Piano Heroes

Piano Heroes

Update: 2022-11-30


Rock’n’roll is built on the electric guitar...well, mostly...and not really in the beginning...in fact, the electric guitar as we know it, didn’t have much to do with the birth of rock at all...

The earliest rock evolved out of rhythm & blues combos...by the early 50s, many of them featured some kind of electric guitars...but the honk and rhythm came from saxophones and pianos which were slowly pounded into matchsticks...

The piano contributed bits of jazz, boogie-woogie, barrelhouse, and juke-joint energy...and even through the 1950s, the construct known as the “guitar hero” was largely absent from the world of rock’n’roll—outside of chuck berry, of course...

 Instead, the early pioneers were piano heroes...Little Richard...Jerry Lee Lewis...Fats Domino...Ray Charles...Huey “piano” Smith...

 But when guitars got louder, started sounding dirtier, and began to wail more powerfully, the number of rock’n’roll piano heroes were outgunned and began to recede into the background...not entirely, though... Again, I’m talking just about pianos...none of this fancy synthesizer stuff...

Elton John, Billy Joel, and Carole King have had massive careers based largely on piano songs...the Beatles—especially Paul McCartney—served the cause...Freddie Mercury of Queen wrote much of their greatest songs on piano...

There are others...Leon Russell, Mike Garson (who played with Bowie for years), Chuck Liddell (a favourite of the Rolling Stones), Dr. John, Billy Preston, Stevie Wonder, Ray Manzarek of The Doors, Rick Wakeman of Yes, Keith Emerson of Emerson Lake and Palmer...

But you notice what’s missing from that list?...any piano heroes from the world of alt-rock...does even such a thing exist?...actually, yes...they’re a bit hard to spot, but they’re out there...here—let me show you...

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Piano Heroes

Piano Heroes