Top Rock Organists

The Top Ten

1 Ray Manzarek (The Doors) Ray Manzarek (The Doors) Raymond Daniel Manczarek, Jr., better known as Ray Manzarek, was an American musician, singer, producer, film director, and author.

Ray played two instruments in one, and did so without sacrificing either instrument. Organs have typically served as decoration for any band they are a part of. Ray was a foundation, and undoubtedly the most skilled instrumentalist within his band. His spot on Number one is well deserved and he needs more recognition, even in death!

How can ray even be put in a list with these guys. RUSH? They could easily be the most overrated band ever. Ray is easily the most talented rock organist out there! He could even sing. One time Jim got so drunk he couldn't sing, so ray was playing with his right hand and also the bass along with singing. Talk about multitasking!

Ray Manzarek, Vocals, Bass, rhythm. Created the greatest intro of all time. He is and will always be the number 1 organist of all time.

Oh yes, definitely.

V 7 Comments
2 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.

Considering the look of this list, I'd say Jon Lord needs to be closer to the top. Name 1 Rush song with actual organ in it, He plays synthesizer and Piano, and barely ever piano.

To me he was a great organ player. A genius. Had a lot to do with deep purple's sound. Also keith Emerson should be in top five

He was a legend of a rock organ player and an overall great composer

We are talking about Rock; Jon Lord invented the rock-organ.

V 8 Comments
3 Gregg Allman (The Allman Brothers Band) Gregg Allman (The Allman Brothers Band)

Every member of the Allman Brothers Band is a master of his respective craft and Gregg Allman is no exception. And not only could he groove hard on the organ, but also spit out some incredible vocals. Truly one of the greatest.

Gregg is always overshadowed by those great guitarists. Just listen to what he does, he is very good, and he has been doing it forever!

4 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.

Chest there anything else that needs to be said?

Unquestionably the best. that's all you need to know

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

He's just fantastic the whole classic Yes lineup was.
It's amazing how David Lee Roth is consider #2. Eddie Van Halen played the key boards for Jump not Diamond Dave. - Cygnus2II2

The only key board player entitled to be nr. 1, followed by Neal Morse.

6 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.

Sadly, this "Best of All Rock Organists" list is a farce. Most of the voters are kids with little-to-no knowledge of the TRULY legendary Hammond organists...
Any list that doesn't place Keith Emerson within the top THREE is absurd. All the great rock musicians since the mid-60's and on regarded him as not only the most outrageously talented keyboardist to ever play in the rock idiom, but also as the veritable "Jimi Hendrix" of the Hammond organ.
Not just good, not just a keyboard prodigy... he was INCOMPARABLE.
Additionally, his most worthy Hammond organ rivals for #1 would have been Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, and a name totally MISSING from this list (another outrage! ): Santana's and Journey's Gregg Rolie... These are the Hammond organ LEGENDS.

Listen to Tarkus, Karn evil 9, or just any song by ELP and you will hear Emerson's great hammond beauty - jamalam17z7

Best organist ever heard
Rick Wakeman is probably the second one at least for me


7 BIlly Preston BIlly Preston
8 Al Kooper

Should have composed music for broadway. That is an absolute compliment to the same guy who plays the start on the greatest rock son of them a rolling stone.

9 Geddy Lee (Rush) Geddy Lee (Rush) Geddy Lee Weinrib, known professionally as Geddy Lee, is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist for the Canadian rock group Rush.

Lee is an awesome organist. Listen to the organ solo to yz.

Gimme a break.what a joke.

10 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 .

He wasn't on the list. - zxm

The Contenders

11 Steve Winwood Steve Winwood Stephen Lawrence Winwood is an English rock musician whose genres include progressive rock, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues, blues rock, pop rock, and jazz.
12 Axl Rose (Guns N Roses) Axl Rose (Guns N Roses) 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.

Is he an organist? - zxm

even as a child he is great in piano - ronluna

13 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.

Listen to No Quarter

Go right now and listen to a very famous Led Zep boot called "Listen To This Eddie". You will find it hard not to listen to entire show... But listen to JPJ on the phenomenal No Quarter... you'll be a believer.

14 Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) Samuel Roy "Sammy" Hagar, also known as The Red Rocker, is an American rock vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, musician and entrepreneur.
15 David Lee Roth (Van Halen) David Lee Roth (Van Halen) David Lee Roth is an American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality.

A guy told to listen the organ solo in Jump. But I don't believe it was an organ solo. As I know it was a synthesizer solo. Plus he didn't play the solo. It was Eddie Van Halen. - zxm

He is no organist, he is a vocalist who can play 4 chords on a keyboard.

Listen to organ solo in jump.

16 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.
17 Lee Michaels

Simply the best rock organist. The British players, aside from Jon Lord, tended to over complicate or do horrible things to classical music. Lee didn't. Check out the blue album and the live recordings in the Concert Vault. Tell Me How Do You Feel and Stormy Monday were the best tracks. Also try Jimmy McGriff and Groove Holmes live on Giants of the Organ for amazing jazz playing.

The only one to be seriously considered because the only one that was a bandleader/player/vocalist

18 Page McConnell (Phish)

Listen to any Phish song, ever. Call him a dirty hippy, call him a stoned musician, call him brilliant!

You haven't seen the ebony and ivory sing until you've seen McConnell throw down. - Christian.H.Mills

19 Jack White Jack White
20 Goldy McJohn

He is the organist of Steppenwolf. He can play incredible psychedelic solos, such as Magic Carpet Ride.

21 Matthew Fisher

If only it was for a whiter shade of pale, but listen to the DVD Procol Harum in the Union Chapel and all of his music.

22 James Hetfield (Metallica) James Hetfield (Metallica) James Alan Hetfield was born on August 3, 1963. He is an American musician, singer and songwriter known for being the co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and main songwriter for the American heavy metal band Metallica.

Did he ever play organ? I know he played piano. But never heard about playing organ. - zxm

Simply amazing... Cant say anything else!

23 Jimmy McGriff
24 Doug Ingle

Both Iron Butterfly and Steppenwolf had far better organ than Manzarek or Rush. Jon Lord comes close.

Ingle should be in the first 3.

25 Greg Hawkes

Talented musician who played such catchy hooks, and knew when enough was enough. Added a huge variety of sounds to the Cars' awesome songs. Greg is the best!

26 Dennis DeYoung

Definitely top 10

27 Brent Mydland

"Brent brought a tremendous energy to the Grateful Dead not only on keys but with an amazing voice and song writing ability"

28 Alan Price
29 Rod Argent

Less we forget Rod Argent of The Zombies and Argent. Great organist who’s still performing with mate Collin Blunstone today.

30 Gary Wright

Gary Wright was magnificent on the B-3 with Spooky Tooth and throughout his solo career. The Dreamweaver was outstanding on Spooky 2.

31 Gregg Rolie Gregg Rolie Gregg Alan Rolie is an American singer, keyboardist and organist. Rolie served as lead singer of the bands Santana, Journey and Abraxas Pool – all of which he co-founded.

Greg played with wreckless abandon with Santana and was the perfect driving compliment to Carlos’ hot, moltin guitar licks.

32 Dave Greenfield (The Stranglers)
33 Ian McLagan
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List Stats

200 votes
33 listings
10 years, 327 days old

Top Remixes

1. Jon Lord
2. Keith Emerson
3. Rick Wakeman
1. Garth Hudson
2. BIlly Preston
3. Ray Manzarek (The Doors)


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