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Famous and Influential Musicians - "Keyboards"
(Click on individual Musician's Biography section to visit Musician's Home Page)
Throughout the history of music individual performers have had a major impact on the music scene. These influential/notable musicians have left their mark by expanding the envelope of their respective genres, either through technical proficiency, experimentation/exploration, or persona. The following list of notable/influential keyboard ists is by no means complete. The performers listed are those that readily came to mind, and any additions to the list can be sent using the link at the bottom of the page. The individual home pages for the musicians listed can be reached by clicking on their name in the bio section.
Al Kooper - Ben Folds - Bill Payne - Billy Joel – Billy Preston - Billy Ritchie - Booker T. Jones - Brian Auger -
Brian Eno – Bruce Hornsby - Doug Ingle
Doug Airey - Dr. John - Duke Ellington - Eddie Jobson - Elton John - Eric Drew Feldman - Garth Hudson - Greg Hawkes - Ian Underwood - Jack Dupree
Jerry Lee Lewis - John Evans - Jon Lord - Leon Russell - Keith Emerson - Kerry Livgren - Klaus Schulze - Madonna Wayne - Michael McDonald
Nicky Hopkins - Ray Charles - Ray Manzarek - Richard Wright - Rick Wakeman - Steve Winwood - T. Lavitz - Thijs van Leer - Tom Waits - Tony Banks
Al Kooper - born Alan Peter Kuperschmidt, February 5, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York, is an American songwriter, record producer and musician, probably best known for organizing the group Blood, Sweat & Tears, though he did not stay with the group long enough to share its popularity. He provided important studio support for Bob Dylan when he went electric in 1965, and also brought together guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills of CSNY fame to record the Super Session album.
He performed with Bob Dylan in concert in 1965, and in the recording studio in 1965 and 1966, including playing Hammond organ with Dylan at the (in)famous Newport Folk Festival of 1965. It was a young Al Kooper who played the classy, yet improvised gospel music-influenced Hammond organ riffs (usually an eighth note behind) on Dylan's milestone rock recording Like a Rolling Stone. It was in those recording sessions that Kooper met and befriended Mike Bloomfield, whose guitar-playing he instantly admired. He worked extensively with Mike Bloomfield for a number of years after the two met as session musicians on Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album. Kooper also played organ with Dylan during his 1981 world tour. 'Artist Discography'
Ben Folds - born September 12, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter and the former frontman of the band Ben Folds Five. He is widely acclaimed for his prowess as a pianist, composer, songwriter, performer, and multi-instrumentalist. As of 2008, Folds has released six solo LPs, including an experimental side project called Fear of Pop, which was released while Ben Folds Five was still together. Because of his father's work as a builder and carpenter, Folds moved frequently throughout his childhood. As a result, making friends was difficult. Consequently, Folds became attached to a piano his father brought home when he was 9, the result of a barter trade his father made with a customer who was unable to pay for his work. During this time, Folds listened to songs by Elton John and Billy Joel on AM radio, and learned them by ear. Over the last 15 years, Ben Folds’ first-class melodic gifts, irony-laced lyrics, and punk-rock tendency to play piano as if it were a contact sport have earned the North Carolina native a legion of devoted fans of all ages. 'Artist Discography'
Bill Payne - born March 12, 1949, Waco, Texas is a founding member of critically acclaimed American rock band, Little Feat. He is considered to be one of the finest American piano rock and blues music artists by many other piano rock musicians. Little Feat is an American band formed by singer-songwriter, frontman and guitarist Lowell George and keyboard player Bill Payne in 1969 in Los Angeles. The band plays a mixture of blues, R&B, country, New Orleans funk, and rock and roll. Payne was a pioneer in the development of online music communities. In the early 1990s, he contacted his fan base, and enlisted the help of friend Jay Herbst to develop the Little Feat Grass-roots Movement. This model went on to be a template for many bands in the creation of their "Street Teams." Street Teams enlist the help of bands' fans for purposes of music and concert promotion. These street teams have proven to be an effective vehicle for bringing bands and fans closer together, and forging friendships between them. As an example, Jay Herbst's own band, Shocking Edison, released it's debut CD, Scientific Curiosity in 2006, which featured Billy Payne on keyboards and Hammond B3. The Boat Drunks, a Jimmy Buffett-style band, includes another fan-turned-friend, Larry Lister, on drums. The Boat Drunks were added to Payne's own record label, Hot Tomato Records. 'Artist Discography'
Billy Joel - born May 9, 1949, is an American rock musician and singer-songwriter. He released his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973. According to the RIAA, Billy Joel is the sixth best-selling recording artist in the United States. Joel had Top 10 hits in the '70s, '80s, and '90s; is a six-time Grammy Award winner, and has sold in excess of 150 million albums worldwide. He was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (Class of 1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Class of 1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (Class of 2006). Joel "retired" from recording pop music in 1993 but continued to tour (sometimes with Elton John). In 2001 he subsequently released Fantasies & Delusions, a CD of classical compositions for piano. In 2007 he returned to recording with a single entitled "All My Life," followed by an extensive world tour from 2006-2008, covering many of the major world cities. Upon seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Joel decided to pursue a full-time musical career, and set about finding a local Long Island band to join. Eventually he found the Echoes, a group that specialized in British Invasion covers. The Echoes became a popular New York attraction, convincing him to leave high school to become a professional musician. He began playing for the Echoes when he was 14 years old.
