Famous American Pianists

Some music lover has rightly said, "You can't overdose on music." And when the instrument is something as soothing and mellifluous as a piano, the more one plays, the merrier it is to the ears. No wonder, classical musical virtuosos like Beethoven, Bach and Chopin betted heavily on its sonorous keys to create everlasting compositions that continues to wow the music lovers to this day. That said, playing a piano is no cakewalk and it takes some serious skill and arduous practice to master the keys and chords. Now only if you thought that Europe was the haven for pianists, know that even America has produced some deft piano players whose musical repertoire and skill has got them a place among the greats. Nat King Cole, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Art Tatum are just a few examples of the great pianists who called America their home. Let us delve deeper into the oft-frequented world of pianists and explore the biographies, trivia, and facts about America’s famous pianists ever known to any man.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 
Aretha Franklin
(Singer-Songwriter)

Aretha Franklin
4
Birthdate: March 25, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Died: August 16, 2018

Widely regarded as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin was a singer-songwriter, actress, and civil rights activist. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Aretha was ranked number one on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Singers of All Time list in 2010. Having sold over 75 million records, she is also one of the best-selling musicians ever.

 2 
Ray Charles
(Singer-songwriter)

Ray Charles
5
Birthdate: September 23, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Albany, Georgia, United States
Died: June 10, 2004

Ray Charles went on to become a great singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist, despite suffering blindness due to glaucoma early in his life. One of the most respected and decorated musicians of all time, Ray Charles has been named in lists, such as 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. He pioneered the soul music genre, which remains his greatest contribution.

 3 

Sergei Rachmaninoff
5
Birthdate: April 1, 1873
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oneg, Russia
Died: March 28, 1943

Sergei Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, conductor, and virtuoso pianist of the late Romantic period. Credited with exploring the expressive possibilities of the piano, Rachmaninoff's music continues to be featured in films. His four-year struggle with depression, which was followed by the critical failure of his Symphony No. 1, was depicted in the 2015 musical Preludes.

 4 
John Williams
(Composer)

John Williams
5
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Queens, New York City

John Williams is an American composer, pianist, trombonist, and conductor. Widely considered the greatest film composer ever, John Williams has played a significant role in the American film industry by composing music for films, such as the Jurassic Park films, Star Wars saga, the Indiana Jones films, and Schindler's List. He has also influenced several other composers like Marcus Paus.

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 5 
Toni Braxton
(One of the Best-Selling Female R&B Artist In History)

Toni Braxton
4
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn, Maryland, United States
Soul and R&B sensation Toni Braxton initially performed with her sisters in The Braxtons. She won three of her seven Grammys with her debut album. Known for her Billboard-charters such as Un-break My Heart, she also collaborated with Babyface, competed in Dancing with the Stars, and produced Braxton Family Values.

 6 
Nat King Cole
(Best Known for His Soft Baritone Voice and for Single Like "The Christmas Song")

Nat King Cole
7
Birthdate: March 17, 1919
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: February 15, 1965
Jazz pianist/singer Nat King Cole, father of singer Natalie Cole, is best remembered for tracks such as Too Young and Mona Lisa. His last album, L-O-V-E, was recorded while he battled lung cancer. With The Nat King Cole Show, he became the first African-American to host his own show.

 7 
Liberace
(Pianist, Singer)

Liberace
5
Birthdate: May 16, 1919
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: West Allis, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 4, 1987
Known as “Mr. Showmanship,” pianist, singer, and actor Liberace shot to fame with The Liberace Show, which he ended regularly with his theme song I'll Be Seeing You. The highest-paid entertainer from the 1950s-1970s, he performed in concerts and tours frequently. He also released several autobiographies and cookbooks.
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 8 
Norah Jones
(Singer-Songwriter)

Norah Jones
5
Birthdate: March 30, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York, United States

Norah Jones is an American singer, pianist, and songwriter. Having sold over 50 million records worldwide, Jones is one of the most successful and best-selling singers of her generation. She was ranked 60th on the artists of the 2000s decade list published by Billboard magazine. Norah Jones has won several prestigious awards including multiple Grammy Awards and Billboard Music Awards.

 9 
Duke Ellington
(One of the Greatest Jazz Composers & Bandleader)

Duke Ellington
5
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: May 24, 1974
Jazz legend Duke Ellington managed his orchestra till his death, and over a 6-decade-long career. He is known for his collaborations with legends such as pianist and composer Billy Strayhorn. He termed his music “American music” and refused to attach any category to it. He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.

