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Jon Lord wins a poll

Jon Lord on stage, September 2002. Photo: Jim Corrigan.

Jon Lord has won the Greatest Keyboard Player poll held by Real XS radio in Manchester, UK. The final top 10 is as follows:

  1. Jon Lord
  2. Rick Wakeman
  3. Rick Wright
  4. Keith Emerson
  5. Ray Manzarek
  6. Matt Bellamy
  7. Jordan Rudess
  8. Tony Banks
  9. Dave Greenfield
  10. John Paul Jones

Thanks to Alan Heron for the info.

71 Comments to “Jon Lord wins a poll”:

  1. 1
    Mark Bryant says:

    That’s a no brainer. Nobody compares.

  2. 2
    Alexander Marshall says:

    Jon is number 1, but Ken Hensley should be up there too.

  3. 3
    Mark Bryant says:

    Don Airey belongs here too.

  4. 4
    Carl Hoenle says:

    No surprise…glad to see Emerson and Wakeman on list…surprised Billy Powell is not on it…ty for post

  5. 5
    Geoff Young says:

    Such an accolade for one so humble…

  6. 6
    Robert Jones says:

    Was and always will be the greatest

  7. 7
    Cameron Jones says:

    A true master of his art

  8. 8
    Freddy Ebling says:

    Good list, but I am missing Don Airey ( Deep Purple, ex Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Jethro Tull, Michael Schenker Group) and Ken Hensley, (ex Uriah Heep)

  9. 9
    Deborah Sztajnberg says:

    the best

  10. 10
    Michele Mick Ritchie Teso says:

    John Paul Jones ? ahaha 🙂

  11. 11
    Rob Poyton says:

    Emerson and Manzarek above Wright and Billy Preston and Don Airey in there somewhere!

  12. 12
    Karen Hughes-Rupping says:

    Too right Jon Lord is the best…..he is a legend!!!

  13. 13
    James Shortt says:

    who was the one that wrote classical Gas ???

  14. 14
    Raymond Verster says:

    The best

  15. 15
    Arnaud Lepetit says:

    Mais y-a-t-il besoin de les classer ? Why keyboardist contest ? I love ALL keyboardist from Jon Lord to Jordan Rudess

  16. 16
    Carl Sampson says:

    jon lord the best no ken hensly thou amazed

  17. 17
    Dave Berry says:

    james s – I believe it was mason williams, more known for his guitar work…

  18. 18
    Andrey Gusenkov says:

    John Paul Jones in TOP 10? Excuse me ?

  19. 19
    Jann Solano Martinez says:


  20. 20
    Hendro Markam says:

    Mr Lord on keyboard yeeaaahhh

  21. 21
    Chris MAllinson says:

    God knows how John Paul Jones gets in there,typical Zep fans, they can only ever vote in a poll using a member of Led Zep.

  22. 22
    Lucien Deprijck says:

    Who else?!

  23. 23
    Sergio Xmampm says:

    wheres don airey ????

  24. 24
    Gerard Farren says:

    The beast

  25. 25
    Krzysztof Anioła says:

    Master…….. .

  26. 26
    Stig Johansen says:


  27. 27
    henrik h says:

    – Rightly so!

    Manzarek should be 2nd, though!

  28. 28
    MacGregor says:

    That is a great top ten list indeed, Jon Lord is my favourite keyboard player & Wakeman has always been a close second! Great to see Rick Wright at 3 also. Emerson rightly so at 4 & I would have Tony Banks at 5, no disrespect to Ray Manzarek, he could be at 6! Two legends lost in Lord & Wright, but thankfully we have the melodies from them forever! I probably would have Patrick Moraz in there somewhere also, I am also a Yes ‘fan’ after all! Cheers.

  29. 29
    Herman says:

    Where is Don Airey? He is a great keyboard player. Listen to Now what of Deep Purple for example. Jon Lord the best!

  30. 30
    Ozeas Ricardo Guedes says:

    Great John!

  31. 31
    Marcão Sorocaba says:


  32. 32
    Darren McRae says:

    Don Aireys should be there. Honourable mention to Colin Towns Of Gallant. But lord is the best

  33. 33
    Darren McRae says:

    Colin Towns of Gillan I.meant to say

  34. 34
    Carlos Naia says:

    Don Airey, Patrick Moraz, Peter Bardens,Ken Hensley, better than half of those choices…

  35. 35
    Daniel Cianci says:

    Keith Emerson…at the first position! and Jon Lord on the second!

