The Music Hall of Fame is full of prestigious, hardworking, and talented musicians. Each has taken their chosen instrument and mastered it. By inducting these musicians, the world is acknowledging their contributions to the world. Here are three great men who have been recognized for their contributions on the piano, all in different categories.
Johnnie Johnson: Rock and Roll
Piano has a solid part in rock and roll’s boogie-style and rockin’ rhythms. Johnnie Johnson was one of the musicians who has been inducted into the Music Hall of Fame under this genre. In 2001, he won the recognition, but not without putting up a fight for a new category for sidemen. This category was so fitting because he helped other famous artists to perfect their sounds, most notably, Chuck Berry.
He was referred to as the “baddest right hand in the land” because of his ability to rollick on the keyboard and get a crowd really going.
History of Musical Style and Learning
When asked where he learned about music, he explained that his musical timing was learned by listening to trains near his home. He was born in 1924 in West Virginia to parents who were big fans of the blues and would join them as they listened to the late-night program called “Dawn Patrol”, which was a big-band program.
He drew a lot of inspiration from the famous musicians he heard there, along with those he was fortunate to work with as he learned the piano.
The song, “Johnny B. Goode” is said to be named after Johnnie and his inability to control his finances and show up on time to performances. The song became so popular, NASA played it into space as a time capsule for humans.
He was credited on many other songs, including “Maybellene”, “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Back in the U.S.A.”, and possibly up to 57 songs noted in his lawsuit against Berry in 2000. He lost because of how long it had been since, but he made incredible waves as one of the greats in rock and roll on the piano.
Ronnie Kole: Jazz Pianist
Inducted in 2012, Ronnie Kole has already been considered a musical legend. With a good following in the United States, Europe, and Asia, he hails from Chicago.
As a child, Kole was enrolled in a school for handicapped children because of some heart trouble. Celebrities made a point to come by to visit and encourage the students there, inspiring him to continue in the piano. From there, he gained a lot of attention as a protégé of Al Hirt and even appeared on the Johnny Carson Show.
After spending some time in Las Vegas, he made a name for himself in New Orleans.
Kole is the fifth inductee into the New Orleans Musical Legends Park and has a life-size bronze statue there. He has received the Mahalia Jackson Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2012 was inducted into the Louisianna Music Hall of Fame.
Andre Watts: Classical Music
Andre Watts is a master pianist who focuses most of his work with orchestras, symphonies, and philharmonic groups. He was born in 1946 and was born with classical music in his soul. He specializes in some of the great composers, including Liszt, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and more.
Early Career Achievements
Andre Watts has been wowing audiences since the age of 16 when he debuted with the New York Philharmonic, which was broadcast nationwide. Leonard Bernstein, who had chosen him for the performance, asked him just two weeks later to fill in with the group again when their pianist was unable to perform for ailing health.
Throughout his life, he has made appearances all over the world. At only 26 years of age, he was the youngest person ever to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Yale University.
Watts was inducted into the Classical Walk of Fame in 2013. He has received many awards and honors throughout his career from prestigious organizations and Universities, including the Hollywood Bowl of Fame, The Julliard School of Music, the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, and the Avery Fisher Prize.
In May 2004, Watts was appointed the endowed chair at Indiana University.