 10 
Fiona Apple
(Singer-songwriter)

Fiona Apple
4
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York City, United States

 11 
Bob Seger
(Singer-songwriter, Musician)

Bob Seger
4
Birthdate: May 6, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Singer, songwriter, and musician, Bob Seger, first gained fame in the 1960s as a heartland rock artist. Known for his classic raspy and powerful voice, he recorded many songs that dealt with themes like love and women. With worldwide sales of more than 75 million records, he is one of the world's best-selling artists of all time.

 12 
Harry Connick Jr.
(American singer)

Harry Connick Jr.
5
Birthdate: September 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Grammy-winning singer-actor Harry Connick Jr. was born to a lawyer mother and an attorney father, who also owned a record store. He mastered the piano as a child and formed his first jazz band at 10. He later soared to fame with the multi-platinum soundtrack of When Harry Met Sally...

 13 
Taylor Hawkins
(Musician)

Taylor Hawkins
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, USA

 14 
Alicia Witt
(Actress)

Alicia Witt
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 15 

Jack Antonoff
5
Birthdate: March 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bergenfield, New Jersey, USA

 16 
Serj Tankian
(Singer-songwriter)

Serj Tankian
5
Birthdate: August 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beirut, Lebanon

Serj Tankian is an Armenian-American record producer, singer, and songwriter. Tankian is credited with co-founding the popular band System of a Down. Renowned for his wide vocal range and unusual delivery, Serj Tankian is widely considered one of the best heavy metal vocalists of all time. Also a political activist, Tankian co-founded Axis of Justice, a non-profit organization.

 17 
Burt Bacharach
(Pianist, Composer, Songwriter)

Burt Bacharach
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, United States
Legendary musician and songwriter Burt Bacharach teamed up with lyricist Hal David and created many popular songs from the 1950s to the 1980s, including countless Billboard charters. He has won six Grammys and three Academy Awards for his tracks, and most of his songs were sung by Dionne Warwick. 

 18 
Leonard Bernstein
(Conductor, Composer)

Leonard Bernstein
4
Birthdate: August 25, 1918
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States
Died: October 14, 1990

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, music educator, conductor, pianist, author, and humanitarian. One of the most important cultural personalities of 20th century America, Bernstein influenced many generations of musicians. He is also credited with mentoring famous conductors like John Mauceri, Herbert Blomstedt, Alexander Frey, Marin Alsop, and Edo de Waart among many others.

 19 
Paul Reiser
(Comedian)

Paul Reiser
5
Birthdate: March 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 20 
Debbie Gibson
(Singer-songwriter, Actress)

Debbie Gibson
4
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

 21 
George Gershwin
(Composer, Pianist)

George Gershwin
4
Birthdate: September 26, 1898
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: July 11, 1937

George Gershwin was an American pianist, composer, and painter. His work Porgy and Bess is widely regarded as an American cultural classic and one of the 20th century's most important American operas. Many of his compositions have been used in films and television series. His life and work inspired the 1945 biographical movie, Rhapsody in Blue.

 22 
Jimmy Dean
(Singer)

Jimmy Dean
5
Birthdate: August 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Plainview, Texas, United States
Died: June 13, 2010
Jimmy Dean was an American television host, country music singer, businessman, and actor. He is credited with creating and popularizing a food company named Jimmy Dean Foods. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, although he was still alive when he was nominated for the honor in 2010.

 23 
Don Shirley
(Composer)

Don Shirley
5
Birthdate: January 29, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Died: April 6, 2013

 24 
Ryan Tedder
(Singer-songwriter)

Ryan Tedder
4
Birthdate: June 26, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 25 
Jon Batiste
(Musician)

Jon Batiste
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kenner, Louisiana, United States

 26 
Randy Newman
(Singer-songwriter & Pianist)

Randy Newman
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 27 

Teddy Pendergrass
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, USA
Died: January 13, 2010

 28 
Fats Domino
(Singer-Songwriter, Pianist)

Fats Domino
4
Birthdate: February 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: October 24, 2017

 29 
Teddy Geiger
(Musician)

Teddy Geiger
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, USA

 30 
Yanni
(Composer)

Yanni
4
Birthdate: November 14, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kalamata, Greece

Yanni is a Greek keyboardist, pianist, composer, and music producer. He achieved international recognition by organizing and producing concerts at historic monuments, such as Taj Mahal, Burj Khalifa, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Adhering to his one world, one people philosophy, Yanni works with musicians of various nationalities to create music that incorporates an eclectic fusion of ethnic sounds.

 31 
Herbie Hancock
(Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer)

Herbie Hancock
4
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago

 32 
Gram Parsons
(Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist)

Gram Parsons
4
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida, United States
Died: September 19, 1973

 33 
Aaron Lewis
(Singer)

Aaron Lewis
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Springfield, Vermont, USA

Aaron Lewis is an American singer, musician, and songwriter. He is credited with founding the rock band Staind where he also serves as the rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist. Also known for his philanthropic efforts, Aaron Lewis works closely with a non-profit organization called It Takes a Community.

