hand, and kept the bassline with the other, for lack of a bassist. He is the sound of the Doors just as much as Jim was. The fact that he's not at least #3 shows how little you all know of rock music. - MetalPope
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.
I honestly don't know why he isn't higher, Ray has some of the best pieces in rock history.V 9 Comments
Definitely not the Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player lol, just a guy that wrote and played music for the greatest (not forgetting his own music) He is the only non Beatles member to be credited on one of the band recording : Single :Get Back (The Beatles with Billy Preston).
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
Great pianist!V 4 Comments
One of the best pianists. He made his instrument sing!
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 - 2stormV 1 Comment
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 my hero. This old guy is still like 20 years old and he is so awesome! I wish to be born earlier and know him when he was younger.V 11 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
Some rock pianists bang out notes and play simple chords, Richard was classically trained and brings the whole package. His melodies and chords are wonderful. He needs to be in the top ten.
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
Have you listened to Sheep? Pigs? Echoes? He should be #3, behind only Elton and Manzerak. - MetalPope
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.V 8 Comments
Much higher on my list. Top 20, in my opinion.
Should be number 1
Just listen to him play, awesome
How is he not higher?!V 2 Comments
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.
Technically, he's definitely the best piano player of all time.
The master of allV 11 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
Should be hire. He is the piano rocker all the others try to be like.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
I agree that the only better players than him are Freddie Mercury and Billy Joel and Elton JohnV 4 Comments
This list is about rock 'n' roll pianists, NOT keyboardists & Elton John is the BEST rock 'n' pianist of all time.
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
Because keith plays keyboard more than piano while Elton john is strictly piano - Thecyanryan
I love Elton, I really do, but technically Emerson is a better KEYBOARD musician than 1-12. It's not just about pianos.V 12 Comments
Jon lord rocked the than on highway star. Awesome keyboard dude.
One of the best
He was the best!
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.
John Lennon is by far the best
I love John Lennon but his is not the best piano player and I don't think he should be this far up on the list
Crippled Inside. Imagine. Watching The Wheels. A Day In The Life. Jealous Guy. Sexy Sadie. Face it, guys, he's awesome. What can you say? He's not just awesome, he's John Lennon.
I love John but he didn't play piano on Crippled Inside Jealous Guy & I don't think on Day In The Life
I agree, John had more of an outrageous personality that folk listen for (meaningful/stories from an unbalanced mind).
He just made the Bands songs sound even better. He was great and an integral part of their overall sound.
This guy is a genius, he should have way more votes.
Garth was hands down the best.
Glad to see someone else appreciates one of the best, classiest, multi-talented musicians since the dawn of rock 'n' roll.V 1 Comment
Butterflies and Hurricanes, Space Dementia, Sunburn... Even better, listen to Exogenesis! Simply genius compositions and unbelievable skill
If you haven't seen Bellamy's work, he is brilliant! Songs like Ruled by Secrecy, Butterflies and Hurricanes, Isolated System, Sunburn, The Globalist, Space Dementia, and Exogenesis are amazing!
Butterflies and hurricanes Piano SOLO, I am a pianist an I have searched videos of other pianist trying to play this piano solo and no one play it as Bellamy
Although not as famous for his piano skills as the rest, he has the most raw talent. There are many videos of him improvising onstage, check them out.V 9 Comments
He should be nr 1!
Fagen should be at least top 20. He is the epitome of fusion and his chops are off the charts original!
Again, unbelievable and completely original-should have way more votes
Fast fingers! Effortless.V 1 Comment
The best combined vocal and keyboard skills. Well-schooled in the root sounds of modern music. Could literally play anything.
Can't see too many of the others being able to sing and play something like Shiny Stockings or Mac the Knife like this guy can!
If you did this list 20 years ago Cummings would probably be top 10. Younger generations haven't had the exposure to the guess who's music. Check out stand tall (Cummings solo)
Canada's Billy Joel... What more can I say?V 2 Comments
Genesis would be nothing without him. Same for Steve Hackett. - MaxPap
He defined Genesis' innovative keyboard-based sound, creating entire musical landscapes. The most tasteful of all progressive-rock keyboardist, he was the master of the Mellotron, an ARP innovator and equally brilliant on piano and organ: Rich virtuoso passages (Firth of Fifth, Cinema Show); elaborate technical leads (In the Cage, Riding the Scree, Supper's Ready); haunting chordal structures (Watcher of the Skies, The Musical Box, Fountain of Salamacis); beautifully lush and sweeping emotional passages (Afterglow, Carpet Crawlers, Musical Box, Mad Man Moon, Home By The Sea, Follow You Follow Me), and that's just getting started. An incredibly gifted and versatile keyboardist, his music -- some of the most satisfying keys work ever recorded -- lifts you, moves you, takes you on a journey, and stays with you. He deserves to be WAY higher on this list.
