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Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Piano rock
Template:Infobox Music genre

Piano rock is a style of rock music that is based around the piano—and sometimes piano-related instruments such as keyboards–with piano typically replacing rhythm guitar as the rhythm instrument. It has evolved as rock has evolved, from Boogie-woogie (WP) and the early rock and roll of Jerry Lee Lewis (WP).

"Guitar rock" is not often used because it is a tautology. That rock is led by the guitar line is understood. So every Rock song is a guitar rock song, except for those that are led by the piano line. They are Piano Rock songs.

Elton John - Here and There

Cover of Elton John's live album Here and There

Elton John (WP) was among the most successful and earliest popular rock musicians to make the piano a key instrument in his music. Music by Queen (WP) and The Rolling Stones (WP) (when Billy Preston was in the group) were often piano-oriented, and Billy Joel's most successful albums in the late '70s took the piano a step further, pushing the guitar back in many more songs.

Traditionally, piano rock has not been as prevalent as classic rock; however, modern groups such as Keane, Coldplay, The Fray, Jack's Mannequin, Muse, Ben Folds Five,[1] The Dresden Dolls,[2][3] and Wikipedia:The Whitlams, and solo artists such as Tori Amos, Vanessa Carlton, PJ Harvey, Kate Bush, Fiona Apple, Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Reinholds, and Aqualung[4] have helped popularize the genre.

Wikipedia:Template:Rock music

[[Wikipedia:File:Matt Hales 2012.jpg|thumb|upright|Solo artists such as Aqualung helped propel the genre into the mainstream]]

Template:Original Research Template:Infobox music genre

Piano rock is a style of rock music which features the piano—and sometimes piano-related instruments such as keyboards–with piano typically replacing rhythm guitar as the lead instrument, as opposed to majority of rock sub-genres.[5]

With the influx of numerous piano-driven rock acts into the mainstream, from 1995 onwards, it became increasingly necessary to classify this type of music—as had always been the case for most divergent musical trends in popular culture.

Whereas various American rock and roll performers had, as early as the 50s, started prominently featuring the piano in their musical output,[6][7] it would take around five more decades for the tag “piano rock“ to be designated to this style as a distinct sub-genre of rock. From around the late 90s to early 2000s, the latter term was devised by music critics and the media to represent the piano-driven music mostly offered by rock acts from England at that time. Notable of the present day critics to have used the term; is Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic; while describing soft rocker Elton John's “sensitive “ musical output. [8] Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone also applied the term to refer to Coldplay's musical style vis-à-vis The Fray's then-new album Scars and Stories, the latter being the subject of his review.[9]

The term was coined by simply fusing the name of the dominant instrument, i.e. “piano“, with the tag associated with the music in which it is featured, i.e. “rock“. This same nomenclature is not uncommon throughout the history of rock music. For instance, in the 1960s when various rock acts began to use ragas in the rock context, “raga rock“ was conceived.[10] In the same vein, when the use of synthesisers became considerably popular in rock music, “synth rock“ was born.[11]

As so, it was only feasible that the rock sub-genre ,in which the piano features more prominently than any other instrument involved, posses the tag,“piano rock“.


Over the years, numerous rockers have approached the prominent inclusion of the piano into rock music —differently. Earlier on in the mid-20th century, in the early stages of rock and roll, performers such as Little Richard showcased a frantically charged piano-pounding style[12] on numbers such as “Tutti Frutti” and “Long Tall Sally”. In the same vein, many of the latter's contemporaries including the likes of Dr John[13] and Bob Baldori[14] - emulated his charisma while performing piano-oriented three chord rock and roll.

As years went by, in the early 1970s, English singer-songwriter Elton John introduced a somewhat new kind of earnest meditative rock characterised by an elegant church-influenced piano playing style.[15] The likes of Billy Joel continued after the same pattern and fielded hit singles including "Piano Man" that went on to peak at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the month of April 1974.[16]

Gradually in the 1980s,with the invention of synthesizers, the latter became more widely incorporated into the popular rock music of the day as compared the piano. This period saw musicians such as progressive rock maestro Keith Emerson,[17][18] along with other musicians in this sub-genre[19] produce heavily layered synthetic keyboard-infested music, unlike the earlier stripped-down piano rock.

With the decline of britpop in the late 90s,[20][21] many post-Britpop bands most notably Coldplay resorted to melodic indie-influenced anthem rock[22][23] and in so-doing they unconventionally incorporated sonically softer musical instruments such as the piano (or the organ in some cases[24][25]) as opposed to the grungy guitar; as the rhythm instrument. This new brand of soft rock became increasingly popular for its grandness and anthemic nature, from then up todate.

The latter trend is also presently prevalent among piano rock acts, with the exception of a few bands inclusive of October Fall—a piano-driven pop punk fit.[26] Other musical variations among artists in this rock subgenre are dependent on their individual artistic palettes, with the prominent use of the piano as the lead instrument being the universal factor.

History Edit

Forerunners Edit

Prior to the distinct classification of piano-fueled rock, there existed a number of artists who had been at its forefront for a while. These include Little Richard,[27][28] Jerry Lee Lewis,[29][30] Elton John,[31] Fats Domino[32]— to mention but a few.

As a distinct rock genre (mid 90s onwards)Edit

With the influx of numerous piano-driven acts onto the rock scene , such as Coldplay in 1996[33] and Keane in 1997[34], it became increasingly necessary to classify this type of music—as had always been the case for most divergent musical trends in popular culture[35].

Mainstream success Edit

Various piano rock bands , mostly from the UK, experienced exceptional commercial success from the late '90s to the mid-2000s—with Coldplay[36] leading the way. With their first two albums Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head, they treated their then newly acquired global fan base to piano-oriented hit singles such as "Trouble",[37] "The Scientist" and "Clocks".[38] Consequently, both albums were successful commercially successful and went on to attain a multi-platinum status in the United States and in several countries allover Europe.[39] Other bands that capitalized on this trend style include fellow British rockers Keane, who have, since their debut album Hopes and Fears, been famously known as "the band without guitars".[40] With their eccentric piano-driven delivery, they have sold over 10 million albums to-date.[41] In America, Denver quartet The Fray were the more successful lot, with three of their four albums debuting in the top twenty of Billboard top 200.[42] Other American rock bands that fared commercially well in this sub-genre include Jack's Mannequin, Something Corporate,[43] October Fall, e.t.c.

Notable artistsEdit


See also Edit

External links Edit



  1. "Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen". 5 May 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  2. Jordan Harper (5 May 2005). "River Front Times - May 5, 2005". Retrieved 28 August 2011. "Clearly, the Dolls are doing something right. Actually, they're doing almost everything right, bringing cabaret theatrics back to piano rock and mixing crowd-pleasing angst with real songwriting" 
  3. Stéphane Leguay. "The Dresden Dolls". Premonition Magazine. Retrieved 28 August 2011. "Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione build and un-build a new form of piano-rock, sometimes burlesque (Coin-Operated Boy), or full of adrenalin (Girl Anachronism), sometimes perverse (Missed Me) or melancholic (Truce)." 
  4. Template:Allmusic
  5. "Piano rock, listen free at". 7 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014. 
  6. "Jerry Lee Lewis". Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  7. "Fats Domino". 
  8. "Elton John Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  9. Odisemoor, James (13 August 2014). "The Fray Scars and Stories Album Review". Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  10. "A Brief History of Indian Music". Piero Scaruffi. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  11. "Synth rock music". Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  12. "Little Richard". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  13. Odisemoor, James. "Dr John". Allmusic. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  14. "BIO: BOOGIE BOB BALDORI". Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  15. "Elton John's piano style". jamcast!. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
  16. "Billy Joel chart history". Billboard. 
  17. "Keith Emerson Biography". Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  18. Odisemoor, James. "Keith Emerson". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  19. Odisemoor, James. "A Definition of Progressive Rock Music". Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  20. "The History of Britpop". Ministry of Rock. 
  21. Template:Cite news
  22. "Coldplay". Allmusic. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  23. Template:Cite news
  24. "Under the Iron Sea". Pop Matters. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  25. "Fix You by Coldplay". Songfacts. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  26. "October Fall". Billboard. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  27. "Little Richard Biography". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  28. "Early Rock Pianists". Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  29. Odisemoor, James. "Jerry Lee Lewis Biograhy". Sun Records. Retrieved 26 May 2015. 
  30. "Jerry Lee Lewis Singer (1935- )". Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  31. "Elton John - 100 Greatest Artists". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  32. "Fats Domino". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 June 2015. 
  33. Odisemoor, James. "Coldplay Biography". NME. Retrieved 16 October 2015. 
  34. "Keane biography". 
  35. "Genre busting: the origin of music categories". The Guardian. 
  36. "Coldplay". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  37. Odisemoor, James. "Coldplay: Trouble". Drowned In Sound. Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  38. "Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head". Retrieved 12 August 2015. 
  39. "Coldplay album sales : New album predictions and past figures". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  40. "Keane, a biography". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  41. Template:Cite news
  42. "The Fray chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  43. "About Something Corporate". MTV. Retrieved 23 June 2015. 
  44. "Piano rock bands, a best of:". The Beautiful Sky. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  45. "Piano Rock". Retrieved 30 September 2014. 

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