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15 Musical Children of Famous Musicians

Home > Everywhere > Lists | Music | Performing Arts | Vintage and Retro
by Steven G (subscribe)
Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published August 1st 2020
When the apple does not fall far from the tree
When I studied psychology many, many years ago, the biggest debate was nature versus nurture. Is the way we turn out a product of our genes or our environment? The results are still up in the air, but whichever way it works, there seems to be a number of musicians whose children have followed them into the business with a degree of success.


So that brings us to this list. These are all musicians who have followed in the footsteps of famous parents to enter the music business and do so very well. This list could have been very long indeed; a look at the songs recorded at home during the lockdown shows how many incredibly talented offspring of musicians are out there. So, what I have done is limit this list to artists who have achieved a charting single or album (one exception in this list is one of the parents, but… well, you'll see). This certainly helped me keep this list down to a more manageable number.

So, two rules:
1) I have to like music by both parent and child.
2) Both parent and child charting in Australia, USA or UK.
That's all. And, for the record, all the songs here (or songs by the artists in question, as some songs are just not available on YouTube) are songs I own and listen to. Make of that what you will.

The order is random. Sorry.


1) David Campbell, son of Jimmy Barnes
Jimmy Barnes is the lead singer of Cold Chisel and a successful solo artiste; David Campbell started life as a stage musician (his turn as Johnny O'Keefe was brilliant), but has also recorded some albums. His standards album was not well received, but he has recorded some decent songs in his time. He also appears as a TV host. Probably unknown outside Australia, this father-son team have also recorded some stuff together.
Jimmy Barnes – 'Working Class Man' (1985)

David Campbell – 'Hope' (2003)



Wilson Phillips
2) Chynna Phillips, daughter of John & Michelle Phillips (The Mamas And The Papas)
3) Carnie Wilson, daughter of Brian Wilson
4) Wendy Wilson, daughter of Brian Wilson

The Mamas And The Papas were a wonderful group from the sixties with harmonies that soared. Brian Wilson was the leader of the Beach Boys and also released some acclaimed solo stuff. Wilson Phillips saw three of the daughters, who had grown up together, coming out and releasing some fantastic music of their own. They are still releasing albums; the last album of theirs I heard was one called California, which was quite good. The voices of the three ladies are so, so wonderful. Just like the parents mentioned above.
The Mamas And The Papas – 'California Dreamin'' (1965)
(written by John & Michelle)

Brian Wilson – 'Love And Mercy' (1988)

Wilson Phillips – 'Hold On' (1990)



5) The Wallflowers
Jakob Dylan, son of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is the Nobel Laureate who is still releasing great music. The Wallflowers have been releasing albums since the 1990s. While Bob has been the sort of musical bower-bird he is, yet still releasing music that harkens back to the 1960s in tone and attitude, Jakob's band has gone the rock route. They might only have had the one huge hit, but they are still releasing some great music. Oh, and, yes, Jakob has a better singing voice than his father.
Bob Dylan – 'Tangled Up In Blue' (1975)

The Wallflowers – 'One Headlight' (1997)



6) Julian Lennon, son of John Lennon
John Lennon was in a band you might have heard of – The Beatles. He went on to release some great solo stuff as well. Julian Lennon is his son from his first marriage, the person to whom 'Hey Jude' is directed, and he has released some really good music of his own. He had some wonderful singles, and some really good albums, but he was judged too harshly in comparison to his father, I feel. Julian is a very good singer and a really good song-writer; the comparisons are unfair.
John Lennon – 'Imagine' (1971)

Julian Lennon – 'Saltwater' (1991)



7) Norah Jones, daughter of Ravi Shankar
Ravi Shankar is the only non-charting performer here, but, seriously, the guy introduced the sitar into the popular culture, taught George Harrison the instrument, appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh and is just an amazing instrumentalist and deserves to be here. Norah Jones is one of the best jazz singers in the world today. Simple. She has been releasing music since the early 2000s and her voice is as beautiful as any I have heard.
Ravi Shankar – Monterey Pop Festival Performance (1967)

Norah Jones – 'Come Away With Me' (2002)



8) Ziggy Marley, son of Bob Marley
Bob Marley was the man who brought reggae to the world, still one of the most revered names in that form of music. Ziggy Marley followed in his father's footsteps, adding a bit of fun to the recordings. I have mentioned in the past that I am not the biggest fan of reggae, but I do enjoy some Bob Marley stuff, and Ziggy has become one of the best modern protest musicians in the Americas today. I reckon his father would have been incredibly proud of his political stance.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – 'Buffalo Soldier (1978; released 1983)

