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

Aretha Franklin.
6
Famous As: Singer & Activist
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 Alicia Keys

Aretha Franklin.
6
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: January 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Hell's Kitchen, New York, United States

Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been active in the music industry since the mid-1990s. Her debut album was a super hit and earned her five Grammy Awards. She is one of the best-selling artists in the United States and has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. She is also known for her humanitarian work, philanthropy, and activism.

 3 Ray Charles

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Musician
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.

 4 John Williams

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Composer
Birthdate: February 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Floral Park

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 Jerry Lee Lewis

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: September 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferriday, Louisiana, United States
Four-time Grammy-winner Jerry Lee Lewis, nicknamed “The Killer,” is best known for his track Great Balls of Fire. A controversy surrounding his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin Myra destroyed his career. Named to Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, he was also part of the Million Dollar Quartet.

 6 Tyler Joseph

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: December 1, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Tyler Joseph is an American musician, rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is credited with forming the popular musical duo Twenty One Pilots, for which he serves as the frontman. He has several awards under his belt, including a Grammy Award, American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and iHeartRadio Music Awards.

 7 Toni Braxton

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: American R&B Singer-songwriter & Musician
Birthdate: October 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Severn
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.
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 8 Nat King Cole

Aretha Franklin.
6
Famous As: Vocalist, Pianist
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.

 9 Don Henley

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Musician, Drummer, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: July 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gilmer, Texas, United States

 10 Liberace

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: Pianist
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.

 11 Ross Lynch

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: December 29, 1995
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Littleton, Colorado, United States
Ross Lynch made his debut as Austin Moon in the Disney series Austin & Ally. He also appeared as Brady in the Teen Beach TV films and as Harvey Kinkle in the Netflix series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He has also delivered a Billboard-topping album with the band R5.

 12 Duke Ellington

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: Composer, Pianist and Bandleader
Birthdate: April 29, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
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.

 13 Trent Reznor

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer, Composer, Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Record producer
Birthdate: May 17, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Mercer

 14 Bob Seger

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Musician
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.

 15 Fiona Apple

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Composer, Pianist, Writer, Songwriter, Jazz musician
Birthdate: September 13, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Manhattan

 16 Florence Foster Jenkins

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Socialite
Birthdate: July 19, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: November 26, 1944

Florence Foster Jenkins was an American socialite who was often ridiculed and mocked for her poor singing ability, which in turn made her popular. Known as the world's worst opera singer, Jenkins became a musical cult-figure in New York City due to her technical incompetence as an amateur soprano. Her life inspired several plays and films, including Florence Foster Jenkins.

 17 Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky

Aretha Franklin.
5
Famous As: Composer, Pianist & Conductor
Birthdate: June 17, 1882
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lomonosov, Russia
Died: April 6, 1971

Four-time Grammy-winning Russian composer and pianist Igor Stravinsky is regarded as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. He is remembered for his ballets The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. He broke the traditional flow of music and incorporated his own style.

 18 Alicia Witt

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 21, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

 19 Harry Connick Jr.

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: American singer
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...

 20 Jack Antonoff

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bergenfield, New Jersey, USA

 21 Joe Walsh

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Guitarist
Birthdate: November 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wichita

Joe Walsh is an American guitarist, songwriter, and singer. Over the years Walsh has contributed to the success of popular rock bands such as Eagles and James Gang. In 1998, he was made an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 54th on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list.

 22 Paul Reiser

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: March 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 23 Sufjan Stevens

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Composer, Oboist, Banjoist, Record producer, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: July 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Detroit

 24 Jimmy Dean

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer
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.

 25 Debbie Gibson

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Singer, Actor, Composer, Film producer, Musician, Record producer, Pianist, Television actor
Birthdate: August 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brooklyn

 26 Leonard Bernstein

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: Conductor, Composer
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.

 27 Burt Bacharach

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: Pianist, Composer, Songwriter
Birthdate: May 12, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kansas City
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. 

 28 George Gershwin

Aretha Franklin.
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Famous As: Composer
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.

 29 AJ Michalka

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 10, 1991
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Torrance, California

AJ Michalka is an American actress, musician, and singer-songwriter. She is credited with forming the popular pop duo Aly & AJ along with her sister Alyson Renae Michalka. Also a respected actress and voice actress, AJ Michalka has contributed to the success of several TV series, such as Steven Universe and The Goldbergs.

 30 Teddy Pendergrass

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 26, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kingstree, South Carolina, USA
Died: January 13, 2010

 31 Fats Domino

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Pianist, Rock & Roll Musician
Birthdate: February 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: October 24, 2017

 32 Teddy Geiger

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: September 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rochester, New York, USA

 33 Aaron Lewis

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer
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 Leon Russell

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Pianist, Guitarist
Birthdate: April 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lawton
Died: November 13, 2016

 35 Randy Newman

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter & Pianist
Birthdate: November 28, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 36 Tori Amos

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Musician and Singer
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. 

 37 Ryan Tedder

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: June 26, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 38 Warren Zevon

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Rock Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: January 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: September 7, 2003

Warren Zevon was an American musician, rock singer, and songwriter. As a songwriter, Zevon contributed immensely to the success of songs recorded by other artists, such as Murray McLauchlan. Also known for his acerbic lyrics and dry wit, Warren Zevon made several appearances on shows like the Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with David Letterman.

 39 Neil Sedaka

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer
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.

 40 Jonathan Davis

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Musician, Songwriter, Singer, Producer, Actor
Birthdate: January 18, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bakersfield, California
Jonathan Davis, or JDevil, is best known as the co-founder and lead singer of the band Korn, which is said to have pioneered the genre of nu metal music. The two-time Grammy-winning artist came to be known for his intense and sometimes aggressive and high-pitched vocals.

 41 Andy Biersack

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer/Pianist
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.

 42 Pat Smear

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: West Los Angeles, California, USA

 43 Melissa Etheridge

Aretha Franklin.
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter
Birthdate: May 29, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Leavenworth

 44 Vic Mignogna

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 45 Glenn Danzig

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist, Songwriter
Birthdate: June 23, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lodi, New Jersey

 46 Josh Klinghoffer

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: October 3, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles

 47 Herbie Hancock

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer-songwriter, Bandleader, Conductor, Jazz musician, Keyboardist, Actor, Musician, Pianist, Film score composer
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago

 48 Dan Fogelberg

Aretha Franklin
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Famous As: Musician
Birthdate: August 13, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois, USA
Died: December 16, 2007

 49 Gram Parsons

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer, Singer-songwriter, Songwriter, Musician, Guitarist, Pianist
Birthdate: November 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winter Haven, Florida, United States
Died: September 19, 1973

 50 Phil Anselmo

Aretha Franklin
4
Famous As: Singer, Musician, Pianist
Birthdate: June 30, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans