Best Rock n Roll Pianists

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The Top Ten

1 Elton John Elton John Sir Elton Hercules John CBE is an English singer, pianist, and composer. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriting partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date.

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.

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2 Billy Joel Billy Joel William Martin Joel is an American singer-songwriter, composer and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man", he has been making music since the 1960s, releasing popular albums throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s.

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

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.

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

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!

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3 Jerry Lee Lewis Jerry Lee Lewis

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!

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.

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4 Ray Charles Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.

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.

The Best! ! ! Not even close

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5 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave ...read more.

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

Virtuoso pianist, he never believed in himself, but he was very good.

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6 Leon Russell

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!

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.

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.

LOVE

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7 Ben Folds

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.

Billy Joel and Elton John have both put Ben Folds above themselves as a better pianist. As humble as he is, he disagrees with them; but by god, if two of the best say he’s better... I gotta go with them.

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8 Ray Manzarek Ray Manzarek Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr., better known as Ray Manzarek, was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author.

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.

The Doors didn't need a bassist thanks to the brilliant skill of this keyboardist. Definitely deserves to be higher up this list.

Ray will always be the best for me. By far the most creative.

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

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9 Billy Preston 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!

Wonderful

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10 Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder Stevland Hardaway Morris, known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist.

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

One of the best pianists. He made his instrument sing!

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The Contenders

11 David Bryan David Bryan David Bryan Rashbaum, best known as just David Bryan, is the keyboard player of the popular American Rock band Bon Jovi, with which he has also co-written songs and performed backing vocals.

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

12 Yoshiki Hayashi Yoshiki Hayashi Yoshiki Hayashi is a Japanese musician, songwriter, composer and record producer. Better known by his stage name Yoshiki, he is best known as the leader and a co-founder of the heavy metal band X Japan, for which he is the drummer, pianist and main songwriter. The band achieved breakthrough success ...read more.

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.

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13 Richard Wright Richard Wright Richard William "Rick" Wright was an English musician, composer, singer and songwriter. He was the main keyboardist and a backup vocalist for the psychedelic and progressive English rock band, Pink Floyd .

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

Have you listened to Sheep? Pigs? Echoes? He should be #3, behind only Elton and Manzerak. - MetalPope

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14 Fats Domino Fats Domino Antoine "Fats" Domino, Jr. was a French Creole pianist and singer-songwriter. He released five gold records before 1955 and had 35 hit records in the U.S. Top 40. He died on October 25, 2017.

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?!

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15 Rick Wakeman Rick Wakeman Richard Christopher "Rick" Wakeman is an English keyboardist, songwriter, television and radio presenter, and author.

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.

The master of all

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16 Little Richard Little Richard Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name, Little Richard, is an American musician, singer and songwriter.

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.

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17 Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer . With John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, he gained worldwide fame with the rock band the Beatles, one of the most popular and influential groups in the history of pop and rock music .

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 sucks

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18 Keith Emerson Keith Emerson Keith Noel Emerson was an English keyboardist and composer. Emerson played in a number of bands before he found his first commercial success with the Nice.

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.

This list is about rock 'n' roll pianists, NOT keyboardists & Elton John is the BEST rock 'n' pianist of all time.

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19 Jon Lord Jon Lord Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men.

Jon lord rocked the than on highway star. Awesome keyboard dude.

One of the best

He was the best!

20 Jordan Rudess Jordan Rudess Jordan Rudess is an American keyboardist and composer best known as a member of the progressive metal/rock band Dream Theater and the progressive rock supergroup Liquid Tension Experiment.

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.

21 John Lennon John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40.

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).

John Lennon is by far the best

22 Garth Hudson Garth Hudson Eric Garth Hudson is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist. As the organist, keyboardist and saxophonist for Canadian-American rock group the Band, he was a principal architect of the group's unique sound.

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.

Pure genius,I demand a recount

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23 Matt Bellamy Matt Bellamy Matthew James "Matt" Bellamy is an English musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and compose most famous for being the main vocalist in alternative rock band Muse.

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

Seriously he should in the top 5, he is clasically trained and an amazing multi instrumentalist!

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24 Donald Fagen

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.

The best musician of all the
times. Nothing is to compare with him

25 Tony Banks

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.

Especially early Genesis, Tony's work on songs like Fifth of Firth is amazing

Firth of Fifth among many others makes him one of the best.

Such an Underrated Pianist!

26 Burton Cummings

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?

When you combine piano, lyrics and voice he slides up to number one.

After reading many reviews and being a pianist for over 35 years myself, and a drummer for over 50 years, plus a sound engineer, music producer, song writer and vocalist, I'd have to compare Elton John in the same league with Billy Joel and Burton Cummings, as all three write songs, lyrics, and/or melodies, play and sing, and have many number 1 hits on the charts as solo pianists or with a group. Burton Cummings was with The Guess Who, whereas both Elton and Billy typically toured or recorded under their own names, just as did Burton Cummings after leaving the Guess Who. As another person stated, "Burton is Canada's Billy Joel". I have to hand it to Billy though, for writing most all of his own music and lyrics, whereas Cummings and John had some co-writers. Obviously, all three pianists can play any style of music and sing just as well. In another review, the person compared these same three guys as the best of the best. However, he claimed that over all, Burton Cummings ...more

27 Kerry Livgren

I thought Steve Walsh did most of the keyboard stuff for Kansas?

Pure genius.

28 Bill Payne

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...

Understated genius who became happy in his own skin as a talented musician. Way undermarked but he won't care

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29 Chuck Leavell

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

Always behind the line but the BEST!

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30 Roy Bittan

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!

Greatest and most underrated pianist of all time. It means something that he was the only member of the esbtheat bruce kept on for human touch/lucky town. Aside from being one of the most talented and important members of the esb, he helped dire straits make their best album in making movies.

Jungleland, Backstreets, Thunder Road, Racing in the street, tunnel of love (dire Straits) to name a few

To be 30th in this list belies Roy's genius. He easily deserves to be in the top 10. Vastly under rated.

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31 Billy Powell

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.

Absolutely amazing

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32 Bruce Hornsby

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!

Hornsby is a far more accomplished pianist than any other on this list. His versatility and technical prowess shames both Elton John and Billy Joel - both of whom are over rated. Popularity certainly doesn't equate to a musician's true abilities, as is the case for both John & Joel.

Ask a great musician and Bruce would be at the top.

I remember reading an artical where the #1 person on this list, Sir Elton, even mentioned that Bruce as one of the best if not the best pianist. Should be in top 5.

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33 Dr John

At the top of the list with Johnnie Johnson, Archibald, Fess, & James Booker.

He's a master of the piano and very knowledgeable of all kinds of music! He's one Funky Piano player!

Watch last "The Band" movie - you will see!

'Such A Night' is perfection

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34 Warren Zevon Warren Zevon

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

35 Dizzy Reed (Guns N Roses)

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!

36 Serj Tankian Serj Tankian Serj Tankian is a Lebanese-born Armenian-American singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, poet, and political activist.

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.

37 Nicky Hopkins

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.

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!

Nicky was the go to guy for any supergroup that wanted a Classic Rock album.
Played with the best because he was one of the best. Most of the voters probably
Are not aware of him, he should be top five.

Travesty he's not in top 5 if not #1! Who's ears are voting? Must have Helen Kellers ears!

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38 Ian Stewart

Whit Ian Stuart they were a blues-based gospel and piano-led, Southern-styled rock band at its best

How is he not higher on this list?

Rolling stone is a blues band!

39 John Paul Jones John Paul Jones John Baldwin, better known by his stage name John Paul Jones, is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, arranger and record producer.

Trampled Underfoot! Kashmir! Rock and Roll! come on people led zeppelin -

Should be WAY higher!

Misty mountain hop!

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!

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40 Tori Amos Tori Amos Tori Amos is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. She is a classically trained musician with a mezzo-soprano vocal range.

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.

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41 Chris Martin Chris Martin Christopher Anthony John "Chris" Martin is an English singer, songwriter and musician. He is best known as the lead singer of rock band Coldplay.

Are you serious... He's so good and not even in top 20...? :O
Paradise says it all

42 Axl Rose Axl Rose William Bruce Rose Jr., better known as 'Axl Rose', is an American singer born on February 6, 1962, in Lafayette, Indiana. He Is the founder and lead singer of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses. He is a celebrated but controversial figure in the world of rock.

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.

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.

43 Derek Sherinian
44 Tim Minchin
45 Benmont Tench

Extremely talented.

46 George Duke
47 Mike Shinoda Mike Shinoda Michael Kenji "Mike" Shinoda is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, graphic designer, manager and film composer.

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!

48 Rick Davies

Definitely should be in the top ten he is awesome

Love his live rendition of "Another Mans Women".

"Another Man's Woman" rocks!

Super Underrated... :/

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49 Floyd Cramer

Floyd Cramer is Awesome.

Cramer is the best.

50 Franz Nicolay

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

His work on 'Stuck between Stations' is perfect.

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List Stats

4,000 votes
102 listings
10 years, 361 days old

Top Remixes (9)

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2. Billy Joel
3. Ray Manzarek
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1. Elton John
2. Leon Russell
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1. Elton John
2. Leon Russell
3. Ray Charles
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