View Full Version : Top 5 Keyboardists

05-17-2007, 04:02 PM
Not sure why we missed keyboardists, unless it's the prejudice a lot of rockers have to keyboards, the perception that it somehow makes the songs "wimpy." I can think of several hard rock/metal outfits that successfully used keyboards. So here are my top 5 favorites.

Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep
Kerry Minnear of Gentle Giant
Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater
Keith Emerson of ELP
Greg Rolie of Santana and Journey

Chick Corea
Jan Hammer
Herbie Hancock
Dave Brubeck
Josef Zawinul

05-17-2007, 07:16 PM

Jon Lord of Deep Purple - I think he was born sitting at a Hammond B3

Progressive rock has tons of wicked players too. You already mentioned Keith Emmerson of Emmerson, Lake and Palmer. Some of my faves are:

Rick Wakeman of Yes
Tony Banks of Genesis

Also, in no particular category:

Ray Manzarek of The Doors
Burton Cummings of The Guess Who (& solo)
Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears

05-17-2007, 07:53 PM
Jon Lord. Yes, "Made in Japan" has some really excellent examples of his keyboard work. Lots of jams and interplays with Blackmore.

I was going to include Rick Wakeman in an Honorable Mention category. I have several of his solo efforts on vinyl, "Six Wives of Henry the VIII," "Journey to the Center of the Earth," and "Legend of King Arthur...".

05-17-2007, 08:53 PM
Rick Wakeman, Yes
Jordan Rudess, Dream Theater

05-17-2007, 08:55 PM
Oh yeah, Made in Japan was one of my favourite albums growing up. Highway Star live was killer! What a friggin' awesome live band they were at that time. Blackmore was as much responsible for my buying a Stratocaster as any guitar player was.

05-17-2007, 09:41 PM
Eh, they're all there. The only one I'd add is Keiko Matsui for jazz.

And I'd remove the dream theater guy, because they're the most boring band ever.

Oh, Jens Johanson is pretty good too.

05-17-2007, 10:48 PM
How about crossing Eddie Van Halen over to this one? (Jump?)


05-17-2007, 11:03 PM
How about crossing Eddie Van Halen over to this one? (Jump?)

Well, this is all pretty subjective. You can if you want. I think Eddie is a great guitarist, but simply an adequate keyboardist. I certainly wouldn't put him in the league of some of the ones mentioned above.

05-18-2007, 12:39 AM
Oh yeah. Eddie played just fine for what VH needed, much as Geddy Lee with Rush. But Eddie is not an exceptional keyboardist, not by a long shot.

ETA -- thought of another one:

Billy Joel. Like his music or not, the guy can tickle the ivories like nobody's business. (yeah, I know he's not a hard rocker)

05-18-2007, 01:48 AM
I was just kidding about Eddie. :)

05-18-2007, 01:53 AM

Thing is, Eddie is just competent enough that it didn't seem ludicrous someone would like his keyboard playing.