What rock/pop songs should I learn on the piano?
January 20, 2005 6:03 PM   Subscribe

PianoFilter: I've been playing piano as a self-taught amateur for close to twenty years; but I never bothered learning many songs. What are the great rock/pop piano songs that I should learn to play?
posted by vraxoin to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Radiohead, Karma Police, for one.
posted by abcde at 6:12 PM on January 20, 2005

The Beatles' "Lady Madonna" - it sounds impressive, lots of people know it and you can likely learn it in an afternoon. Same with "Let It Be".
posted by biscotti at 6:17 PM on January 20, 2005

Bowie's Oh! You Pretty Things, for a start. And Life On Mars.

Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah (recommended version, no matter how many Jeff Buckley fans tell you otherwise: John Cale's).

Pretty much every song on The Boatman's Call, by Nick Cave (with special mentions to Into Your Arms and There Is A Kingdom).

And if you're going for the Beatles, then Yesterday is always a good option.
posted by Len at 6:47 PM on January 20, 2005

I've always kinda liked the solo in Pink Floyd's Seamus, from Meddle.
posted by grateful at 7:39 PM on January 20, 2005

Come on, man...Bohemian Rhapsody.
posted by spicynuts at 7:57 PM on January 20, 2005

Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:05 PM on January 20, 2005

If you learned how to play either Red Barchetta or the entire 2112 Overture on the piano, you would rule so hard.
posted by Captain_Tenille at 9:55 PM on January 20, 2005

The job my 15-year-old does with Coldplay's Clocks is excellent.
posted by spock at 10:04 PM on January 20, 2005

Billy Joel's Piano Man
posted by jmd82 at 10:16 PM on January 20, 2005

I second those particular Beatles tunes - I learned them about 20 years ago, and I've never taken lessons.

Might as well throw in "Hey Jude" too.

Finally - and I can not state this emphatically enoug - "Jump". Van Halen.

But then again, I was 14 in 1984.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 11:13 PM on January 20, 2005

Anything by Ben Folds.
posted by toddshot at 4:15 AM on January 21, 2005

But specifically "Brick". It's a good song, and the only BFF song most people know.
posted by Tlogmer at 4:50 AM on January 21, 2005

"Yesterday" is a guitar song, though.

Ben Folds thirded. "Eddie Walker", "Boxing", etc.
posted by emelenjr at 5:00 AM on January 21, 2005

I second Coldplay's "Clocks" and Radiohead's "Karma Police"; excellent choices.

Also, don't forget Ben Folds' "In Between Days" (from his "Speed Graphic" EP, circa 2003).
posted by kchristidis at 6:37 AM on January 21, 2005

If it's 'classic rock/pop' stuff you want, then anything by piano-based acts like Elton John or Billy Joel would work. Even Neil Young had a few piano-based songs (After The Gold Rush). Fore a more contemporary style, go with Ben Folds or Radiohead. Of course, jazz standards are another way to go, a la Diana Krall.
If I could play just one thing on piano, it would be the intro to the Rolling Stones "She's a Rainbow" - instantly recognizable and very cool.

(Oh, and the Charlie Brown theme, of course)
posted by rocket88 at 7:57 AM on January 21, 2005

Aladdin Sane. Maybe.
posted by monkey closet at 8:10 AM on January 21, 2005

Thanks for awesome suggestions.
(I can't play that frickin' Charlie Brown theme--can't get the left and right hands to play together on that one...)
posted by vraxoin at 8:25 AM on January 21, 2005

Howard Jones's "Into Thin Air" is a flashy-sounding piano instrumental with which to impress the uninitiated.
posted by kindall at 9:02 AM on January 21, 2005

Don't laugh. People love "Faithfully" by Journey. It will get you laid.

Ben Folds is good, but he's an exceptional pianist and some of his better songs are quite difficult. I've been playing on and off for 20 years and "One Angry Dwarf" is a spiteful, angry bitch of a song to play.

Beatles tunes, TV themes....anything that most people can sing along to.

And Jazz standards, like "Take The A-Train" or "Green Dolphin Street" get people talking because they recognize the songs but they don't know the name.
posted by TeamBilly at 11:13 AM on January 21, 2005

If you also want to sing along with your playing then a simple and repetitive chord progression is best to begin with. Van Morrison's Moondance, for example, is a good because it's essentially two chords.
posted by TimeFactor at 11:53 AM on January 21, 2005

Every Beatles song ever.

Life On Mars by David Bowie.

Tiny Dancer and Your Song by Elton John.

Imagine by John Lennon.

Layla by Derek and the Dominos.
posted by ludwig_van at 5:30 PM on January 21, 2005

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