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#1137579 - 12/28/06 01:47 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
But... 50's rock and roll came forth from the R&B origins. Blues from the Missipi Delta came first...then Jazz which spread when black came up north for jobs ... origins are R&B from black spirituals, blues and Jazz (R.C. 's I Got A Woman melody).... then Rock and Roll. Ray has had an influence on almost every kind of modern popular music.... witness RC's spirtual and country music contribution's.

I guess I'd have to say that I would tend to give the advantage towards the musician who has influenced all of the various popular music genres out there the most. But I would also say all these musicians we are discussing here in this thread have at least made significant contributions in their specific genre(s).

All have earned their due respect and are great at what they do in music.
This thread is about who is the best pianist, not the most influential musician. \:\)

As a youth in the 1930's and 1940's, two of Ray's greatest and earliest musical influences were Country-Western and Classical music. He played both and was given access to musical instruments while a student at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in the 1940's.

While still a teenager in the 40's, after leaving the FSDB, Ray played in several bands, including Country bands.

Rock is a mixture of both black and white forms of music. R&B played an important part, but R&B per se is NOT Rock 'n' Roll or Rockabilly. Rock and Rockabilly have a completely different rythym structure than the classic R&B of the 1940's and 50's.

Rockabilly especially was strongly influenced by Country music, as was the Rock 'n' Roll of acts like the Everly Brothers.

And R&B didn't just spring forth from a void. There were earlier forms of music, both black and white, that were influential in the birth of R&B.

If we start talking about who or what influenced whom, this thread could get pretty complicated--which is why I prefer to stick to simply discussing the individual piano-playing and songwriting abilities of specific artists, rather than who was supposedly the most influential. \:\)

As to who is the most influential, is best discussed in a separate thread of its own. ;\)

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#1137580 - 12/28/06 01:54 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
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Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Ok sticking to who is best pianist alone...
toss up perhaps between Elton and Billy.

Both have great chops!
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#1137581 - 12/28/06 01:58 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Behold...
recent thread on Billy Preston ....
videos, articles, interviews in it.
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/37/686.html

 Quote:
Originally posted by Mike A:
The late Billy Preston is probably a good name to include on a list of rock/pop keyboard greats.

"Preston's career highlights include stints with The Stones, The Family Stone, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha and of course the last three albums with The Beatles as well as the last ever of their performances on the roof, The Concert for Bangladesh, The Concert for George, tours with Clapton, George, Ringo and a stellar solo career singing and/or playing on monster hits "Out A Space," "Nothing From Nothing" and "Will It Go Round In Circles.""

"More recently, Billy can be heard on the latest albums by Neil Diamond and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He's also featured on the Starbucks soul album "Believe to My Soul" featuring Mavis Staples and Ann Peebles." [/b]
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#1137582 - 12/28/06 02:05 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
You know all of these artists would say they aren't no.1 Rock Pianist... all would feel almost embarrassed if someone gave them an award for being no.1 anything.

They all respect each other's body of work.
They are all professionals in the business of making music. And the cool thing is they put the piano up front and center as the instrument of choice.
Well said, Wolfie! ;\)

And I would like to stress that I do NOT consider Jerry Lee Lewis to be the "best" pop/rock pianist ever. If you've read this thread carefully, you'll know that I haven't proclaimed any one artist to be the "best". As to who is "best", is simply too subjective.

Every pianist we've discussed has their strengths and weaknesses. JLL could play with incredible energy, excitement and showmanship--but could never match up with Elton and Billy in the songwriting department.

As to who is TECHNICALLY a better pianist, will have to be decided by people who know far more about the instrument than I do.

I'd just like to say this is a GREAT thread, and thanks to all who have participated in it, whether I agree with them on certain points or not! \:\)

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#1137583 - 12/28/06 02:14 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Yep... R&B did not come forth from a void.
Like I said earlier. JLLs playing is chock full of blues. He was a great pianist, though the last time I saw him on letterman he lost a few steps due to age.

Origins for R&B from black spirituals (and earlier style the white hymns) , blues and Jazz (R.C. 's I Got A Woman melody).... then Rock and Roll. Ray has had an influence on almost every kind of modern popular music.... witness RC's spirtual and country music contribution's.
Ray is an American Musical Genius and so many professional musicians credit him with inspiring them.

I truly would be hard pressed to pick either Billy Joel or Elton John as the best of the two; they each have their strengths and probably its best not to to pick one over the other as far as their playing goes. But if I were forced to pick the better pianist of the two I might pick Elton simply because he is like an energizer bunny and is still very active in touring all these years.

I do wish Billy Joel hadn't decided to stop writing pop songs. Meanwhile Elton continues to pump out great new songs that sing.

Interesting discussion. Elton vs. Billy Joel... close match???? I have seen Billy in concert.
I want to see Elton Jphn but his ticket prices were sky high when he recently played in my area.
But I have all Elton's concert DVDs to keep me happy.


 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
But... 50's rock and roll came forth from the R&B origins. Blues from the Missipi Delta came first...then Jazz which spread when black came up north for jobs ... origins for R&B from black spirituals, blues and Jazz (R.C. 's I Got A Woman melody).... then Rock and Roll. Ray has had an influence on almost every kind of modern popular music.... witness RC's spirtual and country music contribution's.

I guess I'd have to say that I would tend to give the advantage towards the musician who has influenced all of the various popular music genres out there the most. But I would also say all these musicians we are discussing here in this thread have at least made significant contributions in their specific genre(s).

All have earned their due respect and are great at what they do in music.
This thread is about who is the best pianist, not the most influential musician. \:\)

As a youth in the 1930's and 1940's, two of Ray's greatest and earliest musical influences were Country-Western and Classical music. He played both and was given access to musical instruments while a student at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in the 1940's.

While still a teenager in the 40's, after leaving the FSDB, Ray played in several bands, including Country bands.

Rock is a mixture of both black and white forms of music. R&B played an important part, but R&B per se is NOT Rock 'n' Roll or Rockabilly. Rock and Rockabilly have a completely different rythym structure than the classic R&B of the 1940's and 50's.

Rockabilly especially was strongly influenced by Country music, as was the Rock 'n' Roll of acts like the Everly Brothers.

And R&B didn't just spring forth from a void. There were earlier forms of music, both black and white, that were influential in the birth of R&B.

If we start talking about who or what influenced whom, this thread could get pretty complicated--which is why I prefer to stick to simply discussing the individual piano-playing and songwriting abilities of specific artists, rather than who was supposedly the most influential. \:\)

As to who is the most influential, is best discussed in a separate thread of its own. ;\) [/b]
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#1137584 - 12/28/06 02:17 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Yes a great thread indeed. I even managed to put all the other recent threads on these great pop/rock pianists into this thread so folks can find the links we all found at youtube. LOL

I gotta itch to do some Haiku again.
After I find the thread on Stevie. LOL.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
You know all of these artists would say they aren't no.1 Rock Pianist... all would feel almost embarrassed if someone gave them an award for being no.1 anything.

They all respect each other's body of work.
They are all professionals in the business of making music. And the cool thing is they put the piano up front and center as the instrument of choice.
Well said, Wolfie! ;\)

And I would like to stress that I do NOT consider Jerry Lee Lewis to be the "best" pop/rock pianist ever. If you've read this thread carefully, you'll know that I haven't proclaimed any one artist to be the "best". As to who is "best", is simply too subjective.

Every pianist we've discussed has their strengths and weaknesses. JLL could play with incredible energy, excitement and showmanship--but could never match up with Elton and Billy in the songwriting department.

As to who is TECHNICALLY a better pianist, will have to be decided by people who know far more about the instrument than I do.

I'd just like to say this is a GREAT thread, and thanks to all who have participated in it, whether I agree with them on certain points or not! \:\) [/b]
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#1137585 - 12/28/06 02:19 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Recent thread on Stevie Wonder... videos, pictures, interviews , discussion etc.

