13 Best Rock Organists (& Their Most Killer Tracks)

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Steve Winwood in 2014 (via his Facebook page)

Steve Winwood in 2014 (via his Facebook page)

Rock ‘n’ roll may largely be guitar music, but it became richly colored by the organ as the music grew into the 1960s. The Hammond B-3 (as well as C-3 and M-3 models) and Leslie speaker cabinet (with its spinning speaker horns providing vibrato) that were already popular in jazz became part of the rock instrumental mix.

The introduction of such portable organs as the Vox Continental and Farfisa brought its sound to countless mid-1960s garage rock bands, where it enjoyed widespread prominence. In early 1970s prog-rock it helped enable the style’s instrumental prowess. Whatever the classic rock subgenre, the organ expanded the sonic palette of rock music in numerous appealing ways.

The numbering of this list is largely arbitrary – and could just as easily have included such other top organists as Felix Cavaliere of the Rascals and Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge – as every one of the players here is an acknowledged master organist that helped etch the instrument into the rock music legacy. And each of the following musicians displays his own distinctive feel and touches across the range of rock music styles.

 13) Rod Argent – “Hold Your Head Up” (with Argent)

Fellow organist Rick Wakeman (see below) is said to have praised Argent‘s organ solo on the 1972 #5 hit by the band that bore his last name as the greatest ever in rock. His keyboard talents and songwriting skills were an essential element in the sound of the Zombies in the 1960s and again with the re-formed band today.

12) Steve Nieve – “I Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down” (with Elvis Costello and the Attractions)

Is there any modern rock organist as imaginative as Elvis Costello’s longtime keyboard whiz in the Attractions and Imposters? The Royal College of Music dropout, also a master pianist, updated the 1960s garage-rock organ sound and gave it delightful twists that helped make the new wave on Costello’s early albums feel indeed new. His playing on Costello’s cover of the 1967 song originally done by Sam and Dave offers a potent showcase for his nifty skills.

11) Jon Lord – “Hush” (with Deep Purple)

Few rock recordings showcase the various elements that the organ could bring to a tune like Lord‘s work on the song first made famous by Billy Joe Royal that rocketed Deep Purple to fame in America when it soared to #4 on the Hot 100 in 1968. In addition to his playing with Purple and Whitesnake, Lord composed a number of classical pieces. He died in 2012 and was inducted with the rest of Deep Purple into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016.

10) Ian McLagan – “Itchycoo Park” (with Small Faces)

The late keyboardist with Faces/Small Faces as well as the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt, Billy Bragg and his own Bump Band wasn’t just a superb organist but also a clever player of various electric and acoustic pianos, often combining both on recordings. Such as he did on the psychedelic era Small Faces gem, “Itchycoo Park,” a #16 U.S. hit in 1967. McLagan‘s playing was much like his personality, suffused with wit, playfulness and delight.

Related: Our tribute to Ian McLagan

9) Rick Wakeman – “Roundabout” (with Yes)

He may not even be heard for the first minute of the signature song by Yes that was a #13 hit in 1972, yet Wakeman‘s organ provides the tune’s instrumental highlights. The classically trained prodigy played on recordings by Elton John, David Bowie, T. Rex and Cat Stevens and was a member of the Strawbs prior to joining Yes in 1971. He has released some 90 – yep, count em, over 90 – solo albums.

8) Billy Preston – “That’s the Way God Planned It”

Many have been tagged as “The Fifth Beatle,” but Preston had as much claim as anyone to the title from his playing with the Fab Four in the studio as well as on their legendary final live performance (on electric piano) on the rooftop of the Apple Corps HQ on London’s Savile Row in 1969. He’s also the only outside musician given official artist billing with the band on the single “Get Back,” credited to the Beatles with Billy Preston. The player who began his career at 10 years old backing gospel singers like Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland and Andraé Crouch pulls from the organ’s church tradition on this 1969 track produced by George Harrison.

