I will say a name that will ring a bell to every music fan out there: Ben Folds
This man is responsible for setting the standards and being the face for this musical genre, alongside famous names like Billy Joel and Elton John
Without further ado, let’s get down to listening to the best of the best it has to offer!
1. Scenes from an Italian restaurant – Bily Joel
The shining pearl of Joel’s discography.
Being a live favorite and his longest studio cut ( at 7 minutes and 37 seconds) it drew inspirations from the album Abbey Road that was also a hot hit coming from The Beatles
Beginning with a soft piano ballad it turns around into an uptempo and energetic jazz section with rich scenery. A work of art that cannot be missed out.
2. Clocks – Coldplay
Being composed with a piano riff in mind, this song covers the theme of urgency and contrast alongside several remixes that give this song a unique tone that sets it apart
3. Imagine – John Lenon
This work of art from the acclaimed John Lenon, it is the best selling single of his entire career. It received immense recognition and was set inside the list of 100 most performed songs of the 20th century by BMI, it got numbered as the 30th song on the RIAA’s list that numbered the “ 365 songs of the century” and got honors that induced it into Grammy Hall of Fame among its many accomplishments.
4. Rocket Man- Elton John
The joined composition of Bernie Taupin and Elton John, this song was included in John’s album “Honky Château” in 1972 and became a huge hit as a single. The amount of prestige this song achieved is very admirable. It got second place on the UK singles chart and the sixth place on the US Billboard Hot 100
5. November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
Written by their lead singer Axl Rose, this masterpiece was officially recorded in 1990.
When it was released in 1992 as a single( during 1991 it was included in their album “ Use Your Illusion II “) it immediately became a huge hit worldwide, scoring the 10th position in many countries including Canada, Uk, Switzerland, etc.
It holds the record of being the longest song to ever enter the Billboard Hot 100, running for a whopping 8 minutes and 57 seconds ( the original, mind you, was 25 minutes long! ) and the longest guitar solo in the Top 10 singles.
6. Let it be – The Beatles
No list concerning musical ingenuity, classical taste and quality can go by without mentioning the prodigy of rock, The Beatles.
Released as a title track for their album “ Let It Be” in 1970, it was performed as well as written by Paul McCartney while the single version of the aforementioned song was made by George Martin that is composed of gentler guitar solos with a mixed low orchestral part.
This song was the final single before McCartney’s departure from the band
The song has achieved great heights with the position of 6th in the Billboard Top 100 and the admiration of many critics such as Richie Unterberger who saw it as one of the greatest ballads the Beatles have ever made.
7. Someone Like You – Adele
Now for something personal. This song was included in Adele’s for her second album 21 alongside Dan Wilson.
This is a song with a strong personal note, as it represents her struggles from a failed relationship and how she manages to heal and move on. The song was received with a lot of unreserved praise at the 2011 Brit Awards, holding the top charts for five whole weeks and the title of being Adele’s best single.
It went so far as to become the single of the decade that sold millions of copies in the UK alone, with rewards such as 6x platinum with the Recording Industry Association of America as well as 4x platinum recognition with the British Phonographic Industry.
By 2018 it had sales of 17 million across the globe, earning the spot of the best selling single in history.
It was commended as the third most favorite single song in the past 60 years in the UK alone by the Official Charts Company and the public and was nominated for the award of being the single of the year at the 2012 Brit Awards
Even today, it holds a strong spot of being the third most downloaded song in the UK.
8. The Last Time I Saw Richard – Joni Mitchell
Love that ends on the brief duration of a short-lived marriage is a spark of passion that ignites the soul of a song, and this is an excellent example of just that.
9. Gutter Ballet – Savatage
This album was the real deal for the band, as it marked a drastic change of the band’s structure from playing strictly heavy metal to an immediate turn to a more progressive approach.
It all began after John Oliva attended the performance of the musical “ The Phantom of the Opera” and the idea of a concept album that portrayed a bigger message was born.
Most of the tracks were written by Jon Oliva, Chriss Oliva and Paul O’Neill and the tracks of the album are nothing less than spectacular.
10. Come Sail Away -Styx
Made by the progressive rock band Styx, this was undoubtedly the biggest hit that put the band on the global scene.
When it was released as a single for their album “The Grand Illusion” it became an immediate hit, being charted in the 8th spot in 1978 on the Billboard Top 100 and was instrumental in providing the album a good starting point with platinum sales being achieved soon after release.
The song has a pleasant ballad-like start and elements of contrast play during the second half with the inclusion of bombastic guitar play, a must-watch for any piano rock enthusiast.
11. Layla – Derek and the Dominos
The first and last album of the short-lived band Derek and the Dominos, Layla was the thirteenth track that contributed greatly to putting the band on the map, even if it did not stop its inevitable end.
The song drew heavy inspiration from a love story that dates back to the 7th- century, The Story of Layla and Majnun heavily influenced the song.
Eric Clapton, in a lovestruck phase of unrequited affection for Pattie Boyd, was greatly inspired by this love story and, with the help of Jim Gordon, created this song.
The initial reception was somewhat unsuccessful yet as time went on it gained the attention of many critics and the attention of the public.
It consists of two critically acclaimed versions, one from 1972 and the second from 1992 as an acoustic performance by Eric Clapton.
The acclaim is so great that it is hailed as the greatest rock song ever made by some, being ranked at number 27 on Rolling Stone’s prestigious listing of the “ The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time “
With so many big named stars and legends added into the beautiful world of music, you cannot help but be amazed at its diversity and ever-expanding selection of music that never ceases to amaze.
As the piano rock is an emotional as well as an artistic journey, sit back and play any of these songs to relive that charm.