Piano rock, sometimes referred to as piano pop, is a term
for a style of music that is based around piano related instruments such as
the keyboard and synthesiser, rather than the classic rock combination of
lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and vocals. This style requires an active
role on the part of the pianist to carry the score. Traditionally, piano
rock has not been as prevalent as classic rock. However, modern bands such
as Ben Folds Five, Coldplay, and The Whitlams, and solo artists such as
Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright, have heavily featured keyboard
instruments in their songs.
The roots of piano rock can be traced to 1950s rock-and-roll pioneer
Jerry Lee Lewis. A number of his performance techniques, such as kicking the
piano bench out of the way to play standing, raking his hands up and down
the keyboard for dramatic effect, and even sitting on the keyboard are
common place in modern piano rock and often seen in the performances of
Elton John and Ben Folds.
Billy Joel and Elton John could be considered groundbreakers in the
genre, with hits throughout the 70s and 80s merging the Rhythm and blues
sounds of pianists Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder with Jerry Lee Lewis
inspired Rock and Pop trends.
Artists such as Tori Amos and Ben Folds have kept piano rock in the
public consciousness throughout the '90s and into the 2000s. 2005 has seen
piano rock continuing to record popular success in the U.S. and Australian
charts through "Landed" by Ben Folds and "Bad Day" by