  36. 36
    Christopher Chacano Valenzuela says:

    Tony carey ??? In rainbow.. 1976

  37. 37
    Johnny Gallagher says:

    Long live Jon Lord!!

  38. 38
    Chris Gordon says:

    Wow. No Ken Hensley.

  39. 39
    Dominic Mittiga says:

    A god!

  40. 40
    Raffaele Moretti says:

    1. Jon Lord 2. Ken hensley

  41. 41
    Rob Hitchcock says:

    Jon IMHO is the best and agree Don Airey should be in there. I just love his solo on Difficult to Cure. Someone once described it as Star Wars on the Keyboard, I think in Kerrang or Sounds when the album came out. Also love Geoff Downes. Saw him with Asia at their second debut show at Wembley and man he was awesome. Also a big mention to Mark Kelly of Marillion who was fantastic live but also often the main voice for me on lots of album material.

  42. 42
    MacGregor says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t think of Ken Hensley, a super Hammond player & a wonderful keyboard player who also is a very good guitarist & songwriter & not a bad vocalist either! Maybe that is why he isn’t in the list, too multi talented perhaps or maybe if there was a multi instrumentalist poll, he would win hands down!?? Love the early 70’s Heep. Cheers.

  43. 43
    Joel Andriese says:

    derek sherinian should be on that list

  44. 44
    Gianmarco Muzzolon says:

    Where are Ken Hensley??????

  45. 45
    Stephen Marten says:

    Jon wird immer die #1 bleiben, egal wer da kommt, unsterblich und unerreicht.

  46. 46
    KC1961 says:

    Agree with the Don Airey and Ken Hensley comments, but we could all add a few names that should maybe be in there, Max Middleton?

  47. 47
    Marcus says:

    People who should be above JPJ – in no particular order and apologies to the many I have forgotten: Tommy Eyre, Colin Towns, John Evans, Vangelis , Patrick Moraz, Tony Kaye, Geoff Downes, Dave Greenslade, Christine McVie , Alan Price, Dr John, Ray Charles.

    Frankly even Vince Clarke and Gary Numan.

    And after all that JPJ is a good keyboard player and a great recorder player.

  48. 48
    Les Hedger says:

    Of course Jon is the best!!! He will be known as the Keyboard player for Deep Purple and also as a Classical Composer. I believe in 2010 in a poll taken by European Classical radio stations he came in 3rd as the most popular Classical Composer!!

  49. 49
    Awan Murtiono says:

    like n nice n love deep purple

  50. 50
    Jessica Sepúlveda says:

    The Best!!! <3

  51. 51
    Voide Pascal says:

    Lord …! you did it again !

  52. 52
    Ivica says:

    Jon Lord is the best, I know that ever since the first time heard the solo in “The Painter”
    “The Hands Of God”, great talent, playing his instrument with a soul
    celebrated Hammond
    A list of the best musicians, mostly keyboards masters and seventies, when the rock was progressive, players innovators
    although it seems to me that John Poul Jones celebrates a different instrument
    the top ten for me .. should be no place for
    Ken Hensley great player and author
    good and Dave Greenfield from “The Stranglers” This van Leer / Focus / “mad genius”
    Of course l place of honor for the great Don Airey
    He is versatile, classicist, who played the jazz -rock Collosseum II, Purple and Sabbath famalys, to the winners of Eurosong 1997 where he played, arranged and conducted
    the winner song of Great Britain
    Don is a great
    I look forward to seeing you soon on the coast of Croatia in Zadar 15 .07. ” The Greatest Band in the world play

    Jon lives forever

  53. 53
    Joey says:

    Agreed!!!! Jon is my favorite. What a great guy also. Had the privilege of meeting him once and he was very friendly and sociable. Where is Don Airey and Jurgen Fritz on this poll. Im sure many others must have been mentioned as well, but JPJ??? I love his contributions to LZ, but top 10. I dont think so

  54. 54
    Nick Skelson says:

    The greatest, then, now and forever! R.I.P. Jon!

