Classic music and cartoons share a strong bond – just think of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Sleeping Beauty Waltz’ in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Beethoven’s ‘Fifth Symphony’ in Pink Panther and Johann Straus II’s ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ in Spongebob Squarepants. Discover these animated moments and more right here at Audio Network.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: 15 OF THE BEST MUSICAL FAMILIES
- Lucy Bruton
- 27 Jul
Is talent genetic? There’s certainly a strong argument to suggest so. Some of the biggest and best singers in recent history are part of musical families – stars like Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus have relations that are blessed with voices just as strong as them.
Here, we take a look at 15 of the best musical families, exploring the relationship between the most noteworthy members and comparing their musical styles. As we work through our list, we will be highlighting tracks and albums from our ever-expanding catalogue of high-quality compositions, including music from our latest releases.
Top 15 Family Music Groups:
- The Knowles Family
- The Jackson Family - The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
- The Jackson 5
- Michael Jackson
- Janet Jackson
- The Cobain Family
- Kurt Cobain
- Courtney Love
- James Beane Cobain
- The Gallagher Family - Oasis
- Noel Gallagher
- Liam Gallagher
- The Followill Family - Kings of Leon
- The Wilson Family - The Beach Boys
- The Dessners and The Devendorf Families - The National
- The Haim Family - HAIM
- The Söderberg Family - First Aid Kit, Benkt Söderberg
- The Davies Family - The Kinks
- The Bedingfield Family
- Natasha Bedingfield
- David Bedingfield
- Nikola Bedingfield
- The Jonas Brothers
- Chloe x Halle
- Jaden and Willow Smith
- Will Smith
- Jada Smith
- Jaden Smith
- Willow Smith
- The Cyrus Family - Miley, Noah, Trace, Braison and Billy Ray Cyrus
- Billy Ray Cyrus
- Miley Cyrus
- Noah Cyrus
15 Famous Family Music Groups
1. The Knowles’ - Beyoncé and Solange (and Matthew)
The media has long tried to pit the two Knowles sisters against each other, fabricating deep rivalries surrounding their music careers. However, Solange contests that her and her sister have completely different musical aspirations and styles.
And while Beyoncé and Solange’s sisterly connection is well-famed, most of their successes at the beginning of their career can be traced back to the influence of their father Matthew. Matthew was the record label owner of Music World as well as managing both his daughters at some stage in their careers, although probably best known for being the manager of Destiny’s Child.
Out of the two, Beyoncé is the more commercially-successful singer. For years, the international superstar released R&B albums that catered to both fans of the genre and pop music fans alike, and became the first solo artist to have their first six albums hit number one.
Beyoncé is unstoppable ( coined 'Queen B' for a reason!) given her consistent evolution of artistry in music, most recently breaking the record of most wins by one singer in Grammy history, accepting her 28th Grammy for Best R&B Performance for 'Black Parade'.
Solange’s approach to creating music feels intimate and personal; she merges soul, alternative and funk sounds into her exploratory and boundary-breaking strain of R&B. Following 2016’s acclaimed LP A Seat At The Table, 2019 project When I Get Home explores experiences of Blackness through a psychedelic lens. The result? A truly thought-provoking concept album.
2. The Jackson Family - The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
The Jackson's are undoubtedly one of the most famous family singing groups in history.
Starting out in 1964 - with youngest member Michael being just five years old at the time - and rapidly rising to astronomical success, the five siblings were soon knocking more number one hits out than any other artist on the scene.
Following their rapid rise, the youngest brothers Michael and Marlon left the band to pursue solo work, with Michael soon finding fame as one of the most successful musicians of all time.
Dubbed the King of Pop, Michael’s musical style combined elements of the pop genre with disco, soul, funk, rock and R&B, as heard on hits such as ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Bad’, ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Thriller’. He continued to redefine the pop genre all the way up until his untimely passing in 2009 and, thanks to a posthumous career run by the Michael Jackson Estate, he continues to set the bar high today.
Michael’s sister Janet may not have been part of the Jackson 5, but she did use her surname as a springboard into the music industry – and thank God she did. Since the age of 16, Janet has bringing her unique, rebellious energy to every record she makes; but it wasn't until the late 80s when Janet really came into her own. Naturally, we're talking about the release of her career-defining record, Rhythm Nation 1814. This concept album addressed social issues such as racism, drugs, violence and homelessness via interludes and upbeat tracks such as ‘State of the World’, ‘The Knowledge’ and, of course, ‘Rhythm Nation’.
Listen to our collection of Motown inspired tracks over on our 60s Soul playlist.
3. The Cobain Family – Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain, Frances Bean Cobain
Arguably one of the defining cultural figures of the decade, the influence of Nirvana-frontman Kurt Cobain extends far beyond the grunge scene he helped found in early 90s Seattle. As renowned for his anti-establishment ethos as he was his serrated vocal style, he remains a hero to millions of rock fans, with a peerless musical legacy encompassing huge crossover hits ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, ‘Come As You Are’ and ‘About A Girl’.
While Kurt’s legacy with Nirvana has always been at the forefront of any musical conversations surrounding the family, his wife Courtney Love was hugely successful in her own right as the lead vocalist in Hole, a grunge/alt-rock band responsible for hits such as ‘Violet’, ‘Doll Parts‘, and ‘Celebrity Skin’.
Frances Bean Cobain
It’s perhaps unsurprising that the couple’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, has inherited her parents’ creative interests. As well as being a visual artist, the 28-year-old occasionally takes to the internet to share original songs.
4. Oasis - Noel and Liam Gallagher
Burnage-born brothers Noel and Liam are arguably as famed for their turbulent relationship as they are their staggeringly successful output with Oasis.
After years of feuding and social media sparring, Oasis eventually split in 2009, and both brothers now perform solo, though Noel shares billing with his backing band, High Flying Birds. Unsurprisingly, their musical styles aren’t so different – both encapsulate the swaggering indie-rock demeanor of mid-90s Manchester.
After 2009, Liam Gallagher initially formed Beady Eye: a band consisting of former Oasis members Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock. The band stayed together until 2014, which is also when Liam started work on his solo career. Since 2016, he has released two solo albums, As You Were and Why Me? Why Not.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have been a hit with critics since the band first formed in 2010. Working with bandmates Gem Archer (yes, he simultaneously worked with both brothers), Chris Sharrock and Mike Rowe, Noel has released four albums – High Flying Birds, Chasing Yesterday, Who Built the Moon? and Back the Way We Came: Vol 1. Listen to our collection of Britpop music over in our Britpop playlist
5. The Followill Family - Kings of Leon
The success of Kings of Leon – consisting of brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill, along with cousin Matthew – is testament to keeping tight family ties.
Since forming in 1999, the quartet have produced eight studio albums, all of which made it to the top three of the UK album charts, and six of which hit number one. Some of band’s biggest hits include ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Sex on Fire’ and ‘Molly’s Chambers’.
Having been raised between Oklahoma and Tennessee, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the Followills have absorbed the Southern rock influences of their upbringing. They fuse that Southern rock foregrounding with elements of alt-rock and garage rock to create an epic, stadium-ready sound.
Listen to our collection of southern rock music over in our Country Rock playlist.
6. The Wilson Family - The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are one of the most commercially successful bands in music history; made up of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, alongside cousin Mike Love and mutual friend Al Jardine.
Musical talent certainly ran in the family as Brian, Dennis and Carl’s father, Murry Wilson, was a songwriter, guitarist and pianist.
Formed in 1961, the band soon became renowned for their easy, California surfer charm, and in 1963 they had their first hit with ‘Surfin’ USA’. Even today, the upbeat rock ‘n’ roll sounds of The Beach Boys instantly transports listeners to the shores of the West Coast, where the sun's always shining, and excitement is always in the air. Complementing their euphoric melodies, The Beach Boys’ tight-knit vocal harmonies continue to entrance generations of listeners.
Listen to our collection of surf rock music over in our Surf playlist.
7. The Dessners and The Devendorf Families - The National
Formed in Brooklyn back in 1999, acclaimed indie-rock band The National is formed of two separate groupings of family members. There are the identical twins, Bryce and Aaron Dessner, and brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, while frontman Matt Berninger is the odd one out in the happy families game.
Hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, originally, the band have received international acclaim for all eight of their studio albums to date.
Bryce and Aaron are both revered producers and multi-instrumentalists, with the former finding success for his work with The Kronos Quartet, and the latter receiving GRAMMY