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[Top 5 Tuesday] Top 5 Classic Rock Keyboardists & Pianists

There is a bit of difference between the guys who strictly played piano, those who added in the effects of keyboards and synths, and the guys who made full arrangements. My list is an attempt to put them all together.


5 – Billy Preston

There are only TWO people to be given credit on a Beatles’ record outside of John/Paul/George/Ringo; Billy Preston is one of them for the song “Get Back.”  Add is his guest work on other Beatles tracks, the Stones, Little Richard, Eric Clapton and lots more; on top of that over twenty solo albums. Also, “Don’t Let Me Down” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

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4 – Elton John

More than 50 Top 40 hits, seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10, four #2 hits, and nine #1 hits. Six Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards, an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Tony. Part of one of the most prolific song-writing duos of all time with Bernie Taupin.

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3 – Billy Joel

A lot of people flip-flop with Elton John & Billy Joel, and for me I give a slight edge to Joel. His music just hits me in a different way, I enjoy his style of story-telling a bit more. A great discography and a great live show make him a favorite.

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2 – Ray Manzarek

The rest of the guys on this list played keys exclusively as a singular instrument, but Manzarek was faced with the task of not only enhancing the music with a key part but being responsible for the bass as well. Part of my life was shattered when I found out The Doors used a bass player in the studio, but that adds even more to Manzarek when you consider the ability to play someone else’s style with your left hand and play your own with your right.

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1 – Rick Wakeman

So good, so good, so good. Grand piano, electric piano, Moog, other synths, classical style, progressive rock style, Wakeman could really do it all, and do it masterfully.

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