November 27, 2023

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The title of “best” pop piano players is subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences. However, there have been many influential and talented pop piano players throughout history who have made significant contributions to the genre. Here are some of the notable pop piano players:

John-performing-a-tribute-to-George-Michael at Twickenham, London, in June 2017

Elton John

Born Reginald Dwight in 1947 in England, is a legendary British singer, songwriter, and pianist whose enduring influence on popular music is indisputable. Renowned for his remarkable vocal prowess and extraordinary piano skills, he embarked on his musical journey in the late 1960s under the stage name Elton John. Collaborating closely with lyricist Bernie Taupin, their partnership yielded an impressive array of hit songs and albums, catapulting him to international stardom. Classics like “Your Song,” “Rocket Man,” and “Candle in the Wind” are just a glimpse of his extensive catalog. Beyond his musical achievements, Elton John’s philanthropic efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS through the Elton John AIDS Foundation have left an indelible mark. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1998, he remains an iconic figure in the world of music, with his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour serving as a grand finale to an illustrious career that has spanned over five decades.


Joel at Madison Square Garden, circa 1995

Billy Joel

Billy Joel, born in 1949 in the Bronx, New York, is a legendary American singer, songwriter, and pianist whose music has left an indelible mark on the world of pop and rock. His storytelling prowess and exceptional piano skills have made him an iconic figure in the music industry. With a career spanning several decades, Joel has given us timeless hits such as “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl,” and “New York State of Mind.” He possesses a unique ability to craft songs that resonate with people from all walks of life, often capturing the essence of everyday experiences and emotions. His 1973 album “Piano Man” marked a significant breakthrough, and he continued to produce chart-topping albums and singles. Billy Joel’s music remains a cherished part of the American musical landscape, and his concerts, characterized by his charismatic stage presence, continue to draw adoring fans worldwide.


Barry Manilow in the keys 2008

Barry Manilow

An American pop music sensation has left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. Born in 1943, Manilow is celebrated for his smooth vocals, heartfelt ballads, and enduring charisma. His extensive catalog of hits, including “Mandy,” “Can’t Smile Without You,” and “Copacabana,” has resonated with audiences worldwide for decades. What sets Manilow apart is not only his remarkable singing but also his prowess as a pianist and composer. He often incorporates piano-driven melodies into his music, creating an emotional connection with his listeners. Beyond his chart-topping success, Manilow’s live performances are legendary, captivating audiences with his energy and stage presence. His contributions to the pop music landscape have solidified him as an enduring icon, and his legacy continues to shine bright in the world of entertainment.


Alicia Keys at the Summer Sonic Festival

Alicia Keys

Born Alicia Augello Cook in 1981, is a multi-talented American artist renowned for her exceptional skills as a singer, songwriter, pianist, and producer. Her music seamlessly combines elements of R&B, soul, jazz, and pop, creating a signature sound that resonates with fans worldwide. Alicia Keys’ powerful and soulful voice, coupled with her virtuosic piano-playing abilities, have propelled her to the forefront of the music industry. Her debut album, “Songs in A Minor,” released in 2001, garnered widespread acclaim and featured the hit single “Fallin’.” Throughout her career, she has continued to produce chart-topping songs such as “If I Ain’t Got You” and “No One.” Beyond her musical achievements, Keys is an advocate for social and humanitarian causes, using her platform to promote equality, justice, and empowerment. Her influence extends far beyond the realm of music, making her a respected figure in both the entertainment industry and the world of activism.


Carole King Boston 2012

Carole King

Carole King, born Carol Joan Klein in 1942, is an iconic American singer-songwriter and pianist whose music has left an indelible mark on the world of pop and folk. Her ability to craft heartfelt and deeply personal songs has made her one of the most celebrated songwriters in the industry. King’s landmark album “Tapestry,” released in 1971, is regarded as a classic and includes timeless tracks like “You’ve Got a Friend” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” Her songwriting talents have also been recognized through hits she penned for other artists, including “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” for The Shirelles and “Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin. Carole King’s warm and soulful voice, combined with her skilled piano playing, has earned her numerous accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards. Her influence continues to resonate with generations of music lovers, solidifying her status as a beloved and enduring figure in popular music.


John Legend Once-Again Album

John Legend

John Legend, born John Roger Stephens in 1978, is a highly acclaimed American singer, songwriter, pianist, and actor known for his soulful voice and exceptional musical talent. With a career spanning multiple genres, including R&B, pop, and gospel, Legend has consistently delivered chart-topping hits and earned numerous accolades. His breakthrough came with the release of his debut album, “Get Lifted,” in 2004, which featured the Grammy-winning single “Ordinary People.” His remarkable ability to blend heartfelt lyrics with his virtuosic piano-playing skills has made him a beloved figure in the music industry. Notable songs like “All of Me” and “Love Me Now” have solidified his status as a contemporary music icon. Beyond his music, John Legend is also known for his advocacy on various social and humanitarian issues, using his platform to promote positive change and justice. His contributions to both the world of music and philanthropy have cemented his place as a respected and influential artist.


Paul McCartney in The White House

Paul McCartney

A musical legend and one of the most iconic figures in the history of popular music, is best known as the co-founder of The Beatles. Born in Liverpool in 1942, McCartney’s exceptional songwriting, melodious bass lines, and piano skills played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s unparalleled success. As a pianist, he showcased his talents on timeless classics like “Let It Be” and “Hey Jude.” Beyond The Beatles, McCartney’s solo career has been equally illustrious, with hits such as “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Live and Let Die.” His contributions to music have earned him numerous awards, including Grammy Awards, and he continues to captivate audiences with his enduring creativity, versatility, and dedication to the craft. Whether as a bassist, pianist, singer, or songwriter, Paul McCartney’s influence on the world of music is immeasurable, and his legacy remains a testament to his unmatched talent and enduring impact.


Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles, born in 1979, is an immensely talented American singer-songwriter and pianist known for her heartfelt lyrics and captivating voice. Her music effortlessly straddles the worlds of pop, rock, and indie, creating a unique and relatable sound that resonates with listeners. Bareilles gained widespread recognition with her hit single “Love Song” in 2007, which showcased her songwriting prowess and vocal abilities. Her album “Little Voice” solidified her status as a prominent artist, featuring tracks like “Gravity” that highlighted her emotive piano-playing skills. Over the years, she has continued to release albums such as “Kaleidoscope Heart” and “The Blessed Unrest,” earning critical acclaim and multiple Grammy nominations. Beyond her music, Sara Bareilles has ventured into musical theater, composing the score for the Broadway musical “Waitress.” Her ability to craft deeply personal and relatable songs, coupled with her piano artistry, has made her a beloved figure in contemporary music, and her influence continues to grow with each new release.


Ben folds playing

Ben Folds

Ben Folds, a versatile American musician, songwriter, and pianist, has carved a unique niche in the world of alternative rock and pop. Born in 1966, Folds is celebrated for his energetic and often witty piano-driven music. He gained prominence as the frontman of the alternative rock band Ben Folds Five, known for their hits like “Brick” and “Battle of Who Could Care Less.” Folds’ solo career has further showcased his talent, with albums like “Rockin’ the Suburbs” and “Songs for Silverman” featuring his distinctive blend of heartfelt storytelling and piano virtuosity. His ability to fuse rock sensibilities with piano melodies has earned him a dedicated fan base, and he continues to be a prolific artist, both as a solo performer and collaborator. Ben Folds’ contributions to the music industry extend beyond his albums, as he is also known for his work as a producer, composer, and advocate for music education. His dynamic stage presence and charismatic performances make him a beloved and enduring figure in modern music.


Jamie Cullum at Colours of Ostrava

Jamie Cullum

Jamie Cullum, a modern jazz and pop sensation, is a British singer-songwriter and pianist whose music captivates audiences with its unique blend of jazz, pop, and rock influences. Born in 1979, Cullum’s dynamic performances and virtuosic piano skills have earned him a dedicated following worldwide. His ability to seamlessly fuse traditional jazz elements with contemporary pop sensibilities is evident in hits like “All at Sea” and “Everlasting Love.” Beyond his studio recordings, Cullum’s live performances are renowned for their energy and improvisational flair, showcasing his deep connection to the music. His remarkable talent as both a vocalist and pianist, along with his engaging stage presence, has solidified his status as a prominent figure in the crossover jazz-pop genre. With a career marked by numerous albums and collaborations, Jamie Cullum continues to push the boundaries of musical innovation, delighting fans with his eclectic and genre-defying sound.


These are just a few of the many talented pop piano players who have left their mark on the genre. Pop music has been enriched by their contributions, and their piano skills have helped shape the sound of popular music over the years.

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