15 Great Pop Songs for Piano: Classics, Modern Hits and More

From Elvis Presley to Billie Eilish, we cover the best pop songs to learn on piano for all levels of player, whether you're a beginner or pro.

Last updated on 2 Aug. 2023

Many pianists begin their journey with the sounds of classical composers like Mozart and Beethoven, but eventually move on to more contemporary songs—either the ones they love or simply the ones they can't get out of their heads. 

Whether your heart lies with classics from the '70s and '80s or modern hits from stars like Billie Eilish, learning pop songs is a deeply enriching—and enjoyable—experience. There's something magical about learning to play the songs that have been part of your life for years, translating a lifetime of listening into a new way to enjoy music.

Hundreds of music's best-loved pop songs are available to learn through flowkey. To help you get started, we've rounded up fifteen of our favorites, stretching from the '60s to today. There's something for every level of pianist, from the freshest beginner to the most seasoned pro.

1. Elvis Presley – Can't Help Falling in Love (1961)

The famous love song and modern wedding favorite

Does piano music get dreamier than this timeless love song from the King of Rock and Roll? The melody for this classic goes all the way back to the 1700s, when the French composer Jean-Paul-Égide Martini wrote what has become one of the world's most enduring love songs, "Plaisir d'amour."

This song is a staple for the first dance at weddings, which is why we have three versions of it available to learn through flowkey: one for weddings, a version with the melody, and a version without the melody specifically arranged for sing-alongs or other instrumental accompaniments. Whichever you choose, the sparks of romance should fly.

2. The Beatles – Yesterday (1965)

The UK superstars' song about the past that still touches hearts today 

A list of pop classics wouldn't be complete without a song from The Beatles. We could've chosen any of the eight Beatles songs available to learn on flowkey for this article, but something about the melancholy melody of "Yesterday" gives us goosebumps—probably the same thing that makes it the most covered song of all time (according to This Day In Music).

Even if you're not going through a breakup, it's the perfect tune for a quiet night indoors, alone with the piano—and your feelings—maybe with a bit of mood lighting, too. We have four arrangements for this song on flowkey, making it an excellent and accessible choice for players of all levels, from beginner to pro.

3. David Bowie – Space Oddity (1969)

A trip into space with one of pop's most influential musicians

David Bowie was just twenty-two years old when he released this 1969 hit, which was immediately recognized at the time as one of the most musically complex songs in an already impressive catalog. Music-industry heads used words like otherworldly to describe its sound—a mood we believe we've captured in our pro-level adaptation of the song that's available to learn with flowkey.

This is definitely a song for more advanced players, with chords that will have your fingers stretching into spaces they rarely need to go. It's such an involved, emotionally moving song, you'll feel it in your whole body. There's that saying about us all being made out of stardust, and you can definitely feel that possibility when you're floating along on this song's epic melodies.

4. John Lennon – Imagine (1971)

A dreamy utopian tune that's hugely popular with piano learners

"Imagine" is among our users' favorite songs to learn, and it's easy to see why. Almost every player can feel the uplifting message of peace from the first few notes of the serene melody, which Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, wrote to accompany lyrics they called a "positive prayer." 

The piano version retains that sense of hope, which manages to communicate the feeling that, despite everything wrong with the world, we can make things better—with music.

5. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)

An introspective song about pursuing a dream sure to spark strong emotions 

Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks wrote "Landslide" while working double shifts as a waitress and cleaning lady. The 1975 hit has since become known as one of the greatest songs of all time, crowned as such by numerous big-name music magazines around the world. 

It's also one of our favorite piano covers available to learn on flowkey. The original version is plucked on acoustic guitar, but the melancholy melody feels wonderfully suited to the piano's resonant tones. This one is for advanced players, but even if you're not quite at that level, playing just the right- or left-hand section individually will still give you a beautiful sound and a nice entrypoint into the song.

6. Bee Gees – Stayin' Alive (1977)

The disco sound of the '70s that gets feet moving

No song screams "The '70s" louder than "Stayin' Alive" by the British-Australian trio the Bee Gees. Its catchy, unmistakable melody is usually enough to put a smile on the face of everyone who hears it—especially if you're the one bashing it out on the piano. 

There are versions in four skill levels available to learn through flowkey. From beginner to pro, each starts with that classic feel-good melody, which is bound to hook everyone within earshot. The busy middle section may require plenty of practice for newcomers, but once you have it down, there's a good chance "Stayin' Alive" will become one of your favorite songs to play.

7. The Police – Every Breath You Take (1983)

Wistful, broken chords and misunderstood lyrics

The broken chord accompaniment in Sting's 1983 megahit is iconic enough on its own, but the way it combines with a relatively simple melody turns "Every Breath You Take" into something truly special. Throughout the introduction and verses, each chord is an added ninth—played as broken chords. This takes a progression that might otherwise sound ordinary and gives it a wistful, yearning edge that fits what have been called the world's most misinterpreted lyrics. 

All those ninth chords make the piano cover suitable for more advanced pianists, but even less experienced players can enjoy playing either the left- or right-hand part of the song on its own.

