Passing the torch: The musical offspring of famous rock stars

[This is my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. Goes nicely, too, with a recent episode of my Ongoing History radio show. – AC]

The concept can be expressed in different ways. It runs in the family. Like father (or mother), like son (or daughter). The apple never falls far from the tree. In every case, we’re talking about either hereditary characteristics or learned abilities passed down from parent to child.

It stands to reason that if you grow up in a household full of creatives, something is going to rub off on the kids, whether it be something in their genes (nature) or just because of what goes on around them (nurture.) So if your parents are musical, then there’s a very good chance you will be musical, too.

The concept can be expressed in different ways. It runs in the family. Like father (or mother), like son (or daughter). The apple never falls far from the tree. In every case, we’re talking about either hereditary characteristics or learned abilities passed down from parent to child.

It stands to reason that if you grow up in a household full of creatives, something is going to rub off on the kids, whether it be something in their genes (nature) or just because of what goes on around them (nurture.) So if your parents are musical, then there’s a very good chance you will be musical, too.

Musical parents don’t always mean musical children. But creativity can run in the family. For example, Duncan Bowie (originally christened Zowie by his parents, David and Angels Bowie) pursued filmmaking. Back in the 1960s, Jerry Lewis’s son, Gary, eschewed acting and comedy, forming instead a successful pop band in the 60s called Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Patrick Schwarzenegger has done a little acting like his dad, but his main pursuit has been running a clothing company.

However, the list of musical offspring is very long and is getting longer every year. Jason Bonham is the drummer son of Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham. Norah Jones is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, the Beatles’ favourite sitar player. There’s Roseanne Cash, daughter of Johnny. Sean and Julian Lennon are both sons of John. Four of the five children of Frank Zappa have had musical careers. R&B singer Stella Santana is the daughter of Carlos. Miley is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus. Adam Cohen is the son of Leonard. Carnie and Wendy Wilson are the daughters of the Beach Boys’ Brian. And more recently, Wolfgang Van Halen is following in the footsteps of his father, Eddie.

Here are a few more, with a couple that may have escaped your attention so far.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.