Well, well, well. I’ve come to realise that it’s Piano Day today, the third such international celebration of the beloved black and white keys that takes place, appropriately, on the 88th day of the year. So, Happy Piano Day to everyone reading this. I seem to have missed the first two so we have some making up to do.
Aside from the obvious piano-in-popular-music classics that everyone knows and many have copied (John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ springs to mind, as does Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’), and not lingering too long over the impressive back catalogues of Elton John and Billy Joel, nor indeed Coldplay’s earlier and infinitely gloomier (read: better?) material, the image I have in mind is of Neil Young in 1971, seated at the upright piano, harmonica around his neck, performing songs from what would soon become his Harvest album.
Of course, we remember with fondness and the deepest respect always the greatly-missed Richard Wright and Michael Kamen; the latter’s collaboration with David and Pink Floyd, as conductor and arranger as well as musician – on The Wall, The Final Cut, The Division Bell and David’s second solo album, About Face – so familiar to us all. (I think Piano Day provides another wonderful excuse to reach for the David Gilmour In Concert DVD, as if you really needed one, to enjoy these two tinkling the ivories so beautifully.)
Here are a few of my favourites, anyway. Which are yours? There must be hundreds.
– The Beatles, ‘Lady Madonna’
– The Boomtown Rats, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’
– Dave Davies, ‘Death of a Clown’
– The Doors, ‘Love Her Madly’
– Eagles, ‘Desperado’
– Jethro Tull, ‘Locomotive Breath’
– Joni Mitchell, ‘River’
– REM, ‘Nightswimming’
– Rolling Stones, ‘She’s a Rainbow’
– U2, ‘New Year’s Day’