6 Musicians Whose Parents Were … Musicians


“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” It’s a common idiom normally associated with characteristics exhibited by children that closely resemble those of their parents. This is especially true in the entertainment business, where a life of isolation mixed with close proximity to the business means children are more likely to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Here are six such cases.

1. Coco Gordon Moore

Hmmmm, take a moment and read this name. Perhaps read it a few times over. Afterwards, try and guess who she might be related to. If you guessed musicians who were NOT in Sonic Youth, then you’re in Wrongsville. But if not, consider yourself a musical trivia badarse, and give yourself a hug.

As the only daughter of former indie rock power couple Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, Coco Gordon Moore and her Northampton, Massachusetts-based art punk ensemble, Big Nils, draws influence from ’80s indie art punk like, ahem, Sonic Youth and Husker Du, ’80s punk like the Circle Jerks, and  ’90s riot grrl revolutionaries Bikini Kill. With vocals rivaling the lead singer of the latter band, 18-year-old Coco is a product of her environment, creating music as art in her own way. And instead of living in her parent’s shadow, she’s cast her own shadow right beside it.

2. Wolfgang Van Halen

While Eddie Van Halen is one of the greatest guitarists of the 20th century, (next to Frank Zappa) he’s the worst name giver that’s ever lived. When he and wife, Valeri Bertinelli, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, they thought it wise to name him Wolfgang. Say it out loud: Wolfgang Van Halen. Fortunately for Wolfgang, his current career move at 22 years old to that of bassist for the current Van Halen lineup, somewhat justifies his monstrous birth name, because a title like Wolfgang Van Halen is meant for musicians and celebrity chefs, and not for, say,  DMV workers or office managers.

3. Dweezil Zappa

When you’re brought up in a household run by semi-nude women and populated by rock-and-rollers of every stripe, led by a man notorious for his musical brilliance, his irreverent lifestyle and his political outspokenness, you are bound, at least in some way, to find your path into the biz. And, as previously mentioned, Zappa gifted his kids with weird names, the most noteworthy being, of course, Dweezil. As a teen, The Dweez would write his own music and release records using his father’s musicians. But as he grew in age and experience, Dweezil became a serious musician, and his years at the helm of the Zappa Plays Zappa tours, during which he affectionately pays tribute to his late father, are no exception.

4. Kelly Osbourne

Do you remember where you were the first time you cringed at a Kelly Osbourne video?  I do. It was in 2002. I was a junior in high school and was casually watching Total Request Live after school. They used to make a big deal out of brand new videos. On this particular day, Kelly Osbourne’s cover of “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna made its debut. After I saw it, I felt weird. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t NOT like it. I was indifferent to the whole thing. I remember wondering what Kelly’s dad, Ozzy Osbourne, thought the first time he heard it. Did he like it? Did he hate it? Did it make him want to eat bats? I figured perhaps a little from each group.  And though her singing career is currently on holiday, Kelly remains a music figure worthy of role model status. Also, “Shut Up” wasn’t THAT bad

5. Ziggy & Damien Marley

As the official voices of Reggae, Ziggy and Damien Marley — sons of legendary musician, Bob Marley — have vigorously lead the movement from a musical grassroots organization in the early ’80s to a musical grassroots organization nearly 30 years later. Since the passing of their father in 1981, both Ziggy and Damien have collectively produced seven Grammy Award winners, 14 solo albums and 15 albums from Melody Makers, a family group formed by Ziggy and his siblings (Stephen, Sharon, and Cedella) in 1979. Recently, Ziggy released a live concert album featuring renditions of his father’s songs “War” and “Is This Love,” and Damien is gearing up for an upcoming U.S. tour alongside his brother, Stephen.

6. Jacob Dylan

If there’s one musician’s child I’ve always felt bad for, it’s Jacob Dylan. Throughout his music career in the ’90s, as the lead singer and guitarist for alterna-rock outfit The Wallflowers, everything from the sound of his voice to the way that he looked drew constant comparisons to his father, while his songwriting, music and longevity did not. But what else should you expect when you’re the son of Bob Dylan and you’re also a musician? Answer: Moderate success.

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