Great Piano Riffs

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Those of you who know me personally will know that I play the piano/keyboard. I was trained classically and have since dabbled with playing in church and, occasionally, for jazz/swing bands that we put together for outreach events.

So I love a great piano riff in a song. I reckon they’re massively under-rated. Here’s a couple to choose from. To get into the list they have to be interesting little riffs in great songs.

Deacon Blue, Dignity

Five for Fighting, 100 Years

Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis

Love this one. Had plans for a Moore College revue night to rewrite it but never quite got there. Would have been something like this…

Picked up my ESV and I boarded the plane.

Touched down in the land where the four points rule, in the middle of Jensen’s reign.

Oh, TC Hammond, won’t you look down over me,

Yeah, this is a first-class college, but I’m as new as a boy can be


Then I’m walking in Newtown, walking with my feet 10 feet off of King

Walking in Newtown, but do I really feel the way I feel…

Abba, Dancing Queen

Yes, really. If you don’t believe me then watch and consider how well the piano works to frame the chorus alongside the strings.

Bruce Hornsby and the Range, The Way it Is

Saved the best for last. This is the granddaddy of them all. Quite brilliant piano part from the very start all the way through including a sublime bridge.

Ok, what say the rest of you?

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Sandy Grant

    Thanks David, tried them out on my 11 year old Suzuki pianist. A bit of fun.

    My wife wondered about something from Elton John or Billy Joel – any highlights there for you?

    And being an old U2 fan from way back, I remember the Edge (I think) noodling away on an early track, October. That piano ticks with me.

    I have no idea what makes great piano in popular music though.

  2. David Ould

    love both Elton and Billy. You’re right, some Billy would work; perhaps the classic Piano man.

    1. David Ould

      David, my ability to agree is reduced by the fact that I was still 5 years away from being born.

  3. David

    I wish i could play paino its one of those things that i need to add to the bucket list and then blow people always at some random gathering.

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