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15 of the Most Iconic Piano Intros


If you weren’t one of the millions of people who purchased a new instrument in the last couple of years, you may hear a song kick in with some piano and wish you had the opportunity to learn the song and play along.

Luckily, stumbling upon products like the Donner DDP-80 digital piano has made it apparent that you can easily learn how to play the piano in the comfort of your own home. That’s why Discogs has surfaced 15 iconic piano intros of varying difficulty that may inspire you to tickle the ivories and discover new music.

Patti Smith Group – “Because The Night”

As soon as the piano of “Because The Night” kicks in, you begin to anticipate the passionate vocals and poetry of Patti Smith’s biggest hit. Co-writer Bruce Springsteen has also been known to play the song live, with over 500 performances cited online.

Pink Floyd – “The Great Gig In The Sky”

This is a classic piano intro from the most collected album on Discogs and one that leads up to an equally iconic vocal performance. Once the piano sets the mood, guest vocalist Clare Torry belts out improvised vocals that will leave you speechless.

The Damned – “Melody Lee”

On their third album, Machine Gun Etiquette, The Damned blazed new trails by incorporating an array of eclectic influences. The piano intro for “Melody Lee” still stands as one of the most memorable moments in all of punk.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Into My Arms”

“Into My Arms” is one of Nick Cave’s most beloved piano ballads and its influence has extended far beyond the Bad Seeds’ core audience. The heart-wrenching video for the song has been viewed over 25 million times and many fans have found comfort in it as they remember those they’ve lost.

Tom Waits – “Tom Traubert’s Blues (Four Sheets to the Wind in Copenhagen)”

As soon as the piano and strings kick in, you are immersed in tragic beauty. “Tom Traubert’s Blues” is one of Tom Waits’ signature songs that was later covered by Rod Stewart.

Bruce Hornsby And The Range – “The Way It Is”

Once you listen to this song, it’s almost impossible to get the intro out of your head. You may also get Tupac’s “Changes” stuck in your head, as it heavily samples pieces from “The Way It Is”.

Philip Glass – “Helen’s Theme”

It’s hard to think about piano and not think about Philip Glass. Glass has composed dozens of operas, symphonies, and film scores, but “Helen’s Theme” from the Candyman soundtrack remains one of his most hauntingly beautiful works and a perfect example of how he uses minimalism to great effect.

Megan Thee Stallion –  “Megan’s Piano”

The title says it all — Megan Thee Stallion herself plays piano during the song’s intro. “Megan’s Piano” has quickly become a fan favorite with millions of people streaming the song online.

David Bowie – “Time”

The opening piano piece sounds like something you’d hear in a dimly lit cabaret bar. Performed by Mike Garson (Bowie’s longest-serving band member), the intro sets the tone for this timeless Aladdin Sane classic.

Poison Idea – “Plastic Bomb”

Feel The Darkness was a landmark release for Poison Idea. Opening the album with the piano heard in “Plastic Bomb” proved that the band could expand upon their sonic palette without losing an ounce of power.

The Rolling Stones – “She’s A Rainbow”

The incomparable Nicky Hopkins laid down the piano for many of the Rolling Stones’ most enduring hits, including “She’s A Rainbow.” Often cited as one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever written, it’s the piano work of Hopkins that really elevates the song and makes it such a unique entry in the Stones’ vast catalog.

Theodore Shapiro – “Main Titles” (Severance: Season 1)

Severance quickly became a phenomenon with its retro-future aesthetic and a score that complements the mystery and tension building in every episode. The piano-centric music heard during the main titles has reminded some people of “Amy’s Theme” from The Conversation, a film that touches on some similar themes.

Black Sabbath – “Changes”

The first time you hear “Changes” you may think that there’s been a bit of a mix-up. The simple but effective piano at the beginning of the song made for a one-of-a-kind Black Sabbath song and eventually led to an incredible cover version performed by Charles Bradley.

Big Star – “Holocaust”

“Holocaust” is one of the most devastating songs Alex Chilton ever wrote and the piano is a contributing factor. In 1984, This Mortal Coil (with the vocal stylings of Howard Devoto) released a cover version of the song and, once again, the piano helps create an atmosphere of utter despair.

Nina Simone – “Four Women”

“Four Women” is one of Nina Simone’s most impactful compositions. The piano, acoustic bass, and sparse percussion create the ideal backdrop for Simone’s powerful voice and lyrics.

Feeling inspired to take the plunge? The demo video below is a quick way to get acquainted with the Donner DDP-80 digital piano. Designed with aspiring pianists in mind, the modern wood color finish, easy assembly, built-in 20-watt speakers, and 88-key weighted keyboard provide you with the sound of an acoustic grand piano in a compact design. The hardest part now is picking which song to learn first.