Some artists are so incredibly talented they seem to possess something that only comes along once in a lifetime, and can never be replicated. But then, lo and behold, you realise there’s another member of the very same family who’s just as talented – even if it’s in a completely different style of music.
Yep, musical ability is definitely something that can be written into our genetic code, clearly – and we’re taking a look at just some of the families who’ve shared their musical ability across the generations.
John & Jason Bonham
Following in the footsteps of one of the most legendary drummers of all time, Jason Bonham has forged his own career in music while also paying tribute to his father’s place in history and carrying on his legacy brilliantly.
Picking up the sticks at just four years old, Jason proved to be a prodigious drumming talent in his own right as well as an all-round performer, and has made a career as a session and touring musician throughout the rock world. A huge highlight was playing drums as part of the one-off Led Zeppelin reunion concert in London in 2007 with surviving members Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and Robert Plant, making for an incredibly special moment for any fans who got to witness it.
Since then, he has continued to fly the flag both for John Bonham and Led Zeppelin with his tribute show, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience, which combines classic songs and archival footage with the love only a relative can bring to the table. Bonham brings the tour to Australia for the first time in January, playing a run of shows across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, with tickets on sale now.
The Beach Boys
The combination of brothers Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson were responsible for creating some of the most influential music of the 60s with their distinctive vocal harmonies and surf-guitar tendencies.
Iconic albums like Pet Sounds established them as innovators of the genre, and while legal disputes and tragic deaths followed the band toward the latter half of the twentieth century, the original lineup remains one of the most critically acclaimed groups in rock’s history.
Having sold over 50 million records worldwide, Norah Jones is arguably one of the greatest jazz artists of the 2000s, with a truly breathtaking voice.
The daughter of Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar, Jones was estranged from her father for a period but spent time with him in Delhi while writing songs for 2009 album The Fall, and claimed they had a “very good relationship” during an interview back in 2012. He passed away later that year.
Willie & Lukas Nelson
With his band Promise of the Real, Lukas Nelson – son of acclaimed country music legend Willie Nelson – has released four studio albums’ worth of what he describes as “cowboy hippie surf rock” – and he’s not far off with that assessment.
Drawing inspiration from his lineage as well as other icons of the genre (including mentor Neil Young), Nelson’s Americana channels his father while embracing his own distinctive style, making for a very worthy addition to the country lexicon. The band will perform in Australia next year as part of the 2018 Bluesfest festival, along with a handful of sideshows – tickets are on sale now.
Noel & Liam Gallagher
It may not have been the most harmonious pairing, but it’s difficult to deny that Noel and Liam Gallagher were jointly responsible for some of the best music of the late 90s and early 2000s – the appeal of albums like (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? and Definitely Maybe lasting far longer than the brothers’ relationship.
After the band’s dissolution in 2009, both went on to separate endeavours. Liam would make two LPs as part of the supergroup Beady Eye before releasing debut solo record As You Were in October, while Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds just released their third studio album. And while they’re each finding their own success, there’s no doubting that they’re at their best as a pair – even if that may never happen again.
The Jacksons are likely one of the first that comes to mind when one thinks about family supergroups, with the Jackson 5 producing hits like ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘ABC’, and largely being responsible for launching Michael Jackson’s career. Members of the family – sans Michael, of course – continue to occasionally perform together at special events.
On top of that, however, is the talent that dwells in Janet Jackson. With huge hits of her own, the youngest of the family has become another of the highest selling artists of all time, with seven number one records.
The whole of The National
Besides frontman Matt Berninger, American indie rock quintet The National actually comprise of two separate sets of family members – Aaron and Bryce Dessner play guitar while Scott and Bryan Devendorf play bass and drums respectively.
The band released seventh album Sleep Well Beast back in September, showing that sometimes families can get along.
One of the most idiosyncratic and prolific rock artists of our time, Frank Zappa’s musical legacy has been carried on through his sons – who do an admirable job, considering just how tough and individual an act their father is to follow.
Prime among them however is Dweezil Zappa who, in addition to writing and recording his own music, honours his father’s work by performing it live under the ‘Zappa Plays Zappa’ banner. Just like his dad, he’s a musical genius.
Kim & Kelley Deal
While Kim Deal first found success as the bassist of The Pixies, it was forming The Breeders in 1989 that allowed her to step out on her own, with seminal sophomore album The Last Splash going on to become a platinum-selling hit.
It also meant being able to collaborate with her sister – Kelley Deal joined the band in 1992, learning how to play guitar despite a lack of experience, and the pair continue to perform together.
Angus, Malcolm and George Young
How could this list be complete without paying tribute to the guitar duo of Angus and Malcolm Young, and of course their incredible older brother George? The younger pair formed AC/DC together in 1973 and would go on to be one of the country’s most successful rock exports with songs like Thunderstruck, Highway to Hell and Back in Black.
George, meanwhile, was of course a founding member of another of our greatest bands The Easybeats, and as one half of the legendary production duo Vanda & Young, working with his brothers on several AC/DC records.
Malcolm sadly passed away earlier this month after a struggle with dementia; since 2014, nephew Stevie Young has been on rhythm guitar duties for the band. George also passed in October, making for two crushing blows to Australian music.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience 2018 Australian tour
Saturday January 27
Palais Theatre, Melbourne
Tickets through Ticketmaster
Sunday January 28
State Theatre, Sydney
Tickets through Ticketmaster
Tuesday January 30
Concert Hall, Perth
Tickets through Perth Concert Hall
Thursday February 1
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Tickets through Ticketmaster