Keyboards are essential in the music industry, mainly due to their versatility.
They provide musicians with a wide range of sounds, from traditional piano tones to synthesizers and electronic effects.
Pop, hip-hop, classic rock, reggae, country, metal, trap; you name it!
No matter in which music genre you indulge, a keyboard will always come in handy.
With their ability to replicate various instruments and produce innovative sounds, keyboards have become a cornerstone of modern music production, making them indispensable.
As a result, we believe it’s worth creating this list with some of the very best keyboard intros in music.
Has your favorite tune made it to the list? There’s only one way to find it out.
1. The Final Countdown – Europe
Its futuristic keyboard riff was created by singer Joey Tempest way before the group decided to record the song.
2. Mr. Crowley – Ozzy Osbourne
Aleister Crowley was an occultist, writer, and magician from the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
His works have been praised not only within the occultist and black magic circles but also among many musicians. Ozzy Osbourne could not be an exception.
The unnerving keyboard intro of Mr. Crowley fits the cryptic, bewildering mind of Aleister in a rather interesting way.
3. Jump – Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen (may he rest in peace) was not only a colossal guitarist but also a talented pianist.
Truth be told, Van Halen has many tunes which heavily rely on keyboards.
These include I’ll Wait, Love Walks In, One Foot Out The Door, and the immortal classic Jump.
4. Take On Me – A-Ha!
With more than a billion and a half views on Youtube only, Take On Me earns the crown as the greatest one-hit wonder, chosen by young and old people indifferently.
5. In The End – Linkin Park
It’s not always necessary for an intro to be hard to play or compose.
On the contrary, every song needs just the right amount of notes and the proper level of complexity according to the compositions’ needs.
In The End is Linkin Park’s ultimate classic, and its piano intro, though easy to learn, is heavily packed with emotions.
6. She’s A Rainbow – The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones released an enigmatic and psychedelic album called Their Satanic Majesties Request back in 1967.
It was a deviation from their Rock n’ Roll, Blues-oriented style; so much so that the record is generally more appreciated by hardcore fans, rather than regular listeners.
From that album, though, one single survived and became a classic: She’s A Rainbow, containing a highly touching and friendly keyboard intro.
7. Poker Face – Lady Gaga
This one’s Lady Gaga’s first single. Needless to say, it was an immediate success.
But Poker Face doesn’t stand out because of its keyboard intro only. The truth is, there’s memorability to spare when talking about Gaga’s catalog.
8. The Phantom of The Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber
A glorious musical adaptation required a glorious musical piece to set forth a tetric and passionate story.
Here’s an interesting fact about the intro: Roger Waters has claimed Andrew Lloyd Webber (the man behind the song’s composition) ripped a Pink Floyd song off.
The song is Echoes, and to be honest, the section Waters talked about sounds oddly similar. Listen to the comparison and decide for yourself.
9. Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold
Avenged Sevenfold released the album Nightmare in 2010.
It starts with an eerie, unearthly keyboard; as if foreshadowing a long trip down the darkest corners of the subconscious.
10. Sweet Dreams – The Eurythmics
11. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) – ABBA
Few bands were such a hitmaker machine as ABBA.
Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) contains a fabulous intro that even a quality artist like Madonna couldn’t help but copy/paste it to create yet another hit.
12. Perfect Strangers – Deep Purple
Jon Lord was the mastermind behind Deep Purple’s keyboard.
He has created out-of-this-world solos (check Burn, Highway Star, Pictures of Home, etc.) and space-like intros such as the one on Perfect Strangers.
13. Home Sweet Home – Mötley Crüe
Drummer Tommy Lee created this intro with a piano, and right after that, singer Vince Nail began humming over it. The rest is history…
Can we add a piano intro to a keyboard intro list?
Yeah, whatever. Why not!?
14. Never Let Me Down Again – Depeche Mode
Andrew Fletcher passed away recently, in May 2022.
He was the prime mover behind Depeche Mode’s godlike keyboard riffs.
Some examples that show his playing abilities include Just Can’t Get Enough, Enjoy The Silence, Policy of Truth, Strangelove, and Stripped.
Never Let Me Down Again is the song selected for this list, but let’s be fair, we should make an entire list dedicated to Fletcher and his unforgettable works of art.
15. Walk of Life – Dire Straits
Initially meant to be a B-side but, thank God, put in the album Brothers in Arms at the very last minute.
Walk of Life’s intro is so cheerful and buoyant that just had to be included in the list.
16. Light My Fire – The Doors
Some say that the human brain is not designed to focus on two tasks at the same time. Ray Manzarek proved the opposite.
While on The Doors, Manzarek took charge of both the keyboard and bass simultaneously.
Of course, Manzarek had no four arms. However, he played the bass notes on his keyboard set, teaching that it is not always a must to have a bassist in your band.
Wait a minute, who’s said anything about kicking him out?
Seriously, he has children to feed! Tell him you need him back!! #BassPlayersMatter
17. Tarot Woman – Rainbow
Rainbow’s Rising is a masterpiece of 70s rock music, period.
It opens with Tarot Woman, which contains a wild keyboard intro that even Sebastian Bach would have dreamt of composing.
No, not the Skid Row singer, I mean the classical composer…
18. Subdivisions – Rush
Geddy Lee plays keyboards, bass guitar, and is also in charge of lead vocals.
Believe it or not, he can switch from one instrument to the other in the blink of an eye.
19. Nemo – Nightwish
Nightwish has outstanding intros. If you don’t believe me, then you haven’t listened to The Kinslayer, Élan, or She Is My Sin.
Nemo, however, stands out not because of its complexity, but because of its simplicity.
Less is more.
20. Abacab – Genesis
There’s a division between progressive Genesis and pop Genesis.
But can we just all agree that Abacab contains a mesmerizing keyboard intro?
21. Head Over Heels – Tears For Fears
Head Over Heels is about a man getting obsessed with a girl.
Guys, remember not to get obsessed like that with women. Instead, get obsessed with music, and with keyboard parts like the one that opens this song.
Hello there, my name is Ramiro and I’ve been playing guitar for almost 20 years. I’m obsessed with everything gear-related and I thought it might be worth sharing it. From guitars, pedals, amps, and synths to studio gear and production tips, I hope you find what I post here useful, and I’ll try my best to keep it entertaining also.