They say blood is thicker than water, but there must be something in the blood AND water in some musical families. Sometimes the muse passes on from the parents to the kids, leaving a legacy of great songs that will keep many generations happy. Here’s a look at 10 great father/son, mother/daughter artists. As Sly Stone sang, “It’s a family affair.”
Bob & Jakob Dylan – To follow in the musical footsteps of Bob Dylan would be a daunting task for any son or daughter, but Jakob Dylan accepted the challenge and carved his own space in the 1990s fronting The Wallflowers. The band’s 1996 release, Bringing Down The Horse, shot to #4 on the charts, on the strength of two singles: “One Headlight” and “6th Avenue Heartache.”
Recommended listening: Blood On The Tracks & Bringing Down The Horse
Tim & Jeff Buckley – The parallels of the lives of Tim and Jeff Buckley are still eerie to contemplate. Both were charismatic and superbly gifted musicians and singers. Both of their careers and music were cut short by premature deaths. Tim died of a drug overdose at 28, while Jeff drowned at 31. One can only wonder, “What if?”
Recommended listening: Happy Sad & Grace
John & Julian Lennon – When Julian Lennon released his debut album, Valotte, not four years after his father had been murdered, there was a tangible sense of deja vu. The music and voice could have only come from a Lennon, but most surprising was the quality of the songs, particularly the self-penned single “Too Late For Goodbyes” and haunting “Let Me Be.”
Recommended listening: Imagine & Valotte
John & Jason Bonham – One of rock’s most powerful and influential drummers left a huge gap after dying and Led Zeppelin dissolved. Jason Bonham kept the memory of his father’s booming approach alive, bringing the Bonham magic to several acts, including his own Bonham, Paul Rodgers, UFO and Foreigner.
Recommended listening: Led Zeppelin IV & The Disregard Of Timekeeping
Bob & Ziggy Marley – Bob Marley will always be the king of reggae music, bringing the rock-steady vibe to millions of fans far from the Caribbean. His death at 35 remains tragic, but son Ziggy has carried the torch, singing of social injustice, peace and harmony within a reggae framework that opens into other genres, including folk, rock and rap.
Recommended listening: Exodus & Fallen Is Babylon
Gregg & Devon Allman – If you think Gregg Allman’s best work all went to the Allman Brothers Band, check out his first solo album, Laid Back, to hear another, great side of the man who is also an excellent guitarist. Devon’s first effort with band Honeytribe is rooted more in hard rock than the blues. That he wrote or co-wrote 10 of the album’s 11 songs bodes well for his and the group’s future.
Recommended listening: Laid Back & Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, Torch
Hank Williams & Hank Williams Jr. – The spirit of country’s music greatest songwriter was amped up and taken to the masses by Bocephus, who while letting everybody know that a “country boy can survive,” he can do it with an electric guitar cranked up to 10, rockin’ out.
Recommended listening: The Original Singles Collection (box set) & Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound
Loudon Wainwright III & Rufus Wainwright – Loudon Wainwright’s gift for humor – often deadpan – shaped many of his finest songs, such as “Dead Skunk,” “Mr. Guilty” and “The Swimming Song.” Rufus inherited his pop’s (and mom Kate McGarrigle’s) songwriting gifts and took them down a different road, releasing his self-titled operatic debut in 1998.
Recommended listening: Attempted Moustache & Loudon Wainwright
Maria & Jenni Muldaur – Maria Muldaur had a pop hit with “Midnight At The Oasis” in 1974, but has since released several fine albums of sensual R&B, jazz and blues. Daughter Jenni has followed suit, focusing on bringing lesser-known R&B numbers to light, an approach that bears rich fruit on her 2009 release Dearest Darlin’.
Recommended listening: Maria Muldaur & Dearest Darlin’
Woody & Arlo Guthrie – Though Woody Guthrie didn’t invent folk music, he did as much to advance the genre as anyone, and his influence on Bob Dylan is incalculable. Woody’s son Arlo carried on the storyteller tradition, spinning tales of surrealism and often politically charged musings.
Recommended listening: Dust Bowl Ballads & Alice’s Restaurant