Pianos have also been used prominently in rock and roll and rock music by entertainers such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Keith Emerson (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Elton John, Ben Folds, Billy Joel, Nicky Hopkins, and Tori Amos, to name a few. Modernist styles of music have also appealed to composers writing for the modern grand piano, including John Cage and Philip Glass.
"Baby Grand" is the fourth and final single released off Billy Joel's album The Bridge. A duet with Joel and Ray Charles, the song is a ballad dedicated to the baby grand piano, and the relationship it can share with its players. The two originally got together when Joel contacted Charles about the naming of his daughter, Alexa Ray, after Charles. Charles then suggested they create a song together.
"Piano Man" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel. His first single in North America, it was included on Joel's 1973 album of the same name and later released as a single on November 2, 1973. The song is sung from Joel's point-of-view as a piano player at a bar, reminiscing about his experiences there and the people he encountered. "Piano Man" is based on Joel's real-life experiences as a lounge musician in Los Angeles from 1972–73, which he had decided to pursue in an effort to escape his contracted New York-based record company at the time, Family Productions, following the poor commercial performance of the album Cold Spring Harbor. Joel describes various characters, including a bartender named John and a "real-estate novelist" named Paul, all based on real-life individuals.
Born and raised on Long Island, Pomeranz expressed interest in music from an early age, singing in the synagogue choir, learning to play the piano, guitar and drums, and writing and recording songs by the age of fourteen. From October 1968 to January 1969, he was lead singer for the Ohio-based rock band East Orange Express and when Pomeranz left the group, fellow member Dan Schear took over. When he was nineteen, MCA/Decca signed him to a contract that yielded two albums, New Blues and Time To Fly (the latter featuring Chick Corea), and he began touring the country as the opening act for Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Three Dog Night and The Doors, among others.
Tim Halperin was born on May 27, 1987 in Omaha, Nebraska. Exposed to artists such as the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and Billy Joel at a young age, he began taking piano lessons at the age of six. In middle school he began singing on the worship team at his local church, and soon started playing with bands and singing in choir at Westside High School in Omaha. He has stated he didn't write his first serious song until his sophomore year, and has cited Coldplay, The Fray, OneRepublic, Ben Folds, and Elton John as early musical influences.
In April 2009, Billy Joel, one of the group's board members, auctioned off an autographed Steinway piano to raise funds for the education component of the program. In September 2009 Justin Timberlake made a donation.
By the 1820s, the center of piano innovation had shifted to Paris, where the Pleyel firm manufactured pianos used by Frédéric Chopin and the Érard firm manufactured those used by Franz Liszt. In 1821, Sébastien Érard invented the double escapement action, which incorporated a repetition lever (also called the balancier) that permitted repeating a note even if the key had not yet risen to its maximum vertical position. This facilitated rapid playing of repeated notes, a musical device exploited by Liszt. When the invention became public, as revised by Henri Herz, the double escapement action gradually became standard in grand pianos, and is still incorporated into all grand pianos currently produced in the 2000s. Other improvements of the mechanism included the use of firm felt hammer coverings instead of layered leather or cotton. Felt, which was first introduced by Jean-Henri Pape in 1826, was a more consistent material, permitting wider dynamic ranges as hammer weights and string tension increased. The sostenuto pedal (see below), invented in 1844 by Jean-Louis Boisselot and copied by the Steinway firm in 1874, allowed a wider range of effects.