With Natalie Cole’s passing a few days back, it got me to thinking about famous musicians whose children also sought musical fame and fortune. Natalie’s dad, Nat King Cole was just about as big as they come back in his day, but Natalie managed to carve out a niche of her own, mostly in the 70’s, of soulful R&B that kept her happening on the charts and live arenas. She struggled with drugs for a good part of her life, which may have been connected with the pressure and expectations of living up to her father’s legacy.
Which is the double edged sword of doing what your folks did, musically. All of The Beatles’ had sons that followed in their footsteps, none making much of a popular impression with the exception of Julian Lennon who enjoyed mild success in the mid 80’s. Having said that, Ringo’s son Zack Starkey has managed to carve out a nice career as the drummer for The Who when the tour.
Bob Dylan’s son Jakob was up against the same amount of scrutiny as the kids of The Beatles, but managed to churn out some popular and catchy records and tunes in the mid to late 90’s although never nearing even a smidgen of the popularity of his father; but then again, who could?
A few other children of popular musicians come to mind who also enjoyed some mild musical success trying to stand in their father’s musical shadow; Ziggy Marley, son of Bob Marley had some minor hits to his credit and continues to tour and produce milking that Marley name and magic. Nancy Sinatra had a big hit with ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, but again, nothing that would sustain the sort of career her father Frank enjoyed.
Then you have the interesting set up of kids playing with their dad’s band. After Eddie Van Halen kicked Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony out of the band, he installed his son, Wolfgang into the bassist’s slot. As well as for Cheap Trick in that after Bun E. Carlos departed after the obligatory band in-fighting; lead guitarist Rick Nielson didn’t look far to replace the band’s original drummer in having his son Daxx Nielson take over the skins during Cheap Trick’s tours.
So while the musical fruit often doesn’t fall far from the musical tree, the quality of the goods is most often not as sweet.