Joel began playing recording sessions with the Echoes in 1965, when he was 16 years old. Joel played piano on several recordings produced by Shadow Morton, including (as claimed by Joel, but denied by songwriter Ellie Greenwich) the Shangri-Las' Leader of the Pack, as well as several records released through Kama Sutra Productions. During this time, the Echoes started to play numerous late-night shows.
Later, in 1965, the Echoes changed their name to the Emeralds and then to the Lost Souls. For two years, he played sessions and performed with the Lost Souls. In 1967, he left that band to join the Hassles, a Long Island band that had signed a contract with United Artists Records. Over the next year and a half, they released The Hassles in 1967, Hour of the Wolf in 1968, and four singles, all of which failed commercially. Following The Hassles' demise in 1969, he formed the duo Attila with Hassles drummer Jon Small. Attila released their eponymous debut album in July 1970, and disbanded the following October.
In late 1975, he played piano and organ on several tracks on Bo Diddley's The 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll all-star album. Whereas most records are owned by the recording company, Billy Joel is one of a number of performers — including Paul Simon, Johnny Rivers, Pink Floyd, Queen, Genesis, and Neil Diamond — who have their own name as the copyright owner on their recordings. 'Artist Discography'
Billy Preston - (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006) was an American soul musician from Houston, Texas, raised mostly in Los Angeles, California. In addition to his successful, Grammy-winning career as a solo artist, Preston collaborated with some of the greatest names in the music industry, including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Nat King Cole, Little Richard, Eric Burdon, Ray Charles, George Harrison, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Sam Cooke, King Curtis, Sammy Davis Jr., Sly Stone, Aretha Franklin, the Jackson 5, Quincy Jones, Richie Sambora, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He played the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the Lowrey DSO Heritage organ on the Get Back sessions in 1969. Preston began playing piano while sitting on his mother's lap at age three, and he was considered something of a prodigy on piano and organ. By the age of 10 he was performing in the bands of gospel singers Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland. At age 12 he appeared in the 1958 Paramount Pictures film St. Louis Blues, portraying blues composer W.C. Handy as a young man. In the 1960s he performed with Little Richard and Ray Charles. He also began a recording career as a solo artist with the 1965 album The Most Exciting Organ Ever. He was also a regular on the mid-1960s ABC-TV musical variety series Shindig! as a member of the show's house band. Preston is the only non-Beatle to receiving billing as an artist alongside the Beatles (as distinct from receiving credit as a session musician on album packaging) on an official Beatles record release. The label of the Get Back single credits the artists on the record as "The Beatles with Billy Preston". Preston is the only non-Beatle to receive billing as an artist alongside the Beatles (as distinct from receiving credit as a session musician on album packaging) on an official Beatles record release. The label of the Get Back single credits the artists on the record as "The Beatles with Billy Preston". 'Artist Discography'
Billy Ritchie - Keyboard player of "Clouds", a 1960s Progressive rock band that disbanded in October 1971. The band consisted of Ian Ellis (bass & lead vocals), Harry Hughes (drums) and Billy Ritchie . Clouds were a fairly successful live act, whose performances and recordings often earned rave reviews from music critics, but their records never quite captured public imagination. More importantly though, in their earlier days as "1-2-3", they pioneered a sound and musical approach that became the blueprint for many successful acts, such as Yes, The Nice, and King Crimson.
Ritchie, was credited as being the first of his kind, standing to play and taking a leading role, thereby providing a model for others, such as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. The elimination of a lead guitar in favour of keyboards was virtually unheard of at a time when lead guitarists were pushing to the forefront in most bands, and Ritchie's practice of "standing" at his keyboards instead of sitting was a format quickly adopted by others, creating an effect that has been the standard ever since, and shifting the role of keyboard from rhythm to lead.
Ritchie's playing style was also unusual, in that whereas most players used a right hand supported by the left, Ritchie used both hands to play leading lines or solos, using octaves or harmonies, effectively like two right hands. This gave the Hammond organ an exceptionally strong and dynamic sound, and was also most striking when he played electric piano and organ at the same time. That, with the guitarist role being supplanted by Ritchie, meant that 1-2-3 had a much different sound from any other band of that era. They were described as "a unique group...who have created an entirely new sound in pop group music". The arrangements of the music were also revolutionary. Ritchie was also an exceptional arranger and writer, whose ideas were out on a limb for the times, providing inspiration for musicians by showing them that all musical bets were off, and that there need be no limits to the imagination. Now seen as “a definitive precursor of the Progressive Rock movement”, by all accounts, 1-2-3’s music consisted of drastic re-writes of known material, infused with a mixture of classics, jazz, scat, acapella vocals, unusual time signatures and unexpected pauses, often all occurring in the same song. According to David Bowie (Mojo 1994) Ritchie was a genius. The Clouds were one of those unfortunate bands who were more appreciated by other musicians than by fans. They had a major influence on their contemporary musicians, and on the direction the art form took at this time in music history. 'Artist Discography'
Booker T. Jones - born November 12, 1944, is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and arranger, best known for fronting the band, Booker T. and the MGs. Born in South Memphis, Tennessee, Jones was a child prodigy, playing the oboe, saxophone, trombone, and piano at school and serving as organist at his church. Jones's first entry into professional music came at age sixteen, when he played baritone saxophone on Satellite (soon to be Stax) Records' first hit, "Cause I Love You", by Rufus Thomas and Carla Thomas.
While hanging around the Satellite Record Shop run by Estelle Axton, co-owner of Satellite Records with her brother Jim Stewart, Jones met record clerk Steve Cropper, who would become one of the MGs when the group formed in 1962. Besides Jones on organ and Cropper on guitar, Booker T. and the MGs featured Lewie Steinberg on bass guitar and Al Jackson, Jr. on drums (Donald "Duck" Dunn eventually replacing Steinberg). While still in high school, Jones wrote the group's instrumental "Green Onions", which not only became a hit in 1962, but remains an enduring classic more than 40 years later.
Over the next few years, Jones would divide his time between studying classical music composition, composing and transposition at Indiana University, playing with the MGs on the weekends back in Memphis, serving as a session musician with other Stax acts, and writing songs that would become classics. He wrote, with Eddie Floyd, "I've Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)", Otis Redding's "I Love You More Than Words Can Say", and, with William Bell, Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign." The latter would later be popularized in the cover version by power trio Cream. 'Artist Discography'
Brian Auger - born 18 July 1939, is a jazz and rock keyboardist, who has specialized in playing the Hammond organ. A jazz pianist, bandleader, session musician and Hammond B3 player, Auger has played or toured with artists such as Rod Stewart, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon and others. He has incorporated jazz, early British pop, R&B, soul music and rock, and he has been nominated for a Grammy. In 1965 Auger formed the group The Steampacket, along with Long John Baldry, Julie Driscoll, Vic Briggs and Rod Stewart. With Driscoll and the band, Trinity, he went on to record several hit singles, notably a cover version of David Ackles' "Road to Cairo" and Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's on Fire", which was featured on Dylan Covered. In 1969 Auger, Driscoll and Trinity appeared performing on the national telecast of "33⅓ Revolutions Per Monkee".
In 1970 he formed Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, shortly after abandoning the abortive "Wassenaar Arrangement" jazz-fusion commune in a small suburb of The Hague. The Oblivion Express served to cultivate several musicians, including future The Average White Band drummers Robbie McIntosh and Steve Ferrone, as well as guitarist Jim Mullen. Likewise, in 1971 he produced and appeared on Mogul Thrash's only album. Two members of that band, Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan, would also go on to form the Average White Band.
In 1989, Auger was musical director for the thirteen-part film retrospective series "Villa Fantastica", made for German TV. A live recording of the series, Super Jam (1990), features Auger on piano, Pete York on drums, Dick Morrissey on tenor saxophone, Roy Williams on trombone, Harvey Weston on bass guitar, with singers Zoot Money and Maria Muldaur.
Auger toured with blues rocker Eric Burdon in the early 1990s, and recorded the live album Access All Areas with him in 1993. After several projects, including albums with family members, he reformed the Oblivion Express in the late 1990s, with a line-up that eventually featured both his son and daughter. The Oblivion Express was revived with a 2005 recording and subsequent touring. The group featured Brian Auger, his son Karma Auger on drums, his daughter Savannah Auger on vocals, and Derek Frank on bass. 'Artist Discography'
Brian Eno - Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno, born 15 May 1948, commonly known as Brian Eno, is an English musician, composer, producer, music theorist, and singer, who, as a solo artist, is best known as the father of ambient music. Eno became prominent in the early 1970s as the keyboards and synthesiser player of the glam rock and art rock band Roxy Music. Upon leaving the group, he recorded four influential rock albums, including Another Green World (1975), his first venture into more abstract musical territory. Eno then concentrated on sound landscapes in records such as Discreet Music (1975) and Ambient 1/Music for Airports (1978), continuing to make ambient music over the next several decades. Before and After Science (1977) was Eno's last solo album emphasising his own singing until 2005's Another Day on Earth.
From 1976 to 1979 Eno worked with David Bowie on the avant-garde "Berlin Trilogy"; helped to popularise the band Devo and the punk rock-influenced "No Wave" genre; and introduced the concepts of chance music to wider audiences, partly through his collaborations with popular musicians. Eno has worked frequently with Harold Budd, John Cale, Cluster, Robert Fripp and David Byrne. He produced three albums by Talking Heads including Remain in Light (1980), six albums by U2 including No Line on the Horizon (2009), and albums by James, Laurie Anderson and Coldplay. 'Artist Discography'
Bruce Hornsby - born November 23, 1954, is an American singer, pianist, accordion player, and songwriter. Known for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performances, Hornsby draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, Folk, motown, rock, blues, and jam band musical traditions with his songwriting and the seamless improvisations contained within. Hornsby's recordings have been recognized on a number of occasions with industry awards, including the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987 with Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the Best Bluegrass Recording Grammy in 1989, and the Best Pop Instrumental Grammy in 1993. Hornsby has also achieved recognition for his solo albums and performances, his current live act Bruce Hornsby & the Noise Makers, his bluegrass project with Ricky Skaggs, his jazz act The Bruce Hornsby Trio, and his appearances as a session- and guest-musician. He also collaborated with the Grateful Dead. 'Artist Discography'
Don Airey - born 21 June 1948 in Sunderland, England, has been the keyboardist in the rock band Deep Purple since 2002, succeeding Jon Lord. He has had a long and productive career, playing with such acts as Gary Moore, Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Whitesnake, Colosseum II, Sinner, Michael Schenker, Uli Jon Roth, Rainbow, Divlje jagode and Living Loud. He has also worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber. 'Artist Discography'
Doug Ingle - born September 9, 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S. was the organist, vocalist and primary composer for the band Iron Butterfly. He is reportedly a very kind person with an extravagant personality. Ingle's father, a church organist, introduced him to music at an early age. Ingle moved from his native Nebraska within three months of his birth to the Rocky Mountains and after spending his impressionable years as a mountain child moved to San Diego, California. His work featured on Heavy, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Ball and Metamorphosis. Most famously, he authored the band's biggest hit, the epic seventeen-minute "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida." Ironically, when he originally wrote the song, he had not intended it to run seventeen minutes long. The album and subsequent single release of the title track vaulted Ingle and the band to national prominence, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" received the first Platinum Record sales award in the history of the Recording Industry and became a landmark record in psychedelic rock. 'Artist Discography'
Dr. John - is the stage name of Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (born November 21, 1940), a colorful pianist, singer, and songwriter, whose music spans, and often combines, blues, boogie woogie, and rock and roll. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, his professional musical career began in New Orleans in the 1950s. He originally concentrated on guitar and he gigged with local bands included Mac Rebennack and the Skyliners, Frankie Ford and the Thunderbirds, and Jerry Byrnes and the Loafers. He had a regional hit with a Bo Diddley influenced instrumental called "Storm Warning" on Rex Records in 1959. Rebennack's career as a guitarist came to an end when his left ring finger was injured by a gunshot while he was defending singer/keyboardist Ronnie Barron, his bandmate, Jesuit High School classmate, and longtime friend. After the injury, Rebennack concentrated on bass guitar before making piano his main instrument; pianist Professor Longhair was an important influence on Rebennack's piano stylings. 'Artist Discography'
Duke Ellington - Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader. Duke Ellington was recognized during his life as one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music. His reputation has increased since his death, including a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board. Ellington called his style and sound "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond category." These included many of the musicians who served with his orchestra, some of whom were considered among the giants of jazz and performed with Ellington's orchestra for decades. While many were noteworthy in their own right, it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known orchestral units in the history of jazz. Ellington's long-term aim became to extend the jazz form from the three-minute limit of the 78 rpm record side, of which he was an acknowledged master. He had composed and recorded Creole Rhapsody as early as 1931, and his tribute to his mother, "Reminiscing in Tempo," had filled four 10" record sides in 1935; however, it was not until the 1940s that this became a regular feature of Ellington's work. In this, he was helped by Strayhorn, who had enjoyed a more thorough training in the forms associated with classical music than Ellington. The first of these, "Black, Brown, and Beige" (1943), was dedicated to telling the story of African-Americans, the place of slavery, and the church in their history. Unfortunately, starting a regular pattern, Ellington's longer works were generally not well-received; Jump for Joy, an earlier musical, closed after only six performances in 1941. 'Artist Discography'
Eddie Jobson - born 28 April 1955, is an English keyboardist and violinist noted for his use of synthesizers. He has been a member of several progressive rock bands, including Curved Air, Roxy Music, 801, U.K., and Jethro Tull. He was also part of Frank Zappa's band in 1976-77. Aside from his keyboard work Jobson has also gained acclaim for his violin playing. In 1973 he replaced Brian Eno in Roxy Music, getting the job partially through a connection between his sister and the sister of singer Bryan Ferry, who knew each other in college. 'Artist Discography'
Elton John - Sir Elton Hercules John CBE (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947) is an English singer-songwriter, composer and pianist. In his four-decade career, John has been one of the dominant forces in rock and popular music, especially during the 1970s. He has sold over 200 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. He has more than 50 Top 40 hits including seven consecutive No. 1 U.S. albums, 59 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10, four No. 2 hits, and nine No. 1 hits. He has won five Grammy awards and one Academy Award. His success has had a profound impact on popular music and has contributed to the continued popularity of the piano in rock and roll. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him #49 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
Some of the characteristics of John's musical talent and work include an ability to quickly craft melodies for the lyrics of songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, his former rich tenor (now baritone) voice, his classical and gospel-influenced piano, the sensitive orchestral arrangements of Paul Buckmaster among others, and the on-stage showmanship, especially evident during the 1970s.
