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It's hard to imagine the Swinging Sixties without Nancy Sinatra's hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”. | Source:
It's hard to imagine the Swinging Sixties without Nancy Sinatra's hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin'”. | Source:
Jan Hamerský -

10 Famous Descendants of Renowned Musicians

Griffin Taylor and Simon Crahan are in Vended. Layne and Miles Ulrich in Taipei Houston. Do those names sound familiar to you? You said it! The former are descendants of Corey Taylor and Sean Crahan, aka numbers 6 and 8 of Slipknot, and the latter of Lars Ulrich of Metallica—and they want to be heard. The truth is that they are not the only performers born to famous parents looking to step out of their shadow. However, there aren't many who have succeeded—even if Miles as a drummer outclasses Lars. Below, we will look at the ten most successful children of famous musicians in ascending order by their birth date.

1. Nancy Sinatra (1940)

The surname was both a gift and a curse for Frank Sinatra’s eldest daughter. On the one hand, she had a half coach, half therapist available, producer Lee Hazlewood, and everyone has heard the guaranteed rumour that her father’s good friend was a certain Sam Giancano of the Chicago Syndicate. On the other hand, as she said, “the only way to stop the accusations of nepotism was to succeed,” which she eventually did. It’s hard to imagine the Swinging Sixties without her hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’”, the Bond opener “You Only Live Twice”, or her rendition of Cher’s classic “Bang Bang”.

2. Lisa Minnelli (1946)

The actress, singer and dancer has played the title roles in perhaps the most famous adaptations of the musicals Cabaret (1966) and New York, New York (1972). She is also one of a chosen few in the EGOT club, i.e. Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award winners. After all, nothing less was expected when her mother was the equally talented Judy Garland, or Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).

3. Rosanne Cash (1955)

“The Man in Black” took her on tour with him—first as a costume designer, then as a backup and occasional solo singer. He also made her first professional recording, albeit without publishing then. Rosanne Cash had to make her own way the rest of the way, as her parents Vivian and Johnny Cash had been separated since her dad’s relationship with June Carter came to light. Rosanne broke through with the pop-country hit “Sever Year Ache” (1981) and won a Grammy for another, “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me” (1985). And that’s just the icing on the cake in the illustrious career of this acclaimed country singer-songwriter and author whose short stories have been published by both the discerning Times and Rolling Stone magazine.

4. – 5. Hank Williams Jr. (1949) and Hank Williams III (1972)

The middle of the Williams clan first played his father’s songs and emulated his iconic style. But eventually, he worked his way into a distinctive fusion of country, blues and Southern rock that would fundamentally change the face of the genre. Ironically, a near-fatal accident in the mountains of Montana helped his musical evolution. After that, he had plenty of time to reassess his previous musical direction. His son Hank, third of that name, handled the family legacy similarly. He, in turn, fused country with punk, rockabilly and, in Phil Anselmo’s Superjoint Ritual project, even metal.

6. The Marley family saga (1979–?)

Rita and Bob Marley made reggae a family business. From their offspring, Cedella, Sharon, Stephen and Ziggy, they built the (later world-famous) band The Melody Makers, which—though it hasn’t played for years—has managed to cement the children’s relationship with music. Cedella runs the family label Tuff Gong International, and Sharon is the curator of the Bob Marley Museum. But we can hear the most of Stephen and Ziggy, soloists and many-times holders of gold-plated gramophone trophies.

7. Jakob Dylan (1969)

The frontman of The Wallflowers lives in seclusion and occasionally releases a record, from which the radio plays certain tracks over and over again—like the exuberant 90s hits “6th Avenue Heartache” or “One Headlight”. The fact that Jakob goes his own way and doesn’t get pushed into constantly feeding his fans new music is evidenced by this year’s album Exit Wound, which was released a decade after the previous Glad All Over. And Jakob doesn’t make a big deal out of the fact that journalists keep mentioning his dad Bob any time they write about him.

8. Dweezil Zappa (1969)

Most descendants of famous musicians try to avoid comparisons. Dweezil Zappa is doing it differently—he has been touring the world for fifteen years with the Zappa Plays Zappa act. It’s not that he had no career before, but its course has been Zappa-like in its eclecticism. With actor and singer Don Johnson, Dweezil recorded the single “Heartbeat” (1986). Every now and then, he would get a walk-on part in a film (Running Man, Jack Frost) or an adult cartoon (Adult Swim, Metalocalypse). And he involved dozens of top soloists (May, EVH, Angus Young) in the production of the reportedly almost 75-minute-long album, aptly titled What the Hell Was I Thinking? He’s still not done with it, and he’s been recording it since the early ’90s. They say he’s just waiting for Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck’s contribution.

9. Charlotte Gainsbourg (1971)

The actress and singer was raised by renowned provocateurs—chansonnier Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. The two of them sang a provocative duet together, “Je t’aime moi non plus”, and Serge was not worried at all about the accusations of paedophilia that surfaced after the release of the similarly-themed hoax “Lemon Incest” (1984), which was written by his then 13-year-old daughter Charlotte. Not surprisingly, she then delayed the release of her second album. The commercially successful and critically acclaimed album 5:55 was not released until 2006, fifteen years after Serge’s death.

10. Norah Jones (1979)

Her debut album Come Away with Me has sold more than 27 million copies and won Norah Jones three Grammy Awards. Her subsequent albums have also remained high on the sales charts. It was hardly beginner’s luck. The pianist, songwriter and singer, who fuses jazz with country, blues, folk and pop, uses the surname after her mother, Sue Jones, a well-known producer. Her father is the legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar, who comes from an esteemed family of Bengali Brahmins.

And who would you add to the list? I look forward to your suggestions in the comments below.

Tagy Hank Williams top 10 Nancy Sinatra Johnny Cash Bob Dylan Bob Marley

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Jan Hamerský
Born in 1988. When he was fifteen and deciding what to do next, writing was the obvious choice. At nineteen, he changed his mind. It seemed to him that it is history that writes stories. Then he found out that history is written by winners—he joined the losers. He majored in h…