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/37/704.html
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#1137586 - 12/28/06 02:37 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by euclid10540:
Okay, so Neil Sedaka is one of the greats, or at least should be mentioned with the greatest....I personally feel Neil Sedaka is one of the grestest pop piano players ever
I can't argue with that! Well said! ;\)

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#1137587 - 12/28/06 04:22 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Wow, how many responses. \:\)
So, I would suggest something: Lets first choose pianists and then categories in which we would rate them.
Then each of us would tell in his opinion three best in each category and finally we would count the points and get the winner. I guess its obvius that I like statistics \:D
In case of pianists we should make a list of candidates and we should agree whether Ray Charles and similar belong to pop/rock pianists or not.
In case of categories I suggest two categories: tecnique and songwriting. But, if you have your opinion go ahead and tell.
And then we could tell the winner to add a title ˝Best poprock pianist, chosen by members of Non Classical Piano World Forum >˝ in his collections of awards \:\)
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#1137588 - 12/28/06 04:53 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I normally don't chime in on these "who's the best" threads, but I couldn't let a Neil Sedaka nomination go unchallenged. :rolleyes:

I'm surprised that nobody's nominated any women pop/rock pianists... imho Tori Amos and Vienna Teng belong right up there as pop artists with serious piano chops. And their music is more piano-centered, too, in a way that Neil Sedaka's never was.
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#1137589 - 12/28/06 05:35 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
hv Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/18/04
Posts: 1226
Loc: Cape Cod
How about someone I'm up to my ears with at the moment? Laura Nyro. Unfortunately no longer with us. But I understand she believed in reincarnation.

Howard

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#1137590 - 12/28/06 06:35 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
pianokeys1000 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/05
Posts: 83
Loc: Upstate NY
For songwriting, I don't see how anyone mentioned above could be placed before Stevie Wonder. That said, I would put Billy Joel a close second, he also has a very special gift for writing songs.

My understanding is that Elton did not write alot of his music.

For piano chops, I would put Joel 1st. He plays the pop stuff, but has composed classical music as well.

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#1137591 - 12/28/06 06:36 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
More pop than Rock is Burt Bacharach.
As a songwriter he has had quite a career so I'll throw him into the mix here. LOL.

http://www.themanfreds.com/images/With%20Burt%20Bacharach,%20Hal%20David,%20John%20Burgess.jpg


As for girls, I'll add Vanessa Carlton, Norah Jones, Michelle Branch. (Tori Amos already was named by Monica).
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#1137592 - 12/28/06 06:58 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Elton writes the music... and he is masterful at putting melodies to the lyrics written by others.
Elton is an incredible piano player/performer and sings nice to boot.

Billy Joel is a complete package in that he plays, writes, performs music. I do think Joel's body of work musically has more classical influences in them... watch him playing in those uptempo videos on the other threads. I think at times people dismiss Billy Joel because he has been so commercially pop stuff. But when you examine his total body of work, you will hear stuff that sounds classical, bluesy, jazzy, old time rock n roll, black spiritual, doo wop, country. And in many of Joels songs also you can hear stuff that sounds as if Elton wrote it.

Hence to me Joel and Elton are a close match as pianists and musicians. Both have done some amazing music and both do incredible concerts.
My regret was being ill when they came to my town during the Face to Face tour. I would love to see a Face to Face to Face tour with Billy, Elton, and Stevie. That would be a cool concert which I probably could not afford to see. LOL

I am not crazy about comparing artists either.
And after listening to one of the JLL videos the other night I can see why we cannot dismiss JLL. Though JLLs music doesn't have as wide a range as Wonder, Joel, and John's music. Jll certainly is the master when it comes to fast boogie stuff.
I was disappointed when I saw him on Letterman, as he did great balls of fire quite bit slower and with no great flourishing glissandos I have usually seen him include. Perhaps he was ill on that night. That video where he JLL is there with Waller, Ray Charles, and Albert Lee (guitarist) is incredible, I favorited it.

Here it is again... call it an encore linkage.

http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/search/Ray%2BCharles/video/xgrmr_ray-charles-jerry-lee-lewis-fats


 Quote:
Originally posted by pianokeys1000:
For songwriting, I don't see how anyone mentioned above could be placed before Stevie Wonder. That said, I would put Billy Joel a close second, he also has a very special gift for writing songs.

My understanding is that Elton did not write alot of his music.

