Top 10 pianos owned by celebrities

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By Ellie Palmer

05 February 2020

From Elvis Presley, to Alicia Keys, to... Robert Downey Jr. We take a look at some of the most beautiful pianos owned by celebrities. Some are music industry superstars, but others on this list will surprise you. Let's take a look.

1. Alicia Keys 

Yamaha CP70 Electric Grand

 © CBS News

This Yamaha CP70 lives in Alicia Keys’ private studio in New York City, but has also followed her on tour over the years. It displays the words “freedom and love” which glow up in the dark.

Keys also keeps a Yamaha C3 NEO in her studio.

Keys' Yamaha C3 NEO inside her studio. © CBS News

Back in 2010, she created her own sample library of the piano called Alicia's Keys. She recorded her entire album, The Element Of Freedom, using just this sample library. If you want to play like Alicia Keys, you can download the sample library here.

 

2. John Lennon

Upright Steinway Model Z piano

John Lennon and Yoko Ono. © The Telegraph

Beatles star John Lennon bought this Steinway piano back in 1970, and famously wrote the hit ‘Imagine’ on it. 20 years after his death, singer George Michael purchased the piano in 2000 for £1.7 million in order to restore it to 'where it should be' – on display at The Beatles museum in Liverpool.

"It's not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people,” George Michael commented.

Take a look at the world's top 5 most expensive pianos.

 

3. Kobe Bryant

'The Kobe Piano'

'The Kobe Piano'. © Bleacher Report

Have you ever seen a design like it?

'The Kobe Piano' was designed and made specifically for a commercial with Foot Locker. The shape of the piano, which is a very unique cross-like shape, is a mirror image of the late Kobe’s own personal brand logo.

Kobe Bryant was known for having a secret piano-playing talent. Just a few years ago, he produced a video of himself playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata which he had learnt as a gift for his wife.

Watch the commercial featuring 'The Kobe Piano' below.

 

4. Queen Elizabeth II

1856 S & P Erard Grand Piano

Queen Elizabeth's S & P Erard Grand Piano. © The Royal Collection Trust

This stunning piano was originally built for Queen Victoria during the 19th Century, but now resides at Buckingham Palace with the current Queen of England.

It was a revolutionary piano when it was first built. S & P Erard were at the cutting edge of piano design, and their pianos were played by many of the greatest pianists e.g. Liszt and Mendelssohn. The piano incorporated a recent invention by the piano manufacturer’s founder, Sébastien Erard, called the double escapement action. This allowed rapid repetition of a single key, a feature which paved the way for more virtuosic performances by solo performers.

Read our full feature on the stunning piano here. 

 

5. John Legend

Yamaha Grand Piano

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen's 2-year-old daughter Luna poses in front of the couple's Yamaha Grand Piano. © Instagram: @chrissyteigen

10-time Grammy Award winner John Legend is famed not just for his silky voice, but also for his just-as-silky piano playing. He began playing the piano at aged 7 and has accompanied himself on tour ever since. The model of this piano is unknown from the picture, but it sure does look inviting to play.

 

6. Kanye West & Kim Kardashian West

Steinway Grand Piano

© Marc Angeles/The Altman Brothers

They are the couple that seems to be able to buy anything they want, when they want.

Kim and Kanye treated themselves to a rare unbleached Steinway not too long ago.

Unbleached? What does that mean?

Part of the process of building a piano includes ‘finishing’ it off in order to acquire that sleek, smooth black look. Makers will generally use a sanding sealer and acrylic lacquer to create this look. Kim and Kanye’s Steinway has not been ‘finished’ off, hence giving it a very minimalist look.

The Hollywood couple enjoy an extremely minimalist living style. Their unbleached Steinway piano certainly matches with this.

 

7. Elvis Presley

1912 Knabe Grand Piano

Elvis Presley playing his Knabe Grand Piano at Gracelands. © Louder Sound

The King of Rock and Roll had not one but two very special pianos in his life. The first, a 1912 Knabe, was just $818 when he first bought it. It was installed in his music room at his home in Gracelands for 12 years from 1957. The piano also has a fascinating pre-Elvis story. In the 30s, 40s and 50s, the piano at Memphis’ Ellis Auditorium. The likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie will have played on the piano.

The second piano in Elvis’ life was a 1928 Kimball Grand.

© World Piano News

Elvis originally purchased the piano for his mother. Upon her death, the piano was put into storage. In 1968, Elvis’ wife Priscilla had the piano completely covered in gold-leaf and gifted it to Elvis as a first wedding anniversary gift. The piano now sits at the Hard Rock hotel in Tampa, Florida.

 

8. Taylor Swift

© Pinterest

We can’t quite figure out the model and make from this image, but it’s certainly a stunning, crisp-looking piano. This piano features in the country/pop singer-songwriter’s Nashville home. Taylor writes the majority of her songs on the piano.

 

9. Chris Martin

Yamaha GT20

© Capital FM

Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin is well known for his use of graffitied pianos when touring. Some piano purists may find the designs unnecessary, but others will be able to see the beauty in them.

Martin has done a lot of charity work throughout his career, and he often emblazons symbols of peace and love onto his pianos.

 

10. Robert Downey Jr

Yamaha

Robert Downey Jr. © Pinterest

Who knew that Robert Downey Jr, AKA Iron Man, once released an album of pop ballads?! The American actor’s one and only album, The Futurist, debuted at 121 on the Billboard 200 chart. Downey performed piano on the majority of the album, as well as vocals.

He stated in 2006 that he “probably will not do another album!”

 

 Main Image: © Louder Sound