  55. 55
    byron says:

    Jon is the king but..Ken Hensley,Don Airey..Where are you?
    Do you know Peter Solley?he used to play with 70′ rock band Paladin,then spent some years with Procol harum and had some stints with Whitesnake.He’s awesome.

  56. 56
    Thierry Monguillon says:

    jon repose en paix.

  57. 57
    Jack says:

    Hilarious!! Matt “Twat” Bellamy? John Paul Jones? (a great bass player). Where the hell are Ken Hensley, Don Airey & Geoff Downes? Lord, Wakeman, Wright, Banks, Emerson… Hell yeah, well deserved!!

  58. 58
    richard says:

    matt bellamy,since when was he a keybord player ?guitarist yes but hardly class.not in the same league.

  59. 59
    Tommy H. says:

    Jon Lord, Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) and Keith Emerson had the biggest impact on me. At the moment I listen to Brian Auger, he’s fantastic. Nobody mentioned Geoff Downes from Asia. But it’s lovely to hear that Jon is on top of the list, no question.

  60. 60
    Stuart Robert Cuninghame says:

    I know John Lord was a great keyboard player, But what’s Jordan Rudess doing in 7th place?

  61. 61
    MacGregor says:

    What these ‘polls’ should really be is a ‘peoples favourite’ player poll. Because that is what they really are, a popularity vote, has anyone seen the bass player ‘poll’? Steve Harris 2nd & Cliff Burton 3rd, comical or what! Next is the ‘best guitar solo’ poll. I bet there are a few comical votes in that from some rabid ‘fans’ of certain artists! On a serious note, my ‘favourite’ guitar solos, David Gilmour owns half of the top 10. Blackmore will be in there & a few others! Does it mean anything other than my ‘favourite’ musical moments or artists, no it doesn’t, well only to me it does! Cheers.

  62. 62
    John Thirkell says:

    I’m sure there are thousands of keyboard players around the country with their heads in their hands on seeing this.

  63. 63
    George Martin says:

    I love the fact that Jon Lord won but for Don Airey to not make the list makes this poll a joke. John Paul Jones really? What a insult to Don.

  64. 64
    Drdp says:

    A lot of conjecture on who is not included in the list.
    The bottom line is they got the NUMBER ONE right.

  65. 65
    Ian Davies says:

    Yes John, but they probably play with more than one finger at a time!

  66. 66
    Tracy(Zero the Hero)Heyder says:

    The Uncommon Man deserves no less. Glad they got this poll right regarding the #1 spot. Would have been a hard pill to swallow had they not. Don Airey missing is appalling though. No other Keyboard player on the planet has been hired by as many stalwart big names as Don Airey. He has left his ivory mark on more albums and toured with more musicians than anybody out there. That didn’t happen by chance. It happened because of his prowess.


  67. 67
    Vicente Rojas says:

    Viva Jon Lord!. He´s the master of the masters. I think he´s the best keyboardist of all time and number 1 is for him. Long live Jon Lord.

  68. 68
    MacGregor says:

    Well the ‘greatest’ guitar solos are in & thankfully there are a few folk out there who recognise class when they hear it! Gilmour first, not surprising from the maestro! Slash (Guns ‘n Roses) 2nd, Ha Ha, my sides just split! Blackmore 3rd behind G & R??????? Ouch my sides just split even further! Metallica at 9th, sheeeesh the world of rock music is doomed indeed! Who are Alterbridge at 6???????
    I can relate to all the others though. Cheers.

  69. 69
    LRT says:

    I noticed Andrey’s post, haven’t read the others. I’m with the opinion that although someone can play the instrument well, doesn’t mean they’re a master of any sorts, @John Paul Jones – Talk about running out of names to put in a poll. Give me guys who play for Walter Trout over him, and a boat lad of others, any day! Metallica, oh dear… it cheapens Lord’s win all the way.

  70. 70
    Nickolai Pramoolvisitchaikul says:

    Others are the cream of crop.

    But John is the Maestro and influential

  71. 71
    George Fotsis says:

    Greg Rolie from the original Santana line up is very good to. One of the reason i enjoy listening to him , is because he sound’s a bit like Jon Lord in places. Jon sounded really good in that Last Concert in Japan / This Time Around album. When things were going down , he stepped up and played better.

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