 34 
Tori Amos
(Musician and Singer)

Tori Amos
5
Birthdate: August 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newton
Alternative rock singer Tori Amos is known for her songs that highlight issues such as feminism. Amos was the youngest to win a music scholarship to the Peabody Institute. She performed with the group Y Kant Tori Read before going solo. She is associated with RAINN, a sexual abuse helpline. 

 35 
Neil Sedaka
(Singer)

Neil Sedaka
4
Birthdate: March 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Singer, pianist, and composer Neil Sedaka initially co-founded the group The Tokens. Most of his collaborations have been with lyricists Phil Cody and Howard Greenfield. He has delivered hits such as Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and Bad Blood. He also launched free online mini-concerts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 36 
Andy Biersack
(Singer/Pianist)

Andy Biersack
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1990
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio

Andy Biersack is an American pianist and singer-songwriter. He is credited with founding a rock band named Black Veil Brides where he also serves as the lead vocalist. In 2011, Biersack was mentioned in Revolver magazine's 100 Greatest Living Rock Stars list. In 2012, he was ranked fourth in Kerrang magazine's 50 Greatest Rock Stars in the World Today list.

 37 
Harry Nilsson
(Former Singer-songwriter known for Everybody's Talkin' and Without You, both of which won Grammy Awards)

Harry Nilsson
4
Birthdate: June 15, 1941
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: January 15, 1994

 38 
Leon Russell
(Singer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Pianist, Guitarist)

Leon Russell
5
Birthdate: April 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lawton
Died: November 13, 2016

 39 
Vanessa Carlton
(Singer-songwriter and Pianist famous for her debut single, 'A Thousand Miles')

Vanessa Carlton
4
Birthdate: August 16, 1980
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Milford, Pennsylvania, United States
Vanessa Carlton is known for her Billboard-charting debut single, A Thousand Miles, and her platinum-certified debut album, Be Not Nobody. Her album Rabbits on the Run was inspired by A Brief History of Time. The three-time Grammy nominee is also openly bisexual and married to Deer Tick member John McCauley.

 40 

Vic Mignogna
4
Birthdate: August 27, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Greensburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Vic Mignogna is an American musician and voice actor. He is renowned for providing the English dubs for characters from Japanese anime shows and films like Dragon Ball, Ouran High School Host Club, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Digimon Adventure tri. His voice-over work in Fullmetal Alchemist, where he voiced Edward Elric, earned him the American Anime Award in 2007.

 41 
Lupe Fiasco
(Rapper)

Lupe Fiasco
4
Birthdate: February 16, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 42 
Dan Fogelberg
(Musician)

Dan Fogelberg
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Died: December 16, 2007

 43 
Pat Smear
(Musician)

Pat Smear
4
Birthdate: August 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Los Angeles, California, USA

 44 
Thelonious Monk
(Jazz Pianist & Composer)

Thelonious Monk
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1917
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rocky Mount, North Carolina, United States
Died: February 17, 1982

Thelonious Monk was an American jazz pianist and composer who was noted for his unorthodox approach and idiosyncrasy during his performance. Mentored by Mary Lou Williams, Thelonious Monk contributed to bebop and was associated with Columbia and Riverside labels. His run-in with the police affected his performance after his New York City Cabaret Card was confiscated following the discovery of narcotics in a car.

 45 
Helen Reddy
(Singer)

Helen Reddy
4
Birthdate: October 25, 1941
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Australia-born singer-songwriter Helen Maxine Reddy moved to the USA when she won a ticket to New York City, eventually remaining there, struggling to establish herself until she got her first hit, I Don’t Know How to Love Him. However, her best remembered song was I Am Woman, which went on to become a feminist anthem, making her an international star.

 46 
Brandon Flowers
(Lead singer and keyboardist of the Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers)

Brandon Flowers
4
Birthdate: June 21, 1981
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Henderson, Nevada, United States

 47 
Rita Coolidge
(Musician)

Rita Coolidge
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1945
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lafayette, Tennessee, United States

 48 
Amanda Palmer
(Singer, Street artist, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Playwright, Blogger, Songwriter)

Amanda Palmer
4
Birthdate: April 30, 1976
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

 49 
Patrick Stump
(Singer-songwriter, Musician, Record Producer, Composer)

Patrick Stump
3
Birthdate: April 27, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, United States

 50 
André Previn
(Known for His Versatile Orchestral Compositions)

André Previn
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: February 28, 2019
German-American pianist and composer André Previn was a prominent figure in jazz and classical music. He composed tracks for MGM and won four Grammys and four Academy Awards. He was the music director of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the main conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, among others.