Such an Underrated Pianist!
Especially early Genesis, Tony's work on songs like Fifth of Firth is amazingV 1 Comment
I thought Steve Walsh did most of the keyboard stuff for Kansas?
Cornerstone of one of the greatest bands of the 70s along with Lowell George. This was such a great band that critics and other bands idolized, but just never became huge to the general public. Little Feat was Jimmie Page's favorite American band and ironically �" Elton John (who is at the top of this list) said Bill Payne was the one of the finest American pianists. Check out Little Feat and you will move Mr. Payne way up towards the top.
Should be way farther up the list! Are we talking about ability and musicianship or popularity? John Lennon, piano. Really?
Stand up and take notice-this guy should be in the top three!
Like Little Feat, one of the best you likely never heard...V 2 Comments
Brilliant, every time he plays. His solo in Jessica is mind blowing.
Impeccable player in a variety of settings. Allman Brothers, Sea Level, and the Stones, but still distinctive.
Makes every musician that he plays with better--the ultimate band member
In great measure, this is the man that keeps the stones rolling.V 3 Comments
Bruce is truly truly underrated. I mean his best songs is everything after the range which is what he is known for the public. Check out swan song, fortunate son/comfortably numb medley, cyclone, hot house ball, crown of jewels. so underrated that there is not even a top10 page for him on this website!
Hornsby doesn't play the piano, he commands it. I personally think he should be at the top of the list.
Too low on list...
Once familiar with his work, no other pianist is more recognizable by their sound. Even more impressive is that he is recognizable despite the diversity he has worked so hard to achieve. He can do anything. Try to prove me wrong. Do your homework and it is clear. Not only should he be on the list, but he should be at the top. My personal favorite is fortunate son with the cover of Pink Floyd's comfortably numb in the middle. Try sad moon on for size. These aren't even his hits. Come on people!V 19 Comments
He's a master of the piano and very knowledgeable of all kinds of music! He's one Funky Piano player!
At the top of the list with Johnnie Johnson, Archibald, Fess, & James Booker.
Watch last "The Band" movie - you will see!
'Such A Night' is perfectionV 1 Comment
To be 30th in this list belies Roy's genius. He easily deserves to be in the top 10. Vastly under rated.
Listen to the beginning of Thunder Road from the Live 75-85 album. Roy is a subtle genius.
His contribution to Bruce Springsteen' music is what makes the Boss music what is it. His skills are unquestionable, he's just the best musician in the E Street Band, and that's saying something. Just so underrated, I don't understand why: Point Black, Racing In The Street, Thunder Road, Jungleland...
And that's only his work with Springsteen, but The Professor has worked with many other like Bon Jovi, Dire Straits, Celine Dion, David Bowie...
One of the key members of the E street band. Makes Bruce Springsteen who he is. AMAZING pianist. Just listen to Jungleland!V 9 Comments
Fast, fun, often beautiful, Billy Powell's piano brought something special to this band of remarkable musicians. Current imposters should just apologize and rename their band.
One of the most underrated piano players. He played for one of the tightest bands of all time. He, and, the rest of the band were a gift to the world.
Free Bird... Call me the breeze... The musicians in Lynyrd Skynyrd are so underrated it's insane.
Billy was magic! "Call Me The Breeze" is amazing, can never listen to it too many times. Grew up listening to this band. Miss you Billy!V 9 Comments
Grew up on the piano, but played just about everything. Genius musician. If you could bang out guitar and harmonica at the same time (see live versions of his song Splendid Isolation) then a little piano was no problem.
Should be higher. Great piano player and just all around musician too
he is one of the people who developed the epic song November Rain of Guns N Roses with Axl. He had met the original guns n roses lineup in 1985 and he joined the band in 1990s. - ronluna
Never be another song like NOVEMBER RAIN! I got married in November to that song and I still love it! The video is so awesome!
Once Dizzy Reed entered Guns N' Roses, the music evolved. While Slash’s guitar playing is the core of the classic Guns N' Roses sound, Dizzy Reeds piano playing on the Use Your Illusion albums lifted Guns N' Roses’s sound to a new level and depth much like Richard Wright has done for Pink Floyd. Yesterday or Estranged are 2 great examples!
Glad to see him in the top ten! The ending of Chop Suey! is fantastic! (On piano.) - moose4life19
Simply amazing!, go listen to "The Charade" and tell me what you think.
Nicky Hopkins has my vote as number 1 and where is Stevie Winwood?
Nicky Hopkins was nothing short of a piano genius. Obviously the majority of people voting have never heard the body of work Nicky Hopkins did on Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers album. He should be in the top 5; if not number 1. Listen to "Fresh Air" by Quick Silver and focus on piano. Nobody had the delicacy and lyrical touch of Nicky Hopkins on the piano.
Travesty he's not in top 5 if not #1! Who's ears are voting? Must have Helen Kellers ears!
How in the world is Nicky this low on the charts? "Edward the mad shirt grinder" one of the very best solos Ever. Thanks Nicky!V 11 Comments
How is he not higher on this list?
Whit Ian Stuart they were a blues-based gospel and piano-led, Southern-styled rock band at its best
Rolling stone is a blues band！
"All of my love "
Most underrated bass players in the world. Sure Jimmy and Robert get the glory, but John P & John B were the guys behind the scenes, John B obviously top 3 of all time drummers but no one gives credit to John P J like he deserves, bass or piano! Thank you John Paul Jones!
Trampled Underfoot! Kashmir! Rock and Roll! come on people led zeppelin -
Should be WAY higher!V 2 Comments
Not way should she only be 42! Child prodigy and styles ranging from classical to jazz and rock! Multiple keyboards (synths, piano, organ, harpsichord) often at the same time. Her playing is as much a part of the song as her lyrics and her voice; in fact, it is commonly commented that she is at her best with just vocal/piano. Top ten for certain sure!
Should be way higher up! Her playing is incredible. So diverse and so many different keyboards, two at once in most cases! Whoever compiled this list needs to give their head a wobble.
As good as Elton John, if not more diverse. Really should be higher. More pianists imitate Amos than they will have you know. I admit to being one of them.
There are not 41 better pianists than Tori Amos. Top ten for sure.V 2 Comments
Are you serious... He's so good and not even in top 20...? :O
Paradise says it all
Axl Rose piano solo and November Rain
It's scary that someone would actually propose that he's n umber one!
One good song doesn't make a great pianist.
He has much more than one good song. His piano solo in estranged is amazing, and the intro to November rain is also great and so is knockin' on heaven's door. - MrSnuffleupagus
Maybe he is no number one, but he certainly belong to a list of the best
Rock and Roll pianist all times, not only for November Rain but for all his work.
Super Underrated... :/
Definitely should be in the top ten he is awesome
Love his live rendition of "Another Mans Women".
"Another Man's Woman" rocks!V 3 Comments
His piano and keyboard skills are off the chart, Pounds away with passion, his solo work is great too he proves he is a great lyricist and singer as well. Songs like Sequestered in Memphis are where he really gets into his zone
Has to be on there. He pounds away at the keyboard and piano like Ben Folds and Jerry Lee Lewis. Listen to any hold steady song for evidence of this.
He pounds away like Ben Folds and Jimmy Lee Lewis and he does it perfectly probably the only pianist who could work in The Hold Steady
Love his solo albums why is he not on this list.V 1 Comment
Floyd Cramer is Awesome.
Cramer is the best.
MIKE SHINODA... What can I say about U... I mean mike is I think the only pianist who can rap n play piano... He is in top 10 list of rappers n pianists so basically mike is amazing... N I can't even believe it that he is on 34th position because he deserves to be on top of the screen because he juz so awesome... JUST SO PHENOMENON... LOVE you MIKE... N LINKIN PARK!
He's quite underrated because of stunning vocals of chester, great sounds produced by the band...
Love Mike! Linkin Park is one of the few bands that keep rock alive nowdays!
Related Lists10 Greatest Rock Keyboardists / Pianists Best Pianists of All Time Top 10 Best Jazz Pianists Best Contemporary Pianists Greatest Rock and Roll Movies of All Time
11 years, 152 days old
Top Remixes (9)
2. Billy Joel
3. Ray Manzarek
2. Leon Russell
3. Ben Folds
2. Ray Manzarek
3. Rick Wakeman
View All 9