8. Alphaville – Forever Young (1984)

Pillowy chords and a serene melody balanced by a melancholic reflection on life

The Australian band Youth Group helped bring "Forever Young" to a new audience with their 2005 cover, but we prefer the 1984 original by Alphaville. On the surface, the lyrics seem to celebrate the virtues of youth, but this Cold War-era classic actually has a different meaning entirely: the threat of nuclear annihilation.

That might sound dark, but the combination of this song's pillowy chords and serene melody is striking. For newcomers, it's a great way to get used to playing with both hands at once. For everyone else, even without the original's lyrics, squelchy synths, and drum machines, the piano version of "Forever Young" is something wonderful. Whether you reach for the beginner or intermediate version, you can't go wrong.

9.  Metallica – Nothing Else Matters (1992)

A moody metal classic that feels made for piano

We might anger a few metalheads by including Metallica in a roundup of pop songs, but don't just take from us—others think it, too. "Metallica are a heavy-sounding band, but they write pop songs," said Dave Gahan of the legendary Depeche Mode.  

Now that's settled, let's focus on what makes "Nothing Else Matters" one of the essential pop songs for piano. In both the intermediate and advanced versions available to learn with flowkey, the moody chords and melody have a subtle, hypnotizing charm—the kind of sounds that get listeners leaning closer to take in their full beauty. Who knew a piano cover of such a heavy, intense song could sound so gorgeous? (We did!)

10. Oasis – Wonderwall (1995)

A sing-along that's almost impossible to resist

This song helped define the Britpop movement of the '90s, and it's still belted out anytime a crowd just wants to sing something. Because everybody knows the words. 

The piano version manages to capture the same epic, swirling sense of emotion in the famed original, especially through the gorgeous middle section. Due to the mixture between chords and melody, the flowkey version is best suited to advanced players. The big question: what is a Wonderwall? Noel Gallagher has never answered this, but said it's a "song about an imaginary friend who's gonna come and save you from yourself."

11. No Doubt – Don't Speak (1995)

A song that captures both the tragic and magic sides of love

Like many pop hits, the version of "Don't Speak" we all know is nothing like its original iteration. First penned as a love song by frontwoman Gwen Stefani's brother, its lyrics evolved into a breakup song when Stefani and her bandmate (and then-boyfriend) Tony Kanal ended their seven-year relationship.

In a catalog full of hits, it remains one of Gwen Stefani's most famous songs and is available to learn in four levels on flowkey, meaning you'll be able to play it whether you're a beginner or a pro. Each version shares that dreamy, spacelike quality that can give the listener—or pianist—goosebumps in the right setting. The slow build from the song's opening moments to the busier middle section can be tricky to perfect, but the payoff is magical.

12. Robbie Williams – Angels (1997)

A school-dance classic that sounds great on piano

We've come to our first monster hit of the '90s, Robbie Williams' "Angels." A school-disco classic in the UK and Australia but virtually unknown in the US, it's another piano power ballad perfect for sing-alongs—and a pure declaration of love that millions of adults around the world can sing word-for-word.

By learning through flowkey, newer piano players can practice the soaring melody in our beginner version before moving onto the more complex advanced arrangement. But regardless of which you choose, both versions are beautiful.

13. Gary Jules – Mad World (2001)

A slow, moody stroll into the subconscious

Fans of this moody song still argue over which version is better: the synth-poppy 1982 original by Tears for Fears, or the slower piano cover released by Gary Jules in 2001, famously included in the soundtrack for the sci-fi thriller Donnie Darko. Like that film, both versions of "Mad World" have become cult classics, with millions of die-hard fans around the world.

At flowkey, we love both versions, but something about Jules's slower, more contemplative sound truly resonates—especially on piano. With two arrangements available to learn, including one for beginners, we're sure you'll enjoy it just as much as we do.

14. Maroon 5 – This Love (2004)

A spicy breakup song

This pop-rock megahit has one of the catchiest choruses ever written, with a hint of jazz influence. That feel-good sound belies what is otherwise a fairly gloomy breakup song, with a singer haunted by the memory of his long-gone ex-girlfriend.

In addition to spilling the beans on what sounds like a toxic relationship, "This Love" is one of the rare pop hits to feature diminished chords, which are used by composers to build tension within a chord progression. Whether you understand the theory or not, there's one thing we can all agree on: "This Love" is a great pop song, and one of our list's funnest songs to play.

15.  Billie Eilish – Everything I Wanted (2019)

Simple chords and soft melodies

This modern classic from Billie Eilish brings us right up to the end of our sixty-year journey through pop. Among all the modern pop songs on flowkey we could've wrapped things up with, we've chosen "Everything I Wanted" because although it's modern, it feels timeless. With simple chords and soft melodies floating over a deep emotional undercurrent, it's pop music at its best.

Like the original, our piano cover is especially soothing and minimal, built around simple chords and soft melodies. And the lyrics, perfect for a solo sing-along, are about being there for somebody—in Eilish's case, it's Finneas, her brother and cowriter. What starts sad and contemplative builds into something more upbeat and hopeful. If you're looking to play a song that will take you through a whole range of emotions, this is an excellent choice.

Learn piano with flowkey

Whether you're a beginner or advanced player, we hope you found something new in this list. Naturally, everything is available to learn through flowkey—almost always for a range of levels, from beginner to professional. And with features like Wait Mode and Loop, flowkey can support you in learning at a pace and level that feel good for you. Happy playing!

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