7) Al Kooper – “Season of the Witch”

“Turn the organ up!” Bob Dylan reportedly said on hearing the playback of “Like a Rolling Stone” after Kooper sneaked onto the instrument during the song’s 1965 recording session. His playing on that tune became one of rock music’s best-known organ parts even though Kooper – who had previously toured as a guitarist with the pop group the Royal Teens and written the hit “This Diamond Ring” for Gary Lewis and the Playboys – could barely play the instrument. The organ subsequently became his weapon of choice with the Blues Project and the first album by the band he started, Blood, Sweat & Tears, as well as on sessions for the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and many others. He sings and plays on the Donovan song “Season of the Witch” from the 1968 Super Session album he cut with Stephen Stills and Mike Bloomfield.

Related: Listings of 100s of current classic rock tours

6) Keith Emerson – “Tarkus” (with Emerson, Lake and Palmer)

The keyboard player with Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who died by suicide in March 2016, would sometimes engage in such theatrics as stabbing his organ with a knife – in his earlier band the Nice using a Nazi dagger given to him by one of that band’s roadies, Lemmy Kilmister, later to lead Motörhead – and his playing was equally sharp and dangerous. The 20-minute-plus suite “Tarkus” from that band’s 1971 second album of the same name offers a stunning testament to Emerson‘s vibrant organ talents.

Related: Keith Emerson tributes

5) Gregg Allman – Stormy Monday” (with the Allman Brothers Band)

Serving a dual role as organist and vocalist in the Allman Brothers Band, Gregg Allman linked the exploratory twin lead guitars of brother Duane and Dickey Betts to the band’s exemplary rhythm section (which he continued to do long after Duane’s untimely passing). Allman possesses an innately soulful feel and never loses sight of the root melody and rhythm of a tune even when the ABB is deep into a half-hour jam – as he demonstrates so vividly on “Stormy Monday,” the stone classic T-Bone Walker slow blues transformed definitively by the Allmans on their landmark 1971 live album, At Fillmore East.

4) Ray Manzarek – “Light My Fire” (with the Doors)

Manzarek‘s prodigious keyboard talents were stunningly introduced to the world at the start of the first hit by the Doors – which spent three weeks at #1 in the summer of 1967 – with a figure based on a Bach composition played on the Vox Continental organ. He then further etched his name into the rock organ pantheon with his mesmeric solo on the seven-minute-plus album version of “Light My Fire.” Throughout the band’s music his organ work was like a siren’s call that helped draw millions to the Doors.

3) Booker T. Jones – “Time Is Tight” (with Booker T. and the MG’s)

Sure, “Green Onions” is the song everyone knows and loves by Booker T. and the MG’s, one of the greatest rock and soul instrumental groups and the Stax/Volt studio band. But we’re rather partial to “Time Is Tight” – a #6 pop hit and #7 R&B chart number in 1969 – as a showcase for the talents of Booker T. Jones on the B-3. His organ purrs gently in the background of this grooving gem like a lion in repose, leaping out here and there to slash away. The tune has been covered by such acts the Clash and the Blues Brothers. And the warm tones of Jones’ playing set a standard for the Hammond organ sound in popular music.

Related: Our Classic Video of “Green Onions” live

2) Garth Hudson – “The Genetic Method” (with the Band)

Keyboard magazine rates the classically trained Hudson of the Band as “the most brilliant organist in the rock world,” and who are we to argue with that assessment? Especially given the evidence on “The Genetic Method,” which started out as a brief intro to the song “Chest Fever” on the group’s 1968 debut album that was expanded in live performance into a stunning showcase for his imaginative playing. He’s the Picasso of the rock organ, splashing color and impressionistic flights of fancy throughout the traditionalist style of the Band.

Related: Our Album Rewind of The Band’s Rock of Ages

1) Steve Winwood – “Gimme Some Lovin'” (with the Spencer Davis Group)

Though best known as a hitmaking singer and songwriter, Winwood is one of rock music’s most celebrated organists through his stints with the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith as well as his solo career. His playing on the song that first brought his instrumental and singing talents to American ears in this #7 hit in 1966 – while Winwood was still a teenager – continues to serve as a bracing example of what his organ playing could bring to a recording.

Related: See where Winwood ranks in our List of the 12 Finest Male Blue-Eyed Soul Singers

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Rob Patterson
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  1. A fan of Dave
    #1 A fan of Dave "Baby" Cortez 7 September, 2016, 11:45

    Good of you to mention Felix Cavaliere at least, but not to include him high up your list and offer a link to his searing reinvention of “Good Lovin'” is sacrilege. Good as Dino and Gene were, Felix and his organ were the engine behind the Rascals, arguably the most successful American band for a while during the Beach Boys’ slumber, and indeed the plaque beside the Hammond at the vast Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix cites Felix’s skill and influence.

