Bands/Musicians The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History  

Ranker Music
4.5k votes 623 voters 14.5k 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.
list ordered by

1
132 42
Fats Waller is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Stride, Ragtime, Swing music

2
67 33
Count Basie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Swing music, Big band, Piano blues

3
72 39
Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Kozmigroov, Jazz-funk, Electro

4
114 73
Jimmy Smith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

5
65 35
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

6
127 85
Keith Emerson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Classic rock, Rock music, Classical music

7
106 70
Jon Lord is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
HerbertHöpfl added Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

8
90 59
Rick Wakeman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

9
99 68
Ray Manzarek is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion

10
79 57
Joey DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

11
74 54
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

12
63 45
Booker T. Jones is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Instrumental rock, Electric blues, Rhythm and blues

13
74 57
Steve Winwood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Rock music

14
38 24
Ray Charles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Soul blues, Pop music, Rock music

15
52 41
Brian Auger is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Jazz fusion

16
25 16
Jack McDuff is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
DaveMcCarthy added Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Rhythm and blues

17
46 39
Tony Banks is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Classical music, Pop rock

18
46 39
Rick DePiro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Jazz, Country

19
42 36
Gregg Allman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Gospel music, Country

20
27 21
Joe Zawinul is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Romantic music, World music, Jazz fusion

21
25 19
Jan Hammer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Synthpop, Pop music, Jazz fusion

22
34 31
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blues-rock, Instrumental rock, Folk rock

23
25 22
Garth Hudson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
mccotis added Americana, Pop music, Rock music

24
24 21
John DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

25
69 69
Barbara Dennerlein is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

26
35 33
Rod Argent is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Pop music, Rock music, Progressive rock

27
49 48
Paul Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Contemporary; Jazz; Blues

28
29 27
Richard Wright is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
JayWalker1 added Electronic music, Experimental rock, Jazz

29
26 24
Al Kooper is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rhythm and blues, Pop rock, Blues

30
23 21
Gregg Rolie is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Rock and roll, Hard rock

31
21 19
Tom Coster is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Rock en Español, Jazz fusion

32
24 23
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

33
21 20
Kerry Minnear is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Christian music

34
19 18
Don Airey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

35
29 29
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

36
18 17
Patrick Moraz is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Electronic music, Jazz fusion, Progressive rock

37
28 28
Ken Hensley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

38
16 15
Hugh Banton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Hugh Banton Classical; Soul; Jazz; Blues

39
15 14
Danny Federici is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

40
24 24
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Opera, Musical theatre, Film score

41
23 23
Wild Bill Davis is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Country; Jazz; Blues

42
11 10
Philip Glass is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
AhmedYousef added Opera, Classical music, Contemporary classical music

43
8 7
Sun Ra is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Andujar added Doo-wop, Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz

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

45
14 14
Dave Sinclair is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added

46
16 17
Rick van der Linden is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Lonerider added Rock music, Progressive rock

47
15 16
John Evan is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Alternative rock, Progressive rock

48
14 15
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slaft added John Evans

49
14 15
Felix Cavaliere is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blue-eyed soul, Rock music, Soft rock

50
6 6
Alice Coltrane is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Andujar added Kozmigroov, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz