September has been named “National Piano Month.” You may not realize just how much the piano has influenced country music over the years. In fact, it goes back to Floyd Cramer in the 1950s.
The first version of the piano was said to be developed in the early 1700s. But it went through many changes throughout the years until it reached the level it is today! As we all know, you can’t go to church and sing hymns without a good piano player. Also, a lot of country singers got their start by singing in the church. Many were influenced by the piano and gospel music.
Country Music And The Piano
In the 1950s, Country and Western Music started blending with country music of the day. This became known as “Rockabilly.” It wasn’t long before the use of piano started to make an impact. Soon came artists like Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Ray Charles.
Although country music is known for guitars, fiddles, and pedal steel guitars, the piano has played a big part as well. In 1960, Floyd Cramer took a piano country instrumental titled “Last Dance” to #2 on the Country Music and Pop Chart. Over a million copies we sold of the single.
Soon, the Rockabilly sound turned to more of “The Nashville Sound.” This sound was a little more pop and softer. Along with “The Bakersfield Sound” Of California, a harder more traditional sound, country and the use of piano were becoming more mainstream. Artists like Floyd Cramer played piano on Merle Haggard’s songs.
From the 70s to today, the piano still plays a very big part in country music. The ’70s and ’80s say artists like Mickey Gilley, Ronnie Milsap, Gary Stewart, and even Luke Bryan showcase the use of it in country music.
Some Of The Biggest Names In Country Music To Play Piano On Stage and on Records
The list is a long one from artists like Ray Charles, Ronnie Milsap, Jessie Colter, Ray Stevens, John Denver, Charlie Rich, Hank Jr, Kenny Rogers, Phil Vassar, Richie McDonald Of Lonestar, Jay Demarcus of Rascal Flatts, Chris Janson, Taylor Swift, and Luke Bryan.
For more fun country music facts, check out the Country Music Facts of the Day!