For piano chops, I would put Joel 1st. He plays the pop stuff, but has composed classical music as well. [/b]
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#1137593 - 12/28/06 07:05 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
I normally don't chime in on these "who's the best" threads, but I couldn't let a Neil Sedaka nomination go unchallenged. I'm surprised that nobody's nominated any women pop/rock pianists... imho Tori Amos and Vienna Teng belong right up there as pop artists with serious piano chops. And their music is more piano-centered, too, in a way that Neil Sedaka's never was.
I already challenged Sedaka's nomination as "greatest" on page one of this thread, Monica. ;\) And if you look at the top of this page, you'll see that euclid appropriately recanted, and declared him "one of the greats"--which is a reasonable and accurate statement.

I'm quite familiar with Amos and Teng, but honestly can't consider either of them as "great", and nowhere near the "best". Their gender is an irrelevant factor in my judgement of them. \:\)

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#1137594 - 12/28/06 07:56 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianokeys1000:
For songwriting, I don't see how anyone mentioned above could be placed before Stevie Wonder. That said, I would put Billy Joel a close second, he also has a very special gift for writing songs.

My understanding is that Elton did not write alot of his music.

For piano chops, I would put Joel 1st. He plays the pop stuff, but has composed classical music as well.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, Billy Joel has sold about 80 million albums/CD's in his career. Elton John has sold about 70 million. Which places them both in the top ten record sellers of all-time, in ANY genre of music.

Whereas Stevie Wonder has only sold about 20 million in a career that started before both Joel's and John's, and Stevie's nowhere near the top ten. So there are obviously millions of people who would take exception to your opinion that Wonder is the "best" songwriter of the three. \:\)

Elton John composes virtually ALL of his own MUSIC . He does NOT generally write his own LYRICS, which certainly is no strike against him as a songwriter.

World-famous composers such as George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers and Eddie Holland generally didn't write their own lyrics either. However, I don't think any sane person would challenge their stature as elite songwriters. ;\)

As for Joel having composed some classical music, which he himself admitted wasn't of the highest caliber, I just don't see what that has to do with his accomplishments as a POP/ROCK pianist.

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#1137595 - 12/28/06 08:06 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Both Elton and Billy Joel are great. No reason to put one over the other as far as piano performing goes.

As total packages go, Billy Joel still gets my top vote. But if Elton also could do lyrics as well as Joel can do pop lyrics... then I'd have a tough time choosing between these two for athe award of total package pianists.

I love them both equally right now... but that could change....
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#1137596 - 12/28/06 08:20 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
I think it just shows that Billy Joel has some serious composing chops. Composing classical works is tough work and takes skills and discipline. Also an ear for that kind of music.

However just because Elton hasn't sat down and wrote a classical work doesn't mean that he could not do it. "Funeral for a Friend" comes to my mind as something that sounds classical. And with today's software programs, he doesn't have to sit down and put pencil to notation paper, just play something that sounds classical and the computer can spit it out.

Just think what Mozart, Bach, and others could have done with computers, digital keyboards and such. But then again, they could get addicted to youtube and pianoworld also and write even less.

I think we should call it a tie myself between J&J ; I can think of reasons to name either of them the best pop/rock pianist. Stevie is great also... but not as prolific as Joel and John (J&J), hence though he is also a remarkable genius.

I also think it isn't good to dismiss Ray Charles (although J &J may both play better chops wise) ... like I said he showed many performers who followed him the way. His influence on popular music is immeasurable and he is a legendary genius of American music.




 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
[QUOTE]

As for Joel having composed some classical music, which he himself admitted wasn't of the highest caliber, I just don't see what that has to do with his accomplishments as a POP/ROCK pianist. [/b]
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#1137597 - 12/28/06 08:29 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
I am not crazy about comparing artists either.
And after listening to one of the JLL videos the other night I can see why we cannot dismiss JLL. Though JLLs music doesn't have as wide a range as Wonder, Joel, and John's music. Jll certainly is the master when it comes to fast boogie stuff.
I was disappointed when I saw him on Letterman, as he did great balls of fire quite bit slower and with no great flourishing glissandos I have usually seen him include. Perhaps he was ill on that night. That video where he JLL is there with Waller, Ray Charles, and Albert Lee (guitarist) is incredible, I favorited it.
There's nothing wrong with comparing artists. However, to do so in a meaningful way, I believe certain criteria have to be established beforehand. There needs to be agreement as to what qualities we will consider when judging them as pop/rock pianists.

As for JLL's less than stellar performance on Letterman, please remember that Jerry is now 71 years old. His "sweet bird of youth" has flown. We can't expect him to play with the energy and flair of his younger years. \:\)

Lastly, you mention "Waller" above. I believe you meant to say Fats Domino, who appears in the video you linked to. Fats Waller does NOT appear in the video. ;\)

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#1137598 - 12/28/06 08:50 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
 Quote:
Originally posted by wolfindmist:
I am not crazy about comparing artists either.
And after listening to one of the JLL videos the other night I can see why we cannot dismiss JLL. Though JLLs music doesn't have as wide a range as Wonder, Joel, and John's music. Jll certainly is the master when it comes to fast boogie stuff.
I was disappointed when I saw him on Letterman, as he did great balls of fire quite bit slower and with no great flourishing glissandos I have usually seen him include. Perhaps he was ill on that night. That video where he JLL is there with Waller, Ray Charles, and Albert Lee (guitarist) is incredible, I favorited it.
There's nothing wrong with comparing artists. However, to do so in a meaningful way, I believe certain criteria have to be established beforehand. There needs to be agreement as to what qualities we will consider when judging them as pop/rock pianists.

As for JLL's less than stellar performance on Letterman, please remember that Jerry is now 71 years old. His "sweet bird of youth" has flown. We can't expect him to play with the energy and flair of his younger years. \:\)

Lastly, you mention "Waller" above. I believe you meant to say Fats Domino, who appears in the video you linked to. Fats Waller does NOT appear in the video. ;\) [/b]
You are right, got the two Fats mixed up. LOL

I'll see if I can find the Lettermen Performance.
The cool thing about it was he played it much slower so you could see more of what he does on the piano. He could have been sick or maybe he has arthritis.... he wasn't uses as much of the board as I recall.
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#1137599 - 12/28/06 08:56 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
If there were an awards presentation given out here for rock/pop pianists...Elton bests all for most bling and flamboyance! hehehe

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#1137600 - 12/28/06 09:00 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Jerry Lee Lewis on David Letterman; not bad consider he is getting up there in age

http://www.dailymotion.com/visited/searc...t-balls-of-fire
**********************************
Now Breathless...
Old Jerry Lee Lewis Video Clip --- "Breathless"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hArJfZbhDs
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#1137601 - 12/28/06 09:02 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
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Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
On above post...its not as bad as I remember it... it's cool to see it slowed down a bit. Especially, to watch how he (Jerry Lee Lewis) does his glissandos.
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#1137602 - 12/28/06 10:39 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
[QUOTE]I already challenged Sedaka's nomination as "greatest" on page one of this thread, Monica. ;\) And if you look at the top of this page, you'll see that euclid appropriately recanted, and declared him "one of the greats"--which is a reasonable and accurate statement.

I'm quite familiar with Amos and Teng, but honestly can't consider either of them as "great", and nowhere near the "best". Their gender is an irrelevant factor in my judgement of them. \:\) [/b]
Phew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who objected to Neil Sedaka being named the "greatest." Not sure I'd even buy "one of the greats," either.

It seems like a lot of the people being tossed around are nominated due to their talents for songwriting, which is a slightly different dimension to me than "pop/rock pianist." Which is why I named Tori Amos and Vienna Teng. (And I agree with you that their gender SHOULD be irrelevant to this discussion!) At least with them, when you listen to their music, the piano is first and foremost in every one of their pieces. That's not true of these other guys, which is why I think Amos and Teng are better rock PIANISTS. but that's jmho. ;\)
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#1137603 - 12/28/06 10:52 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Of course the true test for all of them...
is how long they will be remembered by the masses after they pass on. IMHO

 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Music Lover:
[QUOTE]I already challenged Sedaka's nomination as "greatest" on page one of this thread, Monica. ;\) And if you look at the top of this page, you'll see that euclid appropriately recanted, and declared him "one of the greats"--which is a reasonable and accurate statement.

