Following on from our collection of brothers in bands, we decided we couldn’t let the lads have all the fun. While there may not be the kind of famous sisters as there have been the likes of the Gallaghers of the music world, their stories and groups are just as interesting. In the words of the Euryhtmics’, this list of fine musicians proves that the sisters are indeed doing it for themselves.
Everything’s Eventual. As well as their musical careers being closely intertwined, the girls clearly have a similar taste in men, (at least when it comes to first names,) with Nicole marrying Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, and Natalie finding her other half in Prodigy member Liam Howlett.
Formed by guitarist/vocalist Christina Billotte and drummer Mira Billotte – both accomplished musicians with a variety of side projects – and unrelated bassist Brendan Majewski (later to be replaced by Mick Barr) Quix*o*tic became known for mixing goth affectations with a variety of other genres. RnB, surfer guitar, and blues have all been given the gloomy treatment by these permanently sad sisters.
Irish pop-rockers The Corrs are formed of the three sisters and brother that make up the (obviously very talented) Corr family. Intertwining Celtish folk with the radio-friendly fare, they achieved success in the UK, Australia, Europe and America; including producing the highest-selling album of 1998 in the UK, Talk On Corners . Luck of the Irish indeed.
Pixies bassist and coolest person ever Kim Deal and her identical twin sister Kelley both sing and play guitar in this critically acclaimed alt-rock band, with Kim forming the group with Throwing Muses guitarist Tanya Donelly in 1988 - a range of other members have come and gone since then. The sisters grew up playing music together, covering Hank Williams in biker bars while they were still teenagers, and becoming no less badass as they grew up, with Kurt Cobain being amongst their many fans.
Angelic indie sisters Stonefield learnt how to play their instruments in an unconventional manner – playing Hendrix covers under the instruction of the music teacher who lived next door in their small Victorian town of 200 people. Jump to a few years later, and the Findlay sisters can be found playing festivals across Australia, reveling in Triple J love, and performing at famed UK music festival, Glastonbury – all without an album to their name.
You thought faux-lesbian T.a.T.u. was bad? These Transylvanian twins redefined trashy with their 2002 single ‘Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum.)’ As if that title wasn’t enough, the sisters have also been involved in political sex scandals, shoplifting arrests, and bankruptcy. Definitely not the kind of girls to bring home and meet the parents.
Two-thirds of Wishful’s lineup consists of Maddy and Memphis Kelly, daughters of legendary Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly. Along with non-folk music icon progeny Sam Humphreys, their debut EP, Wishful Thinking , was produced by their famous father, showcasing their dreamy brand of indie pop.
Power-pop superstars The Bangles helped develop the cheesy, infectious sound that dominated the eighties charts, most notably with hit song ‘Walk Like An Egyptian.’ Sisters Debbi and Vicki Peterson shared the songwriting and performing duties with third member Susanna Hoffs, with all of them splitting the singing time for each album an equal three ways. Who said sisters were bitchy?
These four siblings clearly didn’t take their parents warning that rock, roll, and the blues was “the devil’s music” to heart, with the genres being just two of the many they have tried their hand at -to great success - over the years. Their long-winding career has seen 14 Top 20 singles in their home country of the US.
Named after a fictional character they invented as children, nineties alt-pop duo Alisha’s Attic is sisters Shellie and Karen Poole. Their breakthrough hit was 1994’s “I Am, I Feel,” which was then followed up by a further eight Top 20 singles over the next five years, before splitting in 2001.
The Canadian sisters’ passion for music began at a very young age, learning piano from village nuns while living in Quebec. The pair have written and recorded with a range of artists including Nick Cave, Emmylou Harris, and Lou Reed. But most notable Kate and Anna are, respectively, the mother and auntie of famous musical siblings Rufus and Martha Wainwright. Both of whom performed regularly with their family until Kate McGarrigle’s untimely death in 2010.
Talk about keeping it in the family. The band originally featured parents and sons Tommy and Brian Nolan, as well as four sisters, dubbed The Singing Nolans. In 1974, the sisters began performing apart from the rest of their family, and have all pursued various solo careers at some point as well.
The fiery Australia twins Lisa and Jessica are perhaps better known for their love lives now, with the latter Origlasso being in one of the strangest musical relationships in music - dating Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan for over two years. The sisters have had many smash hits in Australia, including ‘Hook Me Up’, which went straight to #1 on the charts.
The identical Canadian twins began writing songs together when they were 15, initially under the name Sara & Tegan, until they realised that the reverse rolled off the tongue much better. Live shows often feature anecdotes from their childhood. Showing that sisters stick together through anything, the pair was involved in a very public feud with Tyler, The Creator last year; branding his music “misogynistic and homophobic.”
Sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire make up two thirds of the best-selling all-female band in US history. The sisters landed in hot water in their native US for their very strong views on George Bush. Regularly and publically voicing their anger at the former American president and the war in Iraq, leading Bush to reply “I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks say”, and forcing the group to install metal detectors at certain shows following a series of threats.
Swedish sisters Klara and Johanna began writing songs together when the former received a guitar for a birthday present when she was 13. Since then they have enjoyed a rapid rise to international fame, collaborating with the likes of Jack White, Fleet Foxes, and Bright Eyes. Keeping the family theme going, the band also employs their mother and father as tour managers, and their brother as a live drummer.
The American gospel singers include sisters Cleotha, Yvonne, and Mavis, together they have produced such hits as ‘I’ll Take You There’, ‘Respect Yourself’ and ‘Let’s Do It Again’. The sisters released the majority of their songs during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and included themes of self-empowerment and equality.
Identical twins Chandra and Leigh founded the band Slydell before moving onto their own project, releasing debut EP ‘Southern Manners’ in 2006. Regarding their music origins, Leigh Watson stated “we used to mess around and write songs just for the pure entertainment of our mother.” Proving that the living room is as good a learning curve as any.
Consisting of two sets of sisters, The Shangri-Las developed a solid ‘bad-girl’ reputation throughout the 1960s. Well-known anecdotes, such as Mary Weiss being caught by the FBI transporting a pistol across state lines, gained much attention and helped contribute to the sister’s controversial image.
Lead singer Ann and guitarist Nancy make up a third of the American rock band, which has undergone numerous line-up changes throughout their lengthy careers – while retaining the core sibling duo. Heart has sold over 30 million records worldwide and was ranked #57 on VH1’s ‘100 Greatest Artists Of Hard Rock’.