John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. He has been heavily involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s, and was knighted in 1998. He entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish on 21 December 2005 and continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements. On 9 April 2008, John held a benefit concert for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, raising $2.5 million. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list on which are present Hot 100's top 100 artists and Elton John reached #3, preceded by Madonna and The Beatles. 'Artist Discography'
Eric Drew Feldman - is an American keyboard and bass guitar player. Feldman has worked with Captain Beefheart, Snakefinger, The Residents, Pere Ubu, Pixies, dEUS, Katell Keineg, Frank Black, The Polyphonic Spree, Tripping Daisy, Reid Paley, Charlotte Hatherley, Custard, and PJ Harvey. He was already an experienced keyboard player when he joined Captain Beefheart's Magic Band in 1976, in which he also played bass. Like other members of the band, Feldman was expected to capture (on tape or notepad) Beefheart's musical ideas. Once instrumental parts had been created, the band members had to play them exactly as composed. 'Artist Discography'
Garth Hudson - born August 2, 1937 in Windsor, Ontario, is a Canadian musician. As the organist and keyboardist for Canadian-American rock group The Band, he was a principal architect of the group's unique sound. A master of the Lowrey organ, Hudson's orchestral tone sense and style anticipated many of the sonic advances of the polyphonic synthesizer. His other primary instruments are piano, electronic keyboards, tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone and accordion. He has been a much-in-demand session musician, performing with dozens of artists. He also plays in a duo with his wife, Maud, and in 2002 joined his friend Sneaky Pete Kleinow (died January 6, 2007) in another group, Burrito Deluxe, an offshoot of The Flying Burrito Brothers. He also has his own twelve piece band, The Best!. 'Artist Discography'
Greg Hawkes - born October 22, 1952, is a musician best known as the keyboardist for the New Wave band The Cars. Hawkes, a native of Fulton, Maryland, attended Atholton High School where he played in a band called Teeth. He then attended Berklee College of Music for two years, majoring in composition and flute. He left to play in various bands, including Martin Mull and his Fabulous Furniture, where he played flute, saxophones and clarinet. He also played in a band called Richard and The Rabbits, which included future Cars bandmates Ric Ocasek and Benjamin Orr. Greg Hawkes' most notable involvement was with The Cars. Hawkes pushed the limits of available technology and sequencing helping to forge the sound of the 1980's. His signature sounds include the Prophet-5 "touch sync" sound heard on "Let's Go" and "Hello Again" as well as arpeggiated and syncopated synth lines such as on "Shake it Up" and "Heartbeat City". 'Artist Discography'
Ian Underwood - (born May 22, 1939, is a saxophonist, flutist and pianist. He was a member of The Mothers of Invention, ('I am the straight member of the group') and later worked with Frank Zappa on his solo recordings, most notably on 1969's Hot Rats. He later married Ruth Komanoff (Underwood), marimbist/percussionist from the Mothers of Invention (mainly 1970s). After his lengthy career with Frank Zappa, he pursued a career as a session keyboardist, and is known for his proficiency on the Minimoog synthesizer. His work includes various projects, including recordings for Quincy Jones, Barbra Streisand, Ronee Blakley, Hugh Cornwell and Barry Manilow.
"Champion" Jack Dupree - was an American blues pianist. His birth date is disputed, given as July 4, July 10, and July 23, in the years 1908, 1909, or 1910. He died January 21, 1992. Champion Jack Dupree was the embodiment of the New Orleans blues and boogie woogie pianist, a true barrelhouse "professor". His father was from the Belgian Congo and his mother was African American and Cherokee. He was orphaned at the age of 2 and sent to the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs (also the alma mater of Louis Armstrong). He taught himself piano there and later apprenticed with Tuts Washington and the legendary Drive'em Down, whom he called his "father" and from whom he learned "Junker's Blues". He was also "spy boy" for the Yellow Pochahantas tribe of Mardi Gras Indians and soon began playing in barrelhouses, drinking establishments organized around barrels of booze. As a young man he began his life of travelling, living in Chicago, where he worked with Georgia Tom, and Indianapolis, Indiana, where he hooked up with Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr. While he was always playing piano, he also worked as a cook, and in Detroit he met Joe Louis, who encouraged him to become a boxer. He ultimately fought in 107 bouts and winning Golden Gloves and other championships, and picking up the nickname Champion Jack, which he used the rest of his life. 'Artist Discography'
Jerry Lee Lewis - born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll and country music singer, songwriter and pianist. An early pioneer of rock and roll music, Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2003, they listed his box set All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology #242 on their list of "500 greatest albums of all time". Lewis was born to the poor family of Elmo and Mamie Lewis in Ferriday in Concordia Parish in eastern Louisiana, and began playing piano in his youth with his two cousins, Mickey Gilley and Jimmy Swaggart. His parents mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano. Influenced by a piano-playing older cousin Carl McVoy, the radio, and the sounds from the black juke joint across the tracks, Haney's Big House, Lewis developed his own style mixing rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, gospel, and country music, as well as ideas from established "country boogie" pianists like recording artists Moon Mullican and Merrill Moore. Soon he was playing professionally. 'Artist Discography'
John Evans - born John Spencer Evans, 28 March 1948, played keyboards for Jethro Tull from April 1970, to June 1980. He was educated at King's College London. He changed his name when his first band, The Blades changed their name to The John Evan Band. Jeffrey Hammond apparently thought 'The John Evan Band' sounded better than 'The John Evans Band'. Whilst a member of Jethro Tull, Evan had a penchant for wearing his trademark white suit, along with a yellow shirt underneath and a pink-and-yellow polka-dot tie. Evan can be seen wearing this outfit in photographs on the album War Child and the live album Bursting Out, while a painted version of him is seen wearing the suit and tie on the inside cover of the album Aqualung. Evan left Jethro Tull in 1980, forming Tallis with fellow departing Tull member David Palmer. After many years running his own construction company he now resides in Australia. He also appeared in the 2008 DVD, 'Jethro Tull - Their Fully Authorized Story'. 'Artist Discography'
Jon Lord - born in Leicester on 9 June, 1941, is an English composer, Hammond organ and piano player. Lord is recognized for his Hammond organ blues-rock sound and for his pioneering work in fusing rock and classical or baroque forms. He has most famously been a member of Deep Purple, as well as of Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, The Artwoods and Flower Pot Men. He has worked with numerous other artists including Graham Bonnet (following Bonnet's departure from Rainbow). In 1968, Lord co-founded Deep Purple. He and drummer Ian Paice were the only constant band members during the band's existence from 1968 to 1976 and from when they reformed in 1984 until Lord's retirement in 2002.One of his finest works was his composition Concerto for Group and Orchestra, which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 with Deep Purple (Lord and Paice with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, singer Ian Gillan and bass guitarist Roger Glover) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The concerto was revived for its 30th anniversary in 1999 with another performance at the Albert Hall, again performed by Deep Purple (Lord, Paice, Gillan, Glover and Steve Morse in place of Ritchie Blackmore) with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2002 he retired from Deep Purple for good, to concentrate on composing and on lower-key blues/rock performances. In 2008, he achieved success as a classical composer when his Durham Concerto entered the classical album charts . 'Artist Discography'
Leon Russell - born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2, 1942, is a singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Russell attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. First known mostly as a session musician, Russell has played with artists as varied as Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Spector, Joe Cocker, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, BB King, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Bill Wyman, The Beach Boys, Willie Nelson, Badfinger, Tijuana Brass, J.J. Cale, David Gates, Frank Sinatra, The Band, Marc Benno, Edgar and Johnny Winter, Glen Campbell, Gary Busey, Jesse Ed Davis, and The Rolling Stones. With a solo career spanning the genres of rock, blues, and gospel, Russell began his musical career at 14 in Tulsa nightclubs. 'Artist Discography'
Keith Emerson - born November 2, 1944, is a British keyboard player and composer. Formerly a member of the Keith Emerson Trio, John Brown's Bodies, The T-Bones, V.I.P.s, P.P. Arnold's backing band, and The Nice (which evolved from P.P.Arnold's band), he started Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early supergroups, in 1970. Following the breakup of ELP, circa 1979, Emerson had modest success with Emerson, Lake & Powell in the 1980s. ELP reunited during the early 90s. Emerson also reunited The Nice in 2002 for a tour. He is currently on tour (as of Aug/Sept 2008) with The Keith Emerson Band and the new album titled "Keith Emerson Band Featuring Marc Bonilla" is released in Aug/Sept 2008.
He is known for his technical skill and for his live antics, including using knives to wedge down specific keys of his Hammond organ during solos, playing the organ upside down while having it lie over him and backwards while standing behind it. He also employed a special rig to rotate his piano end-over-end while he's "playing" it . Along with contemporaries Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, Tony Banks of Genesis, Billy Ritchie of Clouds and Rick Wakeman of Yes, Emerson is widely regarded as one of the top keyboard players of the progressive rock era.. Allmusic refers to Emerson as "perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history."He is known for his technical skill and for his live antics, including using knives to wedge down specific keys of his Hammond organ during solos, playing the organ upside down while having it lie over him and backwards while standing behind it. He also employed a special rig to rotate his piano end-over-end while he's "playing" it (purely theatrical, since grand pianos cannot function when turned upside down in this manner). Along with contemporaries Richard Wright of Pink Floyd, Tony Banks of Genesis, Billy Ritchie of Clouds and Rick Wakeman of Yes, Emerson is widely regarded as one of the top keyboard players of the progressive rock era.. Allmusic refers to Emerson as "perhaps the greatest, most technically accomplished keyboardist in rock history." 'Artist Discography'
Kerry Livgren -born September 18, 1949, is an American musician and songwriter, best known as one of the founding members and primary songwriters for the 1970s progressive rock band, Kansas. As primary songwriter, lead guitarist and keyboard player for Kansas, having penned such hits as Carry On Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind, Livgren propelled the band to worldwide success and critical acclaim, with numerous gold and multi-platinum albums, and over 14 million recordings sold to date. Kansas produced eight gold albums, one platinum album, two triple platinum albums, one platinum live album, and a one million-selling gold single, Dust in the Wind, according to the Kansas State Historical Society. Livgren was a member of numerous bands in the late 1960s and early 1970s and quickly developed a reputation for complex compositions and poetic lyrics that explored spiritual themes. His investigations into various religions are reflected in the lyrics of his songs on Kansas' first six albums. He explored themes such as reincarnation, astral travel, apparitions, nihilism, and human frailty, among others. 'Artist Discography'
Klaus Schulze - born August 4, 1947, is a German electronic music composer and musician. He also used the alias Richard Wahnfried. He was briefly a member of the electronic bands Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel before launching a solo career lasting over 3 decades. He has had a prolific career, with more than 40 original albums to his name since Irrlicht, some highlights being 1976's Moondawn, 1979's Dune, and 1995's double-album In Blue (featuring one long track with electric guitar by his pal Manuel Göttsching of Ash Ra Tempel). He often takes German events as a starting point in his compositions, particularly on his album "X" (the title signifying it was his tenth album) in 1978 which was subtitled "Six Musical Biographies", including such notables as Ludwig II of Bavaria, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. His use of the pseudonym Richard Wahnfried indicates his interest in Richard Wagner, which also informs other albums of his music, notably Timewind. 'Artist Discography'
Madonna Wayne Gacy - Stephen Gregory Bier Jr., formerly known by his stage name Madonna Wayne Gacy, born March 6, 1964, is the former keyboard player for Marilyn Manson. His stage name is taken from the names of the singer Madonna and the serial killer John Wayne Gacy. He is often referred to as "Pogo," John Wayne Gacy's clown name. Reportedly, Stephen Bier Jr. did not play keyboards until he joined Marilyn Manson. He has played the following other instruments or sound-shaping techniques on Marilyn Manson's albums as well: calliope, Hammond organ, saxophone, theremin, various brass instruments, overdubs, loops, bassoon, drums, electronic drums, piano, sampling, mellotron, shaker, and synthesizer. He is responsible for much of the Kabbalic and numerological meanings behind Manson's albums. 'Artist Discography'
Michael McDonald - born February 12, 1952, is an American R&B/soul singer and songwriter. He is sometimes described as a "blue-eyed soul" singer and sings in a distinctive and deceptive "husky, soulful yet baritone" range. He is known for his work as a member of the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, and for several hits as a solo artist.
Michael McDonald first gained wide attention as an adjunct member of the group Steely Dan, providing back-up vocals on tracks for 1975's Katy Lied. He would return on subsequent Steely Dan recordings including 1976's The Royal Scam as well as both "Peg" and "I Got the News" from the 1977 album Aja. He also played keyboards on some Steely Dan tracks. McDonald continued to do background vocals for Steely Dan up to their 1980 release, Gaucho. He also was a member of the original Steely Dan touring band playing keyboards/piano and singing backup in the short time they toured in the early '70s
As a member of the Doobies, he recorded some of his most well-known songs, such as "Takin' It to the Streets", "Little Darling", "It Keeps You Runnin'" "Minute by Minute" and "What a Fool Believes" (which became a number one single in the U.S. and earned him a 1980 Grammy Award for Song of the Year). At the same time he appeared as a session singer and piano player for artists like Christopher Cross, Jack Jones, Bonnie Raitt, the rock band Toto and Kenny Loggins. 'Artist Discography'
Nicky Hopkins - (February 24, 1944 - September 6, 1994 ), was an English pianist and organist. Hopkins recorded and performed on some of the most important British and American popular music recordings of the 1960s and 1970s, and is widely regarded as one of the most important session musicians in rock history. He began his career as a session musician in London in the early Sixties and quickly became one of the most in-demand players on the thriving session scene there, contributing his fluid and dexterous boogie-woogie influenced piano style to many hit recordings. He recorded with most of the top British acts of the Sixties, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Kinks, and on solo albums by John Lennon, Jeff Beck, and others. He also helped define the "San Francisco sound", playing on albums by Jefferson Airplane, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and Steve Miller Band. He briefly joined Quicksilver Messenger Service and performed with Jefferson Airplane at the Woodstock Festival. 'Artist Discography'
Ray Charles - Ray Charles Robinson, (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known by his stage name Ray Charles, was an American pianist and singer, who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues. He brought a soulful sound to country music and pop standards through his Modern Sounds recordings, as well as a rendition of "America the Beautiful" that Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes called the "definitive version of the song, an American anthem — a classic, just as the man who sung it." Frank Sinatra called him "the only true genius in the business".n 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Charles number ten on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and also voted him number two on their November 2008 list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia on September 23, 1930. He was the son of Aretha Williams, a share cropper, and Bailey Robinson, a railroad repair man, mechanic and handyman. The two were never married. The family moved to Greenville, Florida, when Ray was an infant. Bailey had three more families, leaving Aretha to raise the family on her own.
Ray Charles was not born blind. He started to lose his sight somewhere around the age of six. He was rendered totally blind by the age of seven. Charles never knew exactly why he lost his sight, though there are sources that suggest his blindness was due to glaucoma, and some other sources suggest that Ray began to lose his sight from an infection caused by soapy water to his eyes which was left untreated. He attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida. He also learned how to write music and play various musical instruments. His father died when he was ten, followed by his mother five years later.
Charles moved to Seattle in 1947. He soon started recording, first for the label Swing Time Records, achieving his first hit with "Confession Blues", recorded in 1949. The song hit #2 on the R&B charts. He followed his first recording with his only other hit with Swingtime, "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" in 1951. It hit #5 on the R&B charts. He then signed with Ahmet Ertegün at Atlantic Records a year later. When he entered show business, his name was shortened to Ray Charles to avoid confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Almost immediately after signing with Atlantic, Charles scored his first hit singles with the label with "It Should Have Been Me" and the Ertegün-composed "Mess Around", both making the charts in 1953. But it was Charles' "I Got A Woman" (composed with band mate Renald Richard) that brought the musician to national prominence. 'Artist Discography'
Ray Manzarek - born February 12,1939, is an American musician, singer, producer, movie director, writer, co-founder, and keyboardist of The Doors from 1965 to 1973, and the Doors of the 21st century (renamed Riders on the Storm) since 2001. Manzarek has been in several groups since the Doors, including, Nite City and recorded a rock adaptation of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana with Philip Glass, produced Echo and the Bunnymen and Los Angeles band X, played with Iggy Pop and backed San Francisco poet Michael McClure's poetry readings. 'Artist Discography'
Richard Wright - (July 28,1943 – September 15, 2008, was a pianist, keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter, best known for his career with Pink Floyd. Wright's richly textured keyboard layers were a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time", "Echoes", and on the Syd Barrett composition "Astronomy Domine"). Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell. Wright's richly textured keyboard layers were a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time", "Echoes", and on the Syd Barrett composition "Astronomy Domine"). Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell. 'Artist Discography'
Rick Wakeman - born 18 May 1949, is an English keyboard player best known as the keyboardist for progressive rock group Yes. Originally a classically trained pianist, he was a pioneer in the use of electronic keyboards and in the use of a rock band in combination with orchestra and choir. He purchased his first electronic keyboard, a Minimoog, from the actor Jack Wild. Wakeman was able to buy it for half the regular selling price because Wild thought it did not work as it only played one note at a time. He hosts a regular radio show on Planet Rock. 'Artist Discography'
Steve Winwood - born 12 May 1948 in Handsworth, Birmingham) is an English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In addition to his solo career, he was a member of the bands the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Blind Faith, and Go. At the age of 15 Winwood became a member of the Spencer Davis Group. Steve co-wrote and recorded Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm a Man before leaving to form Traffic with Chris Wood, Jim Capaldi and Dave Mason. During this time, Winwood joined forces with guitarist Eric Clapton as part of the one-off group Eric Clapton's Powerhouse. Songs were recorded for the Elektra label but only three tracks were released on the compilation album, What's Shakin'.
During the late-1960s, Winwood and Mason became close friends of Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix first heard All Along the Watchtower at a party he was invited to by Mason; they recorded the Hendrix version later that night in a London recording studio. Winwood actually only appeared on one track of Electric Ladyland, "Voodoo Chile". In 1969, Winwood once again gave a powerful organ performance on Joe Cocker's With a Little Help from My Friends and later played keyboards on albums as diverse as Toots & The Maytals' Reggae Got Soul and Howlin' Wolf's The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions. He formed Blind Faith in 1969 with Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.
Winwood has released several solo albums since the Blind Faith, including a Traffic re-union. 'Artist Discography'
T. Lavitz - born April 16, 1956) is an American jazz-rock/fusion keyboardist, composer and producer. He is best known for his work with the Dixie Dregs and Jazz Is Dead.
Since 2000 T Lavitz took part in several projects. 'Endangered Species', with Jimmy Herring, Richie Hayward and Kenny Gradney was released in 2001, 'Cosmic Farm', with Rob Wasserman, Craig Erickson and Jeff Sipe, was released in 2005 and 'Boston T Party', with Dennis Chambers, Jeff Berlin and Dave Fiuczynski, was released in 2006. In the summer of 2006 he taught at the Summer Performance Program at the Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA.
Thijs van Leer - born 31 March 1948 in Amsterdam) is a Dutch musician, singer and composer, best known for heading Dutch progressive rock band, Focus, as primary vocalist, Hammond organ virtuoso, and flutist. In addition to his work with Focus, van Leer has released a large number of solo albums since 1972. He also appeared as a guest musician on the album Into the Electric Castle by Arjen Anthony Lucassen's musical project Ayreon. 'Artist Discography'
Tom Waits - Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car." With this trademark growl, his incorporation of pre-rock music styles such as blues, jazz, and vaudeville, and experimental tendencies verging on industrial music, Waits has built up a distinctive musical persona. He has worked as a composer for movies and musical plays and as a supporting actor in films, including The Fisher King, Coffee & Cigarettes, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Short Cuts. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his soundtrack work on One from the Heart.
Lyrically, Waits' songs contain atmospheric portrayals of bizarre, seedy characters and places, although he has also shown a penchant for more conventional ballads. He has a cult following and has influenced subsequent songwriters, and has had an influence on several genres of music ranging from Jazz music to Death Metal despite having little radio or music video support. His songs are best-known to the general public in the form of cover versions by more visible artists—for example, "Jersey Girl," performed by Bruce Springsteen; "Downtown Train" performed by Rod Stewart; and "Ol' '55," performed by the Eagles. Although Waits' albums have met with mixed commercial success in his native United States, they have occasionally achieved gold album sales status in other countries. He has been nominated for a number of major music awards and has won Grammy Awards for two albums, Bone Machine and Mule Variations. 'Artist Discography'
Tony Banks - born March 27, 1950, is an English songwriter, pianist/keyboard player, and guitarist. He is one of the founding members of progressive rock group Genesis and one of only two members (the other being guitarist/bassist Mike Rutherford) to belong to Genesis throughout its entire history. As a member of Genesis, Banks has been a pioneer in the use of synthesizers, as well as in the use of many other keyboards (such as the Yamaha CP-70 and Hammond T-102). Through most of the band's history, Banks was the leading force in Genesis' songwriting; although the group was often officially responsible as a whole for the songwriting, his ideas were often the nucleus of the songs' music, and he would frequently write lyrics as well. Outside of Genesis, Banks has enjoyed a modestly successful career in the world of film scoring, and a limited solo career as well. 'Artist Discography'
Trent Reznor - born Michael Trent Reznor on May 17, 1965, is an American musician, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He operates under the studio name Nine Inch Nails, and was previously associated with the bands Option 30, Exotic Birds, and Tapeworm, among others. As of 2007, Reznor split his ties with Interscope Records, and is now an independent, unsigned musician. He is considered by the Los Angeles Times to be one of the most acclaimed creative figures of his generation of music. Reznor's first release as Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial success, and he has released several major albums and singles since then. He has worked with David Bowie, Saul Williams, and Marilyn Manson (considered by some to be Reznor's protégé). In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time magazine's list of the year's most influential Americans, and Spin magazine described him as "the most vital artist in music." 'Artist Discography'
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