Is Elton John considered to be a great piano player?

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

  1. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    I think Elton John is amazing on piano!
    His ability to play everything so solidly from Classical, his melancholic pop melodies ( say " Your Song" , " Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me" ), Country influence ( " Levon") to balls out hunky tonk R&R is mind blowing- and he's still doing it.
    Billy Joel comes to mind too, but I like Elton's songs better I guess.

    Question:
    Did/does Elton play strictly piano and leave other keyboards/synth playing ( I'm thinking " Funeral for A Friend" synth...) to others? Assuming so...
     
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  2. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    I find that many of the legendary artists have a lot of skills in reserve. His piano parts are great, fit the songs and are easily played (for him) while simultaneously singing in front of stadiums full of people on the regular. I'm sure he can perform something that would make us mere mortals drop our jaws.
     
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  3. sertshark

    sertshark Member

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    I used to play a little bit of piano and learned quite a few Elton John songs back when I was studying music in college. He is obviously a great song writer and comes up with memorable melodies and lyrics. Comparatively, his songs are pretty easy to learn if you were to also try to learn Billy Joel songs. I was always fairly surprised at how easy EJ songs were to learn and how difficult BJ songs were to learn. Maybe that in itself doesn't necessarily speak to how "great" he is at playing the piano, but in terms of difficulty I'd have to say a lot of other music out there is much more complicated to play. I also noticed a lot of his songs tend to be in the key of C, which is easy to play (as long as you don't hit any black keys, you're in key...), while others (Billy Joel as an example) writes things that involve more difficult keys to play in, and more complicated dynamics. I'm a guitar player though, not really a piano player (or pianist, or keyboard player, or whatever we call them....) so I am only giving an amateur opinion.
     
  4. stratjim

    stratjim Member

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    i admire what he does with his 'sausage fingers' as I have a similar situation as a guitar (and some keyboard) player with shorter fingers.
     
  5. karmadave

    karmadave Supporting Member

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    The only time I saw Elton was solo. He played for 3 years nonstop and held the audition the palm of his hands. In my opinion his is a great piano player and one of the greatest entertainers ever...
     
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  6. drewl

    drewl Member

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    He was classically trained, right?

    I know he started playing when he was very young.
     
  7. No_Stairway

    No_Stairway Supporting Member

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    He plays Piano better than me... but with a few exceptions his pieces are always slow and seemingly simple enough any kid with a couple years of training can nail (I'm not the biggest EJ fan so firgive me if I'm wrong). So based on just his pop hits I can't say he's great.

    Him and his writing partner are among the top song writers of the modern rock era for sure.
     
  8. Allthumbs56

    Allthumbs56 Member

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    I saw him and Joel when they toured together some years ago. Theye faced off against each other toward the end of the night and I was simply amazed at how great both of them were at the keys.
     
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  9. gjohnson441496lpjr

    gjohnson441496lpjr Member

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    I think he's great but depends on who you ask. I mentioned I was learning to play piano to someone and they asked me who is my favorite piano player and I said Elton John (because I like his style and the music he plays), and she turned up her nose and walked away from me. I was left thinking "what did I say?" Eventually I realized she was expecting Rachmaninoff.
     
  10. Guitarheel62

    Guitarheel62 Supporting Member

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    Would George Harrison be considered a great Guitar player? Probably not.
    Though the parts he recorded fit The Beatles so well and people will be listening to his playing 100 years from now.
    Elton John is much the same player.
     
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  11. nsnate02

    nsnate02 Member

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    Great musicians are the ones who can convey their ideas in a way that connects and has meaning for others on a broad spectrum. Music is a medium for ideas.

    Only the ignorant and arrogant think it's about technical "perfection" of an instrument.

    Thus the reason Slash is a better musician than Malmsteen and Elton John is a great piano player and musician.;)
     
  12. Oriondk

    Oriondk Member

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    Let’s see. Age 11: Junior scholarship to Royal Academy of music. Played a 4 page piece by Handel from memory after hearing the first time. Like to play Bach and Chopin.
    Age 15: played in a pub, Ray Charles and Jim Reevesand his own songs.
    I don’t know if that makes him a great pianist. But as a song writer/performer I’d say he’s great.
     
  13. BriSol

    BriSol Member

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    I think he's pretty good but perhaps not "great"? Depends on your artistic standards for "great", but I doubt we'll ever see Elton John play any Debussy preludes or taking a bad*ass improvised solo, and he is not known first and foremost as a pianist or a piano stylist in the way that an Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, or McCoy Tyner is. But he doesn't seem like a slouch by any stretch either.
     
  14. Bluedano1

    Bluedano1 Member

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    I bet! I knew of that tour, sure it was a piano one-two punch! ( plus great bands)

    I can't afford anything right now but the 3 top performers I'd love to see in concert ( even now in their/our old age- never seen them before) are:
    Stevie Wonder
    Elton John
    Paul McCartney

    Sadly could add many others I missed too( Tom Petty, Freddie, Prince, MJ , Jerry, Bowie...)
     
  15. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Member

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    Yes.
    I saw him at Caesar’s (Vegas) a few years ago and he played some very nice solos in the songs.
     
  16. Hefalump

    Hefalump Member

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  17. mikefair

    mikefair Member

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    An unqualified yes.
     
  18. Tiny Montgomery

    Tiny Montgomery Supporting Member

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    You “noticed” that, huh?

    Out of curiosity, I listened to the first parts of a few of his biggest 70’s hits, guitar in hand.

    Your Song Eb
    Levon F
    Tiny Dancer C
    Rocket Man Gm
    Honky Cat G
    Crocodile Rock G
    Daniel C
    Saturday Night’s Alright G
    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road F
    Candle In The Wind E
    Bennie and the Jets G
    Don’t Let the Sun C
    The Bitch is Back Ab
    Philadelphia Freedom Bb

    Neither of the 3 songs that are in C are strictly diatonic. -Where on earth did you get that just because a song is in C that it can only use notes and chords from the C major scale?

    Btw, if you hit an F note over an Am chord (for example), it will rarely be in key. I’m baffled as to how you came up with that.

    I stopped at Philadelphia Freedom arbitrarily. I didn’t want to invest any more time in a ridiculous notion.
     
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  19. Kennybeeinfl

    Kennybeeinfl Member

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    I say yes! I love his solo in "Benny and the Jets". An amazing artist.
     
  20. CRBMoA

    CRBMoA Member

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    If EJ is not a great, what hope do mortals have?
     

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