Some of the Greatest Songs That Feature the Piano

Music can transform your mood, tap into your thoughts and feelings, and help people unite. It takes on all different forms, crossing genres and using a variety of musical instruments. As we celebrate World Piano Day on March 28, there is no better time to celebrate this classic instrument.

Typically, when the piano is used, it appears in classical music. It is classified as one of, if not the most used instrument in that genre. And while it’s certainly an integral part of classical music pieces, that’s not the only time a piano is used.

Here, we’ll look at some of the greatest popular songs featuring a piano outside the classic music genre. You may be surprised to see these are some of your top hits.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Detail of the CD covers of the Flash soundtrack, by Queen
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Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is the perfect place to kick-start this list of popular songs featuring the piano. While not a classical piece, it is a classic because it is so recognizable even today, decades after its initial release. In 2025, the song will celebrate its 50th anniversary, as it was released in 1975.

Bohemian Rhapsody was the lead song off Queen’s fourth studio album, titled A Night at the Opera. It has become so iconic that many call it the band’s best song ever and among the greatest songs of all time. It was ranked #17 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2021.

Imagine – John Lennon

The Lennon Wall since the 1980s is filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti and pieces of lyrics from Beatles songs
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Here’s another iconic song featuring the piano prominently: Imagine by John Lennon. Lennon had countless hits during his career, both with The Beatles and on his own, but Imagine has stood the test of time, appearing on many greatest songs of all time lists.

It’s both poignant and haunting, with lyrics that cut to the heart. It’s a song that still resonates today, long after its 1971 release, and it manages to hold different meanings with each passing year.

Let It Be – The Beatles

Let it Be is a record by the English rock band The Beatles
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Here’s another popular song that features the piano and, once again, John Lennon, this time with his bandmates. Let It Be was one of The Beatles’ most popular songs when it was released in 1970 and still today. The songwriters were John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and in the track, it’s McCartney on the piano.

This is the kind of song that, once it gets in your head, you can’t shake it. It’s almost addictive in that sense and is an excellent example of how much talent The Beatles had.

Someone Like You – Adele

Adele attends The BRIT Awards 2022 at The O2 Arena
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Since hitting the music scene in around 2008 with the release of her debut album, 19, Adele has pumped out hit after hit. But as you’re flipping through her prolific catalog, Someone Like You stands out for using a piano. The song appeared on the album 21 and was released in 2011. The piano is the only instrument in the song, allowing Adele’s powerful voice to shine.

The song was a huge hit and became the artist’s first number-one hit single in the UK. Of course, this was just the beginning of many hits to come. Still, it’s fun to look back at this beautiful melody featuring the piano.

Fallin – Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys performs at the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena
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Describing Alicia Keys’s voice as “beautiful” feels like an understatement, as there is no word that can fully capture her talent. While Keys continues to release hits, many consider the 2001 hit Fallin’ to be her best and most memorable. It is Keys who shows off her skills on the piano, which isn’t always the case with musicians.

You can feel the heartbreak in her voice as she describes the kind of relationship plenty can sympathize with.

All of Me – John Legend

Singer John Legend, during his show at Rock in Rio 2015 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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John Legend is aptly named as this man is a true legend. What can’t he do? He has accomplished the almost impossible, as he is an EGOT winner. He is one of the youngest people (age 39) to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony (EGOT winner) and is the first Black man to do so.

It’s hard to highlight just one song from this multi-talented musician, but All of Me prominently features the piano. Legend plays the piano while singing the ballad which he wrote about his wife.

Clocks – Coldplay

Chris Martin and Coldplay perform at the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Garden Arena
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Then we have Clocks, which went on to be a huge hit for the band Coldplay. The song appeared on the band’s second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, and it was the band’s lead singer, Chris Martin, who came up with the piano riff and then played it. What’s impressive, however, is that Martin wrote the lyrics and the iconic piano riff in just 15 minutes.

A Thousand Miles – Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton attends the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall
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Here’s a song that opens with the piano and likely wouldn’t be the hit it is without it. Vanessa Carlton’s hit A Thousand Miles simply wouldn’t be the success it was without the piano. The video features Carlton playing the piano the whole time.

Don’t Look Back in Anger – Oasis

Singer Liam Gallagher former vocalist of the band Oasis, during a show at Qualistage in the city of Rio de Janeiro
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Sometimes, the drama surrounding this band ended up bigger than the hits they released, but that wasn’t the case for the song Don’t Look Back in Anger, released in 1996 by Oasis. Written by Noel Gallagher, who was the band’s lead vocalist, it ended up as number one on the UK Singles Chart. While this one was a big hit, it had drama surrounding it.

Oasis has often been called out for “borrowing” sounds, parts, and other such things from other singers. Gallagher himself has admitted the intro of Don’t Look Back in Anger sounds very close to John Lennon’s Imagine.

Your Song – Elton John

Elton John performs live at Van Andel Arena on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour
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Your Song by Elton John is the perfect way to end the list of popular songs that use the piano. Elton John is in a status all his own when it comes to musicians, as he has been releasing hits since 1969. While his sound and music style may have changed over the decades, his talent has always been apparent and well-received.

Listening to the lyrics of Your Song, you are taken on an intimate journey through John’s career and life, dating back to when his grandma gifted him his first piano.

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