    Otherwise a thoughtful list and good to cite Billy Preston’s memorable Apple debut over his later successful funk.

    Reply this comment
  2. John
    #2 John 4 December, 2016, 12:22

    This just in from the glaring omissions dept:

    Vincent Crane : Crazy World of Arthur Brown / Atomic Rooster truly inspired player overlooked in the shadow of his more famous contemporaries.

    Doug Ingle – I. Ron Butterfly one hit wonder but iconic riff of Inna Gadda Da Vida

    Matthew Fisher Procol Harum Whiter Shade of Pale – iconic as well – started the era of Bach rip offs but why not steal from the best?

    Reply this comment
    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin 6 December, 2016, 21:20

      I’m just always happy when someone spells Procol Harum correctly! (And yes, they are one of the most underrated bands ever.)

      Reply this comment
      • Mike
        Mike 10 February, 2018, 12:44

        Actually that’s not the correct spelling. The latin should be procul harun, but the band got it wrong!

        Reply this comment
        • melf
          melf 10 June, 2020, 00:37

          Thank you again for sharing Yes and Roundabout.
          Massive talent in one band. There is just so much going on in that song, the organ can almost be subdued.
          Nothing has come close to that level of progressive rock.
          So glad I got to see the Royal Affair with Yes. Some members have passed, but still amazing body of work.
          One thing I do know is if you have the chance, see them.

          Reply this comment
        • Cat6
          Cat6 12 May, 2021, 14:24

          I like the way “Procol Harum” looks. Think on this, also: “Mott the Hoople” looks great spelled correctly. Mot da Huppal would never have worked.

          Reply this comment
      • Hunter
        Hunter 12 May, 2021, 18:50

        Best Rock Band ever!

        Reply this comment
    • Mark Blaze
      Mark Blaze 25 December, 2019, 17:40

      Totally agree on Vincent Crane….he has to be on this list.

      Reply this comment
    • Dave
      Dave 13 May, 2021, 08:00

      Can’t believe you missed Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep. He was the glue that held their music together and gave it the heavy vibe

      Reply this comment
    #3 SHAMROCKMADISON 5 December, 2016, 13:46

    Stevie Winwood is a better organist than Garth Hudson and Ray Manzarek? Not in 4 million light years.

    Reply this comment
    • jdubbiyou
      jdubbiyou 23 October, 2017, 16:23

      Winwood better than Manzerek? Absolutely….listen to Jimi’s Voodoo Chile w/SW

      Reply this comment
    • jdubbiyou
      jdubbiyou 23 October, 2017, 16:39

      Listen to Jimi Hendrix’ Voodoo Chile with Winwood (organ) live in the studio and tell me Manzarek can play like that. Winwood has always been the master of understatement but not on that jam…..

      Reply this comment
    • jer
      jer 13 May, 2018, 07:29

      Just listen to Ray Manzarek’s solo in Light my Fire, hands down the best organist, Winwood don’t even come close!

      Reply this comment
      • Billy K.
        Billy K. 11 June, 2020, 00:37

        I play organ……and I have “Gimme Some Lovin'” pretty much down, and actually easy. Quite the opposite of “:Light My Fire”, which is a bit difficult to get under control.

        Reply this comment
  4. Jeffrey
    #4 Jeffrey 15 February, 2017, 17:12

    Rod Argent was an incredible keyboard player. Very underappreciated.

    Reply this comment
  5. Guy Smiley
    #5 Guy Smiley 15 February, 2017, 23:11

    I’d likely put Booker T. at #1, but this is an excellent list nonetheless.

    There are omissions though:Another vote for Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, as well as Brent Myldand from the Grateful Dead, and Danny Federici of the E Street Band.

    Also, for fans of the more recent jam bands, Kyle Hollingsworth of String Cheese Incident is fantastic.

    A guy who could’ve made this list, had he played more organ after becoming famous, is Billy Joel. His early stuff with The Hassles,and the infamous Atilla (“Amplifier Fire”!), featured some pretty great organ. After going solo, however, he’s only played organ sporadically. Both in the studio and onstage.

