Keyboards! Organs! Synthesizers! Pianos! Keytar! Yes, any and all of these keyed instruments (except those piano key neckties) fall under the purposeful umbrella of this list. While not as popular as the other instruments in the traditional rock / metal band setup, keyboard players have played an integral role in heavy music throughout the decades.

In the late '60 and throughout the '70s, it was standard for bands to employ a keyboardist as twin guitar attacks had not yet tightened their grip on rock and metal. The role of the instrument was multifaceted as they provided some rhythmic backbone under guitar solos, accented crucial moments of songs, drove melody, padded atmospheres with lush and full ambience and feverishly dueled guitars in epic solo battles.

Here, we take a look at some of the most influential musicians to sit behind the keys in roles many often take for granted. Some might not be the flashiest players, but it's not always about technical skill; it's about how these legends helped shape the sound of their respective band's music. However, we did weigh technical abilities in our rankings, but it wasn't the only deciding factor. Keyboardists tend to be incredibly diverse, which was also another major contributing factor when determining the best, alongside, of course, influence, innovation and body of work.

We've also reached a bit outside of the typical scope of bands seen on Loudwire, chiefly because it wouldn't be fair to exclude such undeniable, game-changing icons.

Now, scroll through the gallery at the top of the page to count down the Top 25 Rock + Metal Keyboardists of All Time!

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