Instrumental versatility is something that set the Beatles apart from many of their contemporaries and other guitar-centric bands. Their native musicianship and piano prowess, the classical piano influences of their producer George Martin (who performed the solos on Lovely Rita and used VariSpeed for In My Life), as well as their excellent decision to collaborate with soulful organ and keyboard prodigy Billy Preston all contributed to many catchy piano-based riffs and interesting keyboard textures that I love to hear and play.
Here’s my mini-medley performance of notable piano and keyboard introductions of some classic choons.
Further Reading and Listening:
- Deep Red Magazine: 50 Years Ago The Beatles Opened The Door
- Jazz Wax interviews Sir George Martin (contains lovely archival photos of Martin in the studio alongside now-vintage equipment and then-young Beatles and other British stars).
- More about VariSpeed — Beatles Production Tricks
- Synthtopia: Paul McCartney Explains the Mellotron
Finally, here’s a lovely studio session video of Let It Be from 1970 (Billy Preston on organ). Look, bassist Paul is actually playing a different instrument, the piano, WHILE singing! (That’s sarcasm… there are so many one-trick ponies abound nowadays!)