    Finally, while he wasn’t “rock,” special honors to the great Jimmy Smith, who probably influenced every organ player on listed in this article and the comments.

    Reply this comment
    • Jeff Tamarkin
      Jeff Tamarkin 16 February, 2017, 09:44

      Great comment, thanks! And you are correct about Jimmy Smith.

      Reply this comment
    • bob8003
      bob8003 22 January, 2019, 21:32

      Brett freaking Mydland? You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought Mydland was the beginning of the end of the Dead, and I really liked the Dead. By the way: You want to talk about great organ players: where’s Brian Auger? He’s nowhere to be found here and that’s really, really wrong.

      Reply this comment
  6. Vladimir
    #6 Vladimir 16 February, 2017, 11:59

    This list isn’t complete. Rick van der Linden and Brian Auger must be here.

    Reply this comment
    • Guy Smiley
      Guy Smiley 19 February, 2017, 11:23

      Oh yes… how could I forget Brian Auger? Not a household name, but one of the greats.

      I learned who he was thanks to The Monkees, as Auger was featured in their bizarre (but kinda cool) “33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee” TV special from 1969. His playing in that was amazing, so I’ve become something of a fan since then.

      The “Trinity” stuff is OK, but I particularly like Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express stuff from the 70s. I would like to check out Steampacket, the 60’s stuff with a young Rod Stewart, too.

      Auger’s still going strong! I recently picked up a good live album/DVD from a few year ago — Live at the Baked Potato. Good stuff!

      Reply this comment
      • Angus
        Angus 27 December, 2017, 13:55

        No flies on his German live 2-Cd set with Eric Burdon, either—the essence of rock and roll! essence

        Reply this comment
      • Pat
        Pat 11 June, 2020, 13:43

        Two of my favorites are missing: Brian Auger and Alan Price of the Animals. You have to dig a bit deeper than the greatest hits to hear his best stuff though.

        Reply this comment
        • Big E
          Big E 5 August, 2022, 22:57

          Brian Auger yes, but Alan Price! The organ in House of the Rising Sun is quintessential!!!!!

          Reply this comment
  7. Long John
    #7 Long John 22 February, 2017, 11:45

    In my humble opinion Roy Phillips from the Peddlers is the best organist I have heard probably does not list here because his band did not have as many hits as the bands listed but his brilliance shines through .I suppose you could argue that he does not feature because it’s listed as best rock organists however he played right through the rock period from 1964 to mid seventies.

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  8. Mike L
    #8 Mike L 18 April, 2017, 01:25

    Another organist not listed likely cause they’re not household names is Art Neville from The Meters and The Neville Brothers. I’d put him up there with Booker T…The Meters are looked upon as the ultimate funk rock band from Nola..and it’s a shame they’ve been passed over by the rock n roll hall of fame/shame.

    Reply this comment
  9. Tacitus
    #9 Tacitus 5 May, 2017, 12:59

    lee michaels early B3 played with a drummer only frosty but he besides playing loud was an innovator

    Reply this comment
    • Teach
      Teach 11 March, 2021, 00:50

      Absolutely! I saw Lee Michaels with is drummer Frosty in 1970 and he was electric. Combined great vocals that smoothly switched from rock to rhythm and blues, his expert, and loud, skills on the Hammond were among the best.

      Reply this comment
  10. Jimmy
    #10 Jimmy 6 May, 2017, 00:02

    Gregg Rollie was an essential part of Santana’s sound, a great balance between groove and fire………….. Also, Chester Thompson of Tower of Power was no slouch.

    Reply this comment
    • n/a
      n/a 10 June, 2019, 10:08

      I think Gregg Rolie should have been included in this line up of great organists! WTH?!

      Reply this comment
    • pdxfunkjunkie
      pdxfunkjunkie 3 October, 2020, 20:23

      C T !!

      Reply this comment
    • Rob in the Ridge
      Rob in the Ridge 14 May, 2021, 12:15

      Gregg Rollie was an important part of the band that Carlos Santana called his “favorite lineup ever”. The awesome amount of sheer talent was bound to fracture the band but… what a legacy!

      Reply this comment
  11. Scoop
    #11 Scoop 22 October, 2017, 21:23

    Mathew Fisher of Procol Harum on Whiter Shade of Pale?

    Reply this comment
  12. Werewuf
    #12 Werewuf 23 October, 2017, 01:30

    There is no rock organist list without Gregg Rolie.
    Credibility grade on this list? -2

    Reply this comment
  13. Scott
    #13 Scott 23 October, 2017, 01:56

    These popularity contests are a hoot. But those who understand the origin of the species, you have to start with Goldy McJohn of Steppenwolf and Mark Stein of Vanilla Fudge… of course Garth Hudson and Rod Argent belong in that group and these are the Founding Fathers of the State of that Art. IMHO.

    Reply this comment
  14. jdubbiyou
    #14 jdubbiyou 23 October, 2017, 16:32

    Why 13? couldn’t think of any to round out the number? Bill Payne (Little Feat), Brian Auger, Benmont Tench (Heartbreakers), Lee Michaels. These guys are all ahead of Al Kooper…..

    Reply this comment
  15. thirst4music
    #15 thirst4music 23 October, 2017, 17:35

    Richard Wright of Pink Floyd was highly underrated. I’d like this list better if it was 15 and included him and Jimmy Smith.

    Reply this comment
  16. Stanimal
    #16 Stanimal 23 October, 2017, 22:16

    Still think Matthew Fisher deserves better.Should be ranked in top 10. I always liked Mike Smith of DC5 but I don’t think he was as creative as the others. What about Alan Price of the Animals. Loved House of the Rising Sun and I Put a Spell on You.

    Reply this comment
    • Old rocker
      Old rocker 10 June, 2020, 20:01

      Agreed on Alan Price. In my opinion his organ solo does more for House of the Rising Sun than any other component of a recording that has stood the test of time

      Reply this comment
  17. Robi
    #17 Robi 24 October, 2017, 07:28

    “Hush” is a song written by Joe South not Billy Joe Royal. Royal’s “Down in the Boondocks” was also written by South. I would put Jon Lord near the top of the list.

    Reply this comment
  18. Frank R.
    #18 Frank R. 27 December, 2017, 06:33

    I agree with all the aforementioned add-ins who weren’t on the original list but also surprised that no one remembered the great Ken Hensley of Uriah Heep and the great Chick Churchill of Ten Years After. There, now they’re in.

    Reply this comment
  19. Poetaprofesora
    #19 Poetaprofesora 10 February, 2018, 03:19

    What about Geoff Downes (British, Yes, Asia, Icon)? Too progressive to ignore. First MTV, the Death of the Radio Show.

    Reply this comment
    #20 TODD TAMANEND CLARK 13 May, 2018, 06:38

    My favorite organists: 1. SUN RA, 2. MARK STEIN (Vanilla Fudge), 3. RAY MANZAREK (The Doors), 4. DOUG INGLE (Iron Butterfly), 5. AL KOOPER, 6. LARRY YOUNG, 7. MARK WEITZ, (The Strawberry Alarm Clock), 8. IAN BRUCE-DOUGLAS (Ultimate Spinach), 9. RALPH SCALA (The Blues Magoos), 10. GOLDY MCJOHN (Steppenwolf), 11. DAVID BENNETT COHEN (Country Joe And The Fish), 12. DARRYL HOOPER (The Seeds), 13. FELIX CAVALIERE (The Rascals)!

    Reply this comment
  21. Jeff
    #21 Jeff 13 May, 2018, 17:35

    Keith Emerson ran circles around most of these guys !!! He should be at number #1, followed by Wakeman, then Jon Lord!!!

    Reply this comment
    • Chev
      Chev 3 August, 2018, 12:33

      I have to say HELL YA! It’s about time someone said that! K Emerson #1, R Wakeman #2, Lord #3. Classical list start!

      Reply this comment
  22. Billy K.
    #22 Billy K. 14 May, 2018, 17:15

    Although not as popular in stateside, as in the UK, Atomic Rooster had a monster of an organist, named Vincent Crane.

    In most editions of the band, there was no bassist. Crane carried the bass line much like Manzarek did for the Doors.

    In the first lineup of Rooster, Crane had to have to be competitive in music skills with his drummer, Carl Palmer.

    But a good list overall. Also glad that the “cheese” organists, that use the Vox Continental and Farfisa tones were recognized. Not everyone can afford to buy a Hammond B-3…..nor have roadies that can lift that heavy sucker.

    Too often, the mind-set of analyzing organ players comes to “if it’s not the B-3, it’s not a real organ”. Whereas some of the most iconic organ licks actually came from Vox and Farfisa keyboards.

    There is always room for cheese in my musical diet!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  23. tony
    #23 tony 21 May, 2018, 08:55

    Brian Auger for God’s sake !!! and how Vincent Crane didn’t make your list is shameful

    Reply this comment
  24. Stevel
    #24 Stevel 23 July, 2018, 08:34

    Garth Hudson’s Chest Fever got overlooked. As good as any organ track out there.

    Reply this comment
  25. TR6
    #25 TR6 3 August, 2018, 00:41

    Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five. His keyboard playing virtually drove the band’s sound

    Reply this comment
  26. DaveC
    #26 DaveC 3 August, 2018, 00:42

    What about Graham Bond? He was an early pioneer of the B3 with the Leslie speakers. For those of you who don’t recognise the name he was of the Graham Bond ORGANisation. Ginger Baker was his drummer and Jack Bruce was on bass and vocals.

    Reply this comment
  27. LakeCity Leroy
    #27 LakeCity Leroy 3 August, 2018, 00:45

    Nothing from either of the great keyboardists from KANSAS? Sad list indeed. Kerry on.

    Reply this comment
    • Steve-o
      Steve-o 10 July, 2021, 09:34

      I was thinking about Kansas, Three Dog Night, and even Tom Scholz on Boston’s stuff as being pretty awesome.

      Reply this comment
  28. CIRCUS 72
    #28 CIRCUS 72 3 August, 2018, 01:27

    Nice to see Atilla (which Joel hated) and Vincent Crane on the list. How about England’s Rare Bird and Can’s Irmin Schmidt?

    Reply this comment
  29. Bluzrider
    #29 Bluzrider 3 August, 2018, 07:32

    I know this goes all the back to 1968 but, doesn’t anyone remember “Ramblin Gambling Man” by Bob Seger, he played the Hammond B-3 on the original recording, and has consistently had on organ player in hid Silver Bullet Band by the name of Craig Frost who was originally with Grand Funk Railroad.

    Reply this comment
  30. MusicLover
    #30 MusicLover 9 August, 2018, 12:14

    Big admirer of the late Jimmy Greenspoon of 3 Dog Night, ie, solo in “Out In the Country”… list looks very spot on

    Reply this comment
  31. rick reed
    #31 rick reed 23 January, 2019, 12:54

    Nicky Hopkins has to be in there somewhere,Don’t you think?

    Reply this comment
  32. bekemp
    #32 bekemp 25 January, 2019, 05:32

    Augie Meyers: SDQ and Texas Tornado

    Reply this comment
  33. Steve_K
    #33 Steve_K 2 March, 2019, 10:48

    1. Booker T.
    2. Alan Price of the Animals. Can’t believe he’s not on this list.

    Reply this comment
  34. victor m
    #34 victor m 5 June, 2019, 17:57

    Tom Sholtz on eponymous Boston album played great organ parts in Foreplay/Long Time and Smokin’. Also Get ORGAN-ized is a great instrumental and name speaks for itself

    Reply this comment
  35. SKP
    #35 SKP 13 June, 2019, 22:52

    Jeff —
    Mike Finnigan, Hendrix “Voodoo Chile” (jam)
    Lee Michaels “Do You Know What I Mean”

    Reply this comment
  36. Victor M.
    #36 Victor M. 24 July, 2019, 11:02

    This can be an endless list, since there’s a lot of 70s rock bands used Hammonds. But I’d specially mention Sugarloaf – Green Eyed Lady and Genesis – Apocalypse in 7/8 as an example of outstanding solos.

    Reply this comment
  37. Lars
    #37 Lars 2 May, 2020, 15:02

    Ray Manzarek hands down.

    Reply this comment
  38. Jim C
    #38 Jim C 9 June, 2020, 15:33

    Love any list that puts our music appreciation on alert! Would like to have seen Gregg Rolie, Lee Michaels, and Jimmy Greenspoon on your list, but I can’t fault you for your picks. Thanks for making my day!

    Reply this comment
  39. Teddy
    #39 Teddy 9 June, 2020, 16:28

    Joachim Young did excellent work on Steve Miller’s “Fly Like and Eagle” album, especially on the hit title song.

