Is Elton John considered to be a great piano player?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Tomm Williams, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Member

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    Yes I know he’s had a lot of hits with BT and quite a showman but is he considered a great piano player ?
     
  2. Bluplirst

    Bluplirst Supporting Member

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  3. Billy Moss

    Billy Moss Member

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    Yeah, Elton kicks ass on the piano.
     
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  4. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    I consider him great...not Errol Garner or Oscar Peterson great, but great none the less...
     
  5. Remer

    Remer Golden member. See Below. Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes. And an even better songwriter.
     
  6. ant_riv

    ant_riv Supporting Member

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  7. twotone

    twotone Member

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    He was good at composing catchy riffs on the piano, like the intros to songs like 'Your Song', 'Tiny Dancer', and 'Levon'.
     
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  8. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    That depends on what your definition of great is. Yngwie Malmsteen is a phenomenal guitar player, but he’s not a household name. Truly great musicians are more than just technicians.
     
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  9. pup tentacle

    pup tentacle Silver Supporting Member

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    Whenever this question is asked about an artist, that's my first thought - it depends on who you ask. Also, why do you care, and, will anyone else's opinion have an effect on your own?
     
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  10. Telefunky

    Telefunky Member

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    He's pretty damn good. In order to pass a Prince audition you had to be able to play "Honkey Cat". That piano solo at the end is almost impossible.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  11. Kurt L

    Kurt L Member

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    It’s funny - I still love the albums he made all throughout the 70s but drifted away from his later output. Have seen him perform three times and he puts on a great show; I just don’t relate to his Lion King era material.

    But is he a great piano player? Hell yes, and a lot more!

    (And when I say I really love his 70s stuff, I’ll bet my iTunes has 4-5 hours of Elton John, at least!)
     
  12. pold

    pold Member

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    It depends on who you ask, and what aspect of piano playing. As a composer and singer to me he's a genius, and as a pianist he's great at what he does. But if you ask me about his technical skills as a pianist, he's good, but obviously he's no Chopin, Bach or Keith Jarrett.
     
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  13. WordMan

    WordMan Silver Supporting Member

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    Yes, he’s brilliant, in the way a Keith Richards or Malcolm Young is brilliant. He sets the groove that everyone locks into. He’s the British Leon Russell - a brilliant rhythm pianist who anchors the songs. And my god, what songs.
     
  14. GerryJ

    GerryJ Member

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    Decades ago he laughed at that idea- "look at my small hands". Tech wise, he's not Bruce Hornsby, & Billy Joel was probably also more facile. All 3 are great songwriters.
    Hendrix was not a technical master either, compared to Steve Howe, Larry Coryell.
    Short answer- yes.
     
  15. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    Not a fan and dislike the sound of his reorded piano, seemd thin, but maybe it worked oer AM radio Listen to the live album the made from a radio brodast, 7/17/70 IICR. Him in a Trio format. Raw n Ragged but great music, not the polished EJ youd expect, but hes on fire and a piano player who'd up the quality of any band. Sure hes not Emerson or Wakeman, but only Nicky Hopkins was on more hits.
     
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  16. n9ne

    n9ne Member

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    It depends on your definition of greatness.

    Elton John is obviously one of the all-time greats in terms of popular music and songwriting; he and Bernie Taupin were sheer brilliance in that regard.

    I don't know of anything he's done that was groundbreaking in terms of technical dexterity or complexity...nor was it ever intended as such. In terms of technical proficiency, EJ's chops are probably comparable to your typical bar or wedding band piano player.....but his music was never meant to showcase technical virtuosity. It was all about playing for the song....and the songs are spectacular.
     
  17. Funky Chicken

    Funky Chicken Member

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    He's a great piano player in that he really has his own thing going on and he accompanies himself beautifully. His songwriting also elevates his playing.
    I'm probably partial because EJ is literally the first musician whose stuff I tried to play. I started on Piano at 7 and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is the first album I ever bought with my own money.
     
  18. EpicEsquire

    EpicEsquire Member

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  19. Tim Bowen

    Tim Bowen Member

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    He has a very interesting piano style. I've never heard him miss a note or play with anything less than conviction. Two big piano influences for Elton John are Leon Russell and Laura Nyro. Elton the piano beast can be enjoyed on the live trio record 17-11-70. He shines on gospel-tinged songs like Take Me to the Pilot. He has also cut some very interesting sounding recorded piano tracks through the years, such as on Better Off Dead from Captain Fantastic..., which I believe is doubled acoustic pianos.

    Elton John has always been a very improvisational pianist, which is evident in listening to his early demos. It's interesting to hear how he plays on demos where he is covering all the sonic ground himself, as opposed to his playing in finding a sonic place to live within ensemble and Gus Dudgeon & Paul Buckmaster arrangements.

     
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  20. Neanderthal Head

    Neanderthal Head Supporting Member

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    you mean ‘it’s a little bit funny’.
     
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