Bands/Musicians The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History  

Ranker Music
4.6k votes 640 voters 14.7k 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
116 73
Jimmy Smith is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Jazz-funk, Hard bop, Jazz fusion

4
73 40
Herbie Hancock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Kozmigroov, Jazz-funk, Electro

5
131 86
Keith Emerson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Classic rock, Rock music, Classical music

6
110 71
Jon Lord is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
HerbertHöpfl added Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

7
66 36
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

8
103 69
Ray Manzarek is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Blues-rock, Rock music, Jazz fusion

9
91 60
Rick Wakeman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
MarySSpiegel added Christian music, Pop music, Rock music

10
77 54
Billy Preston is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

11
80 58
Joey DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Hard bop, Post-bop, Jazz

12
65 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
76 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
39 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
44 36
Gregg Allman is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Gospel music, Country

18
28 21
Joe Zawinul is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Romantic music, World music, Jazz fusion

19
46 40
Tony Banks is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Classical music, Pop rock

20
46 40
Rick DePiro is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Jazz, Country

21
25 20
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
31 27
Richard Wright is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
JayWalker1 added Electronic music, Experimental rock, Jazz

23
26 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
25 21
John DeFrancesco is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

25
27 24
Al Kooper is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rhythm and blues, Pop rock, Blues

26
24 21
Gregg Rolie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Rock and roll, Hard rock

27
69 69
Barbara Dennerlein is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History

28
36 34
Rod Argent is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Pop music, Rock music, Progressive rock

29
34 32
John Paul Jones is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blues-rock, Instrumental rock, Folk rock

30
49 49
Paul Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Contemporary; Jazz; Blues

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
29 28
Ken Hensley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Heavy metal, Pop rock

33
24 23
Keith Jarrett is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Avant-garde jazz, Classical music, Smooth jazz

34
21 20
Kerry Minnear is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Christian music

35
19 18
Don Airey is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Blues-rock, Rock music, Heavy metal

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
16 15
Hugh Banton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Hugh Banton Classical; Soul; Jazz; Blues

38
15 14
Danny Federici is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Smooth jazz, Jazz

39
24 24
George Gershwin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Opera, Musical theatre, Film score

40
23 23
Wild Bill Davis is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Country; Jazz; Blues

41
11 10
Philip Glass is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
AhmedYousef added Opera, Classical music, Contemporary classical music

42
29 30
Billy Joel is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock 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
11 11
Leon Russell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk music

47
10 10
Dr. John is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added New Orleans rhythm and blues, Rock music, Rhythm and blues

48
17 18
George Duke is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
slaft added Crossover jazz, Sophisti-pop, Smooth jazz

49
16 17
Rick van der Linden is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Lonerider added Rock music, Progressive rock

50
15 16
John Evan is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Organists in Rock and Jazz History
Rock music, Alternative rock, Progressive rock