    Reply this comment
  40. Dr door
    #40 Dr door 10 June, 2020, 03:58

    Lee Michaels is the best just him and frosty

    Reply this comment
  41. wolfganguwe
    #41 wolfganguwe 10 June, 2020, 11:45

    I miss Brian Auger (Road to Cairo, This wheels on fire, Season of the whitch, light my fire etc.

    Reply this comment
  42. JJ
    #42 JJ 10 June, 2020, 16:58

    The late Jimmy Greenspoon of Three Dog Night is underappreciated. His organ playing was dominant on many of the TDN hits as well as several album tracks. Check out his sublime playing on “Easy To Be Hard”, “Out In The Country”, and “Going In Circles” to name a few tracks.

    Reply this comment
  43. Ted Fontenot
    #43 Ted Fontenot 10 June, 2020, 17:09

    How about Alan Price on The Animals’s version of House of the Rising Sun.

    Reply this comment
  44. Jeff
    #44 Jeff 10 June, 2020, 18:19

    Nice list but how could Matthew Fisher not be on it, close or at #1 for Whiter Shade of Pale?

    Reply this comment
  45. jdubbiyou
    #45 jdubbiyou 10 June, 2020, 22:09

    no Brian Auger? how about Little Feat and top session player, Bill Payne?…..Gregg Allman doesn’t belong here…Gregg Rolie does and Felix Cavaliere, too…..Goldie McJohn?….Lee Michaels?

    Reply this comment
  46. Deb
    #46 Deb 19 February, 2021, 06:46

    What about Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers?? He should be in there somewhere???

    Reply this comment
  47. JHW
    #47 JHW 12 May, 2021, 13:11

    The Strangler’s Dave Greenfield deserves to be mentioned

    Reply this comment
  48. Joe
    #48 Joe 13 May, 2021, 00:55

    Wakeman could play circles around these other guys. Yes (no pun intended), these other guys are very good, but not in the same league as Rick.

    Reply this comment
  49. BWails
    #49 BWails 13 May, 2021, 02:23

    How about Professor Roy Bittan? Not just for his outstanding work with E Street but has made telling contributions for the likes of Bowie, Dylan, Reid, Nicks. Quiet and unassuming equals underrated.

    Reply this comment
  50. Cathpat67
    #50 Cathpat67 13 May, 2021, 03:19

    Keith Emerson will never be remembered for the many upgrades to the keyboards that changed everything. Still remember seeing ELP at the Easttown theater and Keith sticking knives in his Hammond to keep notes going. All of ELP’s concerts to the very end had Keith’s Hammond organ prominently displayed along with his synths!

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  51. Bert
    #51 Bert 14 May, 2021, 05:50

    It is so ridicolous to think that there are only two countries on this planet (UK and US) which produce the greatest musicians. How stupid and smallminded can someone think?

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  52. JimCap
    #52 JimCap 14 May, 2021, 10:15

    Missing 2 – Bobby Whitlock & Lee Michaels

    Reply this comment
  53. John Zane
    #53 John Zane 14 May, 2021, 14:02

    How can you have forgotten Bobby Whitlock who played keyboards on George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and was Clapton’s writer/performer in Derek & the Dominoes !!!

    Reply this comment
  54. Scottd
    #54 Scottd 3 August, 2022, 13:21

    Tony Banks, Greg Rollie

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  55. Mick72
    #55 Mick72 3 August, 2022, 13:27

    Hard to have a list like this and omit Gary Brooker’s work on “A Whiter Shade of Pale”. I think John Paul Jones deserves a mention (Your Time is Gonna Come). And finally, as a die hard Keith Emerson fan I feel like his playing stands out further on “Karn Evil 9” (all parts) it’s a very fine list though!

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  56. Noah
    #56 Noah 3 August, 2022, 17:58

    You keep reposting this article every so often and it frustrates me. I keep reading “we could have added Mark Stein and Felix Cavaliere..”. Well why didn’t you add them??! I know for a fact that they were huge inspirations to organists that made the list. Why “13”? So frustrating.

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  57. BarrytheCrab
    #57 BarrytheCrab 4 August, 2022, 20:49

    Seth Justman.
    J Geils Band.

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