Bands/Musicians The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History  

Ranker Music
4.4k votes 607 voters 14.3k views 106 items

Similar to the harpsichord and piano, but more grand and beautiful, the organ can create a louder, richer sound with a deep bass. The sound that comes out of an organ is often projected through large, steel pipes, especially in a setting that requires the sound to project through an entire room, such as in a symphony hall or large cathedral. The organ is also trickier to master than similar instruments. Who are the greatest organists of all time?

The musicians listed here are known for being the absolute best, and have received a place of prominence in the world of music because of their incredible talent on the organ. This list has been ranked by the community's votes to determine the absolute best organists of all time, living or dead, from all periods of music history.

This list includes top organists like Tori Amos, Steve Winwood, John Paul Jones, and Mike Oldfield. Vote up the best organists in history below or add an organ player you think is great if he or she isn't already on the list.

1
130 37
Fats Waller is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Fats Waller Stride, Ragtime, Swing music

2
67 29
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Count Basie Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

3
72 35
Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Herbie Hancock Kozmigroov, Jazz-funk, Electro

4
65 31
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Chick Corea Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

5
113 70
Jimmy Smith is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Jimmy Smith Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

6
122 83
Keith Emerson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Keith Emerson Classic rock, Rock music, Classical music

7
103 68
Jon Lord is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
HerbertHöpfl added Jon Lord Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

8
86 58
Rick Wakeman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Rick Wakeman Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

9
95 66
Ray Manzarek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Ray Manzarek Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion

10
78 54
Joey DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Joey DeFrancesco Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

11
74 51
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Billy Preston Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

12
63 43
Booker T. Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Booker T. Jones Instrumental rock, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

13
37 21
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Ray Charles Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

14
71 55
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Steve Winwood Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

15
25 13
Jack McDuff is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
DaveMcCarthy added Jack McDuff Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Rhythm and blues

16
51 38
Brian Auger is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Brian Auger Jazz fusion

17
46 35
Tony Banks is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Tony Banks Rock music, Classical music, Pop rock

18
27 17
Joe Zawinul is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Joe Zawinul Romantic music, World music, Jazz fusion

19
46 36
Rick DePiro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rick DePiro Rock music, Jazz, Country

20
25 17
Garth Hudson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
mccotis added Garth Hudson Americana, Pop music, Rock music

21
35 28
Rod Argent is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rod Argent Pop music, Rock music, Progressive rock

22
49 43
Paul Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Paul Shaffer Contemporary; Jazz; Blues

23
40 34
Gregg Allman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Gregg Allman Rock music, Gospel music, Country

24
68 64
Barbara Dennerlein is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

25
23 18
John DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

26
32 28
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
John Paul Jones Blues-rock, Instrumental rock, Folk rock

27
26 22
Al Kooper is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Al Kooper Rhythm and blues, Pop rock, Blues

28
22 18
Jan Hammer is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Jan Hammer Synthpop, Pop music, Jazz fusion

29
28 25
Richard Wright is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
JayWalker1 added Richard Wright Electronic music, Experimental rock, Jazz

30
21 18
Tom Coster is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Tom Coster Rock music, Rock en Español, Jazz fusion

31
24 22
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Keith Jarrett Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

32
22 20
Gregg Rolie is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Gregg Rolie Rock and roll, Hard rock

33
19 17
Don Airey is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Don Airey Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

34
16 14
Hugh Banton is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Hugh Banton Classical; Soul; Jazz; Blues

35
28 27
Ken Hensley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Ken Hensley Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

36
15 13
Danny Federici is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Danny Federici Rock music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

37
24 23
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
George Gershwin Opera, Musical theatre, Film score

38
11 9
Philip Glass is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
AhmedYousef added Philip Glass Opera, Classical music, Contemporary classical music

39
23 22
Wild Bill Davis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Wild Bill Davis Country; Jazz; Blues

40
20 19
Kerry Minnear is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Kerry Minnear Christian music

41
8 6
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Andujar added Sun Ra Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

42
17 16
Patrick Moraz is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Patrick Moraz Electronic music, Jazz fusion, Progressive rock

43
28 28
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Billy Joel Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

44
15 14
Steve Walsh is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Steve Walsh Rock music, Progressive rock, Hard rock

45
16 16
Rick van der Linden is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Lonerider added Rick van der Linden Rock music, Progressive rock

46
6 5
Alice Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Andujar added Alice Coltrane Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz

47
15 15
John Evan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
John Evan Rock music, Alternative rock, Progressive rock

48
14 14
Ranker Video
slaft added John Evans

49
14 14
Felix Cavaliere is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Felix Cavaliere Blue-eyed soul, Rock music, Soft rock

50
5 4
Larry Young is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Andujar added Larry Young Kozmigroov, Jazz-funk, Hard bop