Top Rock & Pop Pianists
There are millions of musicians performing today who wield an incredible gift when it comes to playing the piano. However, there’s no doubt that some just command the room better than others. These are the performers who keep us coming back for more, so let’s have a look at Howl2GO’s picks for the top five rock & pop musicians to wow us on 88 keys.
Hailing from the salty shores of Long Island, there’s a reason why Billy Joel is known from sea to sea as the piano man. Joel got his start in the late 1960’s after being influenced by the Beatles and has since put out 13 studio albums, spawning hits such as “Piano Man”, “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”, and “Uptown Girl”. Check out this performance in honor of the closing of New York’s Shea Stadium:
The across-the-pond contemporary to Billy Joel has to be Elton John, the knighted singer who along with lyricist Bernie Taupin, has released a steady string of albums and singles rooted in soul, rock n’ roll, contemporary pop, and much more since meeting when John was just 20 years old. Though his most popular album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, was released all the way in 1973, Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s partnership continues today and the pair released an album as recently as 2016. See an intimate studio session of the infamous hit “Tiny Dancer” here:
In order for Billy Joel and Elton John to have a shot at success, Ray Charles needed to come first. Charles was known as “The Genius” for a good reason—he was a bonafide pioneer who pulled together the most essential components of blues, gospel, and rhythm & blues together to form what would be called “soul”. Songs of struggle could now be found with blaring horns and an uptempo feel, adding a sense of optimism where most musicians would never have expected. You can feel just what I mean in Ray Charles’ 1961 hit, “Unchain My Heart”:
Picking up where Ray Charles faded came Stevie Wonder, a true student of soul who in the 1970’s, began incorporating elements of the newly-fashioned “funk” music into his songwriting. The result speaks for itself, as Wonder has released over 26 albums including deific pieces like Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Talking Book, and Songs in the Key of Love. Despite being blind since birth, Stevie Wonder is still a masterful performer, as witnessed by this 1973 performance of “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”:
A rare case amongst legendary pianists, but Ben Folds found success in the early 1990’s, forming the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five with Robert Sledge on bass and Darren Jessee playing drums. The group’s dynamic performances were always headlined by Folds’ intuition on the keys, pop-laced tones, and straightforward lyricism, which allowed him to latch onto audiences despite popular music at the time being overrun with distorted guitars and screamed vocals. You can feel Ben Folds command all the enthusiasm in the room during this performance of “Army”.
Live Dueling Pianos
Think these performers bring excitement to the stage? Just wait until you see the amazing performance Howl2GO Dueling Pianos can bring to your party! Our dynamic dueling piano show brings tons of excitement to every stage, playing tons of hit songs and getting every guest in the room on their feet. We plan out every detail of your performance weeks in advance, making sure every part of the show goes exactly with your plans. You can even customize your setlist and add additional musicians to our legendary dueling piano show for an experience like no other. All of our performers are trained by Howl at the Moon to maximize stage presence, so you can be sure that your show won’t be boring for even a second. Plus we even provide the entirety of the equipment, arriving early so the show gets started without a hitch.BEN FOLDS, BILLY JOEL, ELTON JOHN, live entertainment for events, music for events, music for wedding receptions, RAY CHARLES, rock n roll piano, STEVIE WONDER