I'm quite familiar with Amos and Teng, but honestly can't consider either of them as "great", and nowhere near the "best". Their gender is an irrelevant factor in my judgement of them. \:\) [/b]
Phew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who objected to Neil Sedaka being named the "greatest." Not sure I'd even buy "one of the greats," either.

It seems like a lot of the people being tossed around are nominated due to their talents for songwriting, which is a slightly different dimension to me than "pop/rock pianist." Which is why I named Tori Amos and Vienna Teng. (And I agree with you that their gender SHOULD be irrelevant to this discussion!) At least with them, when you listen to their music, the piano is first and foremost in every one of their pieces. That's not true of these other guys, which is why I think Amos and Teng are better rock PIANISTS. but that's jmho. ;\) [/b]
_________________________
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#1137604 - 12/28/06 11:44 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Phew! I'm glad I'm not the only one who objected to Neil Sedaka being named the "greatest." Not sure I'd even buy "one of the greats," either.
It seems like a lot of the people being tossed around are nominated due to their talents for songwriting, which is a slightly different dimension to me than "pop/rock pianist." Which is why I named Tori Amos and Vienna Teng. (And I agree with you that their gender SHOULD be irrelevant to this discussion!) At least with them, when you listen to their music, the piano is first and foremost in every one of their pieces. That's not true of these other guys, which is why I think Amos and Teng are better rock PIANISTS. but that's jmho.
I believe you're being a bit hard on Sedaka. Though I don't see how he could be considered the best, he was definitely a "top-tier" pop/rock pianist.

At the age of 16, Artur Rubinstein selected him as one of the top seven classical pianists in New York schools. Upon graduation from high school, he was promptly accepted at and enrolled at Juilliard.

If he were a slouch on piano, he would've never gotten in the door of such a prestigious institution. While at "Julie", his interest turned toward pop, rock and R&B. Though you personally may not like his music, there's no denying that even as a pop/rock composer/performer, the piano was his lead instrument on virtually every song he ever composed, played and recorded.

And with no offense intended, Monica, your statement that the piano was not "first and foremost" in the pieces of "these other guys"--is simply not accurate. \:\)

The piano was far and away the most prominent musical instrument in virtually every song that Elton John, Billy Joel and Jerry Lee Lewis ever wrote, played and recorded. At their live performances, their grand pianos were at centerstage. None of them was particularly admired for their vocal abilities. Their voices alone would've never made them pop/rock stars--their abilities at the piano did. ;\)

I just don't believe that Amos and Teng can be favorably compared to those three as pop/rock pianists.

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#1137605 - 12/28/06 11:53 PM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
ipgrunt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 419
Loc: Western US
I'll mention a few contenders that seem to be ignored by this group.

Dr. John plays rings around Elton and Billy Joel.

Billy Preston played memorable key parts on many of the great rock and pop records of the late 1960s through early 1970s, including the Beatles Let It Be album. Hard to beat those credentials.

Al Kooper, who later went on to form Blood Sweat and Tears, was the organist on Bob Dylan's first big hit, "Like a Rolling Stone", and as a result his playing appears on dozens of milestone recordings of the golden age of rock.

But for me, Leon Russell is the man who taught us all how to play rock and roll piano. Leon gets my vote for the best and most influential rock pianist ever. Every rock pianist has borrowed from Leon, though few realize his contribution. Leon Russell was a member of LA's elite group of studio players known as "The Wrecking Crew" and appears on the major records of the 1960s, including those of the Beach Boys, Neil Young, The Byrds, Herb Alpert, The Rolling Stones, and Phil Spector's stable of hit makers. Anyone who recorded in LA during this period worked with Leon. His later work as a front man for Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englismen Tour combined with his solo career taught us how to apply traditional gospel sounds to rocking blues. He's discovered and produced greats like Phoebe Snow, Lynard Skynard, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Concrete Blonde, and over the years has had many associations with industry greats like George Harrison, Willy Nelson, Freddy King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. His songs have been recorded by many in other areas of the business, like Barbara Streisand and George Benson. You'd be hard pressed to find another pianist in all of pop music who's been as influential as Leon Russell.
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#1137606 - 12/29/06 01:45 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
Music Lover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/26/06
Posts: 200
Loc: USA
"I'll mention a few contenders that seem to be ignored by this group."

We're not ignoring anybody.[/b]

"Dr. John plays rings around Elton and Billy Joel."

Prove it. And Dr. John just never did a very good job at COMPOSING music at the piano. Joel and John are sixth and ninth, respectively, on the all-time album/CD sales list---which includes ALL genres of music. Perhaps his name should be "Dr. Who?".[/b] \:\)

"Billy Preston played memorable key parts on many of the great rock and pop records of the late 1960s through early 1970s, including the Beatles Let It Be album. Hard to beat those credentials."

Apparently you're not aware that we were discussing POP/ROCK ACOUSTIC PIANISTS. Billy Preston was known primarily for his work with the ELECTRIC piano and organ. He played ELECTRIC keyboards on a couple songs on each of the Beatle's last two albums. And as was the case with Dr. John, he just never accomplished much as a composer of his own songs. Much of his fame was gained by playing on OTHER ARTISTS COMPOSITIONS.[/b] \:D

"Al Kooper, who later went on to form Blood Sweat and Tears, was the organist on Bob Dylan's first big hit, "Like a Rolling Stone", and as a result his playing appears on dozens of milestone recordings of the golden age of rock."

Still trying to figure out how an ORGANIST can be considered for the title of "best pop/rock PIANIST". Perhaps you can explain! :p You're obviously not aware of the hard fact that Kooper was with BS&T only briefly, leaving the group after their first album. He was already gone when they achieved stardom. Kooper is yet another you've mentioned who never achieved much as a PIANO COMPOSER.[/b]

"But for me, Leon Russell is the man who taught us all how to play rock and roll piano. Leon gets my vote for the best and most influential rock pianist ever. Every rock pianist has borrowed from Leon, though few realize his contribution. Leon Russell was a member of LA's elite group of studio players known as "The Wrecking Crew" and appears on the major records of the 1960s, including those of the Beach Boys, Neil Young, The Byrds, Herb Alpert, The Rolling Stones, and Phil Spector's stable of hit makers. Anyone who recorded in LA during this period worked with Leon. His later work as a front man for Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englismen Tour combined with his solo career taught us how to apply traditional gospel sounds to rocking blues. He's discovered and produced greats like Phoebe Snow, Lynard Skynard, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Concrete Blonde, and over the years has had many associations with industry greats like George Harrison, Willy Nelson, Freddy King, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many others. His songs have been recorded by many in other areas of the business, like Barbara Streisand and George Benson. You'd be hard pressed to find another pianist in all of pop music who's been as influential as Leon Russell."

Speak for yourself regarding your preposterous statement that Leon Russell is "the man who taught us all how to play rock and roll piano." Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Fats Domino etc. etc. were "smokin' the keys" on Rock, Blues, R&B and Pop piano when Leon Russell was barely a teenager. \:D

Leon learned just about everything he knows as a BACKUP player for the mighty Jerry Lee Lewis. Leon is yet another you've mentioned who was PRETTY WEAK as a composer. And he only played on SOME of the sessions of those big names you mentioned. He played on NOWHERE NEAR all of their recordings. And there were numerous recording studios in L.A. in the 1960's, so there are PLENTY of big names who recorded in L.A. at studios that Leon had NO AFFILIATION with. :p

Your input in this thread is welcome, but we want DOCUMENTATION for your proclamations. We don't accept any statements at face value here.[/b] ;\)

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#1137607 - 12/29/06 01:53 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
OK you both have at it. I will stay out of the fray. I'll just kick back and lurk from my den. When the dust settles and you have decided the official winner, I'll come around. LOL ;\)
_________________________
I have my own weapon of mass destruction in the form of a "teenage" German Shepherd. Anything she spies and can get ahold of is fair game.

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#1137608 - 12/29/06 02:06 AM Re: Best pop/rock pianists?
wolfindmist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1478
Loc: In a state full of Volcanoes
Leon Russell sure looks like a crazy dude...
I just had to look didn't I

Back to the den, I'll sleep with one eye open tonight.

_________________________
I have my own weapon of mass destruction in the form of a "teenage" German Shepherd. Anything she spies and can get ahold of is fair game.

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