Music History

Ten musicians with rock legends for parents

As an artist, the inheriting of a relative’s legacy comes with its share of benefits and drawbacks. It can make establishing oneself as easy as volunteering and reciting one’s name, but can make gaining a true sense of artistic independence difficult. While providing a standard to conform and deviate from, expectation can drown them in unwarranted feelings of superiority and inferiority. So, out of a respect for their taking up and succeeding at the task, here are ten artists that demonstrate just how close the pick often falls from the string.

1. Jakob Dylan – Bob Dylan

Throughout his career as a solo artist, and as the headliner and lyricist for the band he cofounded, the wallflowers, Jakob has been lauded for his song writing affinity with two Grammy awards, Rolling Stone shortlists and placements on the Billboard 200.


2. James McCartney – Paul McCartney

A frequent instrumental and writing collaborator on his mother and father’s various solo albums, James went on to complete some solo work of his own, releasing two EP’s, Available Light and Close at Hand, as well as two albums, Me and The Blackberry Road over an eight-year span.


3. Zoë Kravitz – Lenny Kravitz

Somehow managing to balance a simultaneous presence in music, fashion and film, Zoë is the frontrunner of the electronic duo, Lolawolf, the face of various designer fragrance and jewelry lines, and has acted in several big budget films.


4. Elijah Hewson – Bono

Not until recently did young Elijah’s Dubliner band, Inhaler, emerge. Though there is nothing distinctly U2 informing their sound, the band’s classic and surprisingly mature grooves harken back to the same era of rock, yet with a more English flair.


5. Roseanne Cash – Johnny Cash

In a standout career of close to 40 years, Roseanne has won 4 Grammys for genre work in country and Americana. She has consistently held spots on top country song lists, and has had literary works of hers printed in noteworthy publications.


6. Lisa Marie Presley – Elvis Presley

Ten years after inheriting her father’s estate, Lisa released her debut album, To Whom It May Concern, followed by a couple follow up projects, Now What and Storm & Grace over a 9-year period. The former two secured her spots in the top 5 and 10 of the Billboard 200 respectively.


7. Adam Cohen – Leonard Cohen

After settling in LA at the age of 26, Adam brought peace to a bidding war for his likeness, signing on with his alumni father’s Columbia records. He’s released 5 projects intermittently between an 8-year hiatus from the industry, motivated by the lukewarm success they’d achieved.


8. Tal Bachman – Randy Bachman

Per the 90’s musical milieu, one hit wonders came and went. Tal’s impossible to have not heard song, She’s So High, contained in his debut self titled album, sat at number 1 on radio charts and earned him a BMI award and two JUNO awards.


9. Rufus Wainwright – Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle

Since his humble beginnings as a rounder of the Montreal club scene, Rufus has released 7 critically acclaimed albums, the first of which landed him a best new artist award from two homosexual advocacy organizations, and a Juno award for best alternative album.


10. Sean Lennon – John Lennon

It only took Sean’s first 5 years for him to gain a vocal credit, and another 11 to receive his first production and writing credits. Sean’s reminiscent singing voice and keen music sense has been showcased in his sizable discography of solo, collaborative, compositional and sessional work.



This young Kingston band includes a Tragically Hip offspring in its lineup: Boris Baker (son of Robbie). Angus Fay (nephew of Johnny) used to be in the group, but he’s moved on.


She’s the daughter of 54-40’s Neil Osbourne.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Robert Levon Been is the son of The Call’s Michael Been. He also appeared on his father’s solo album from 1994 called On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

There’s gotta be more. Who are we missing?


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.

Alan Cross has 37911 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

5 thoughts on “Ten musicians with rock legends for parents

  • Sting’s son and his band Fiction Plane.

    Phil Collins’ kid, Simon Collins.

  • Martha Wainwright – Rufus’ equally deserving sister!

  • And how could I possibly forget Jason Bonham and Zakk Starkey, two of the most in-demand rock drummers on the planet??!!!


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