Ticklin’ the Ivories
For October’s Knockmix we thought we’d do an ode to some of our favorite songs that feature that 88-keyed monster, the piano. Most of us have a pretty good command of the computer keys—rattling off Google searches and firing off emails in a matter of seconds (asdfghjkl;). However, being able to coordinate all of those non-digital hammers and strings behind the piano keys (especially while singing) is a different beast.
So, whether it’s a grand, baby-grand, upright, or even just a rinky-dink kid’s keyboard, saddle up behind the ebonies and ivories and check out some of our favorite tracks that feature the piano.
Billy Joel with "Piano Man"
Not only is Billy Joel one of the greatest piano songwriters of all time, this song is actually about playing the piano. Of course we had to include it in our top spot. “Sing us a song, you’re the piano man / Sing us a song tonight / Well we’re all in the mood for a melody / And you’ve got us feeling alright.”
Alicia Keys with "Empire State of Mind (Part II)"
To have that voice, that beauty, and that instrumental talent? Alicia Keys is incredible. We could have chosen any number of her tracks for this piano-themed Knockmix, but… we chose this one.
John Legend with "Ordinary People"
Aww, remember that time John Legend wore frosted amber fade Fast Lanes? Or that other time he wore frosted amber fade Fast Lanes? Or that other time he wore… well, you get our point. Legend is a legit Fast Lanes fan. (And a great songwriter on 88 keys.)
Carole King with "I Feel the Earth Move"
This song would make a great MLB walk-up song. The way Carole King pounds on those keys—combined with her message—made us realize this was a piano song home-run and we had to include it on our list.
Elton John with "Your Song"
At Knockaround we feel a real connection to Elton John. Not only are a lot of his songs in rotation on our HQ playlist, he also was known for his unique eyewear (we’re right there with him.) This song, released in 1970, features Elton’s brilliant piano playing.
Camila Cabello with "Havana"
You don’t hear a ton of piano featured on new pop tracks, but we feel like Camila Cabello nailed it with this one. Plus, it’s always fun when a non-piano player is able to find a song that’s easy to bang out on your Grandmother’s old out-of-tune upright.
The Beatles with "Let it Be"
This is such a simple, beautiful song. Sure, some drums, guitars, and organs join in after about a minute—but this song is all about Paul’s voice and the piano.
Dr. Dre with "Still D.R.E."
According to Forbes Magazine, Dr. Dre is worth more than $700 million. It probably has something to do with him selling his Beats brand to Apple back in 2014, but you’ve got to believe that some of that big money came from this 1999 track and those iconic piano chords that set it off.
Sara Bareilles with "Love Song”
While the video for Bareilles’ first big hit might feel a little dated (and low budget), the choice to feature her behind the piano was probably a no-brainer: she’s one of the best piano songwriters of her generation (and we think she’d look great in a pair of Paso Robles.)
Oasis with "Don’t Look Back in Anger"
“Don’t Look Back in Anger,” the fifth single off of Oasis’ second album What’s the Story Morning Glory?, was the first Oasis single with lead vocals sung by Noel Gallagher. According to Gallagher, the intro to the song was inspired by another great piano-based song, "Imagine" by John Lennon.
Jack's Mannequin with "Hammers and Strings”
Andrew McMahon's early songs (from bands Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin) fueled Knockaround’s formative years, and this particular track is an ode to his weapon of choice: the piano. (If you like this song, check out the 9 minute track “Konstantine”. So EMO, so good.)
Ben Folds Five with "One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces”
It’s hard to have a conversation about piano rock without including Ben Folds. When he plays the piano he kind of goes into a trance, maniacally staring at his hands whirring from the lows to the highs. We felt this track really showed off that piano mania.
BONUS: Guns N’ Roses with "November Rain”
Around these parts we’ve got November on the brain, and not because we’re expecting rain. No, we’re thinking about November for another reason: Black Friday. You see, here at Knockaround we approach Black Friday with the same passion that Axl Rose approaches a baby-grand during a rock ballad. So, stay tuned!