Ziggy Marley – 'See Dem Fake Leaders' (2018)



9) Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr was the drummer in that quaint English band The Beatles, and has released a number of solo works as well. Zak Starkey is one of the most sought after session drummers around, and has drummed live and on record for some of the best bands in the business, including on Daltrey's Under A Raging Moon and The Who's Who. Yes, Zak Starkey appears on a number of albums I really enjoy.
Artists United Against Apartheid – 'Sun City' (1985)
(Starr and Starkey are the two drummers on the track; seen about 4:50 in)



10) Liam Finn, son of Neil Finn
Neil Finn started in Split Enz, went on to form Crowded House, and is currently playing with Fleetwood Mac. Liam is his equally talented son. They have even recorded a great album together – Light Sleeper. They both have wonderful voices, and are accomplished musicians. Along with Neil's brother Tim, the family seems to be disposed to making music.
Split Enz – 'History Never Repeats' (1981)

Liam Finn – 'Jump Your Bones' (2011)



11) Pearl, daughter of Meat Loaf
Meat Loaf is a singer of some renown, still recording music to this day. Pearl released some of the best songs of 2010 and rocks as hard as her father… and can sing as beautifully as any. I am something of a Meat Loaf completist (I think I now own all his studio albums), and think Pearl is vastly under-rated and should be held in more popular regard.
Meat Loaf & Marion Raven – 'It's All Coming Back To Me Now' (2006)

Pearl Aday & Jim Wilson – 'Love Hurts' (2013)



12) Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was a crooner who was one of the first musicians to appeal directly to teenagers. Nancy Sinatra was the sultry, sexy singer who came to prominence in the 1960s with the incredible Boots album (which I own, inheriting the LP from my father). While I like some of Frank's work, a lot leaves me a little flat. And yet he has released one of my favourite songs ever (see below). Nancy's album, on the other hand, was one I listened to a lot as a kid. Her voice just hooked me so completely, and the album features a Beatles cover and a song about shoes.
Frank Sinatra – 'My Way' (1969)

Nancy Sinatra – 'It Ain't Me, Babe' (1966)



13) Jason Bonham, son of John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
John Bonham drummed for a blues band called Led Zeppelin before his untimely passing. Jason Bonham has drummed, like Zak Starkey, for everyone, as well as forming his own bands and being the drummer for Sammy Hagar And The Circle. Who is the better drummer of the two? I would hate to choose. They are so wonderfully talented behind the kit and I would take either of them.
Led Zeppelin – 'Moby Dick' (1969)
(This is basically a 15 minute drum solo… be warned. And to show why I can't choose between them, here's a virtual duet of Jason and John doing the same solo years later)

The Circle – 'Keep A-Knockin'[I]' (2020)
(lockdown session Little Richard cover)



14) Tal Bachman, son of Randy Bachman
Randy started in The Guess Who, went on to Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and then continued to make music, including one of the best covers albums I own – [I]Forged In Rock
with Fred Turner. Tal Bachman had a song that was a hit all around the world, and he still performs, though his recorded output has been sparse. Tal has a wonderful voice, better than his father, but his guitar playing is not quite as good as his father. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, really.
The Guess Who – 'American Woman' (1970)

Tal Bachman – 'She's So High' (1999)



15) Jeff Buckley, Son of Tim Buckley
Tim Buckley was a singer-songwriter who performed many different styles of music over a tragically short career, releasing some great albums and songs along the way. Jeff Buckley was a singer-guitarist who released one studio album before his tragically early death. There's not much more I want to say about this – two great talents gone way too early.
Tim Buckley – 'Song To The Siren' (this version 1968; official release 1970)

Jeff Buckley – 'Hallelujah' (1994)



And I'll finish with one extra. There is a documentary called A Band Called Death about the first black heavy metal band, and the children of the original members form their own band in it. I don't know how much is available as recorded music to get, but the documentary is awesome.

There we are. 15 very talented children of very talented musicians, with some great and differing styles of song scattered throughout. I would like to think that one or both of my children will follow in my writing footsteps one day, but I don't push – what happens will happen.

Hope you enjoyed the music!
music, band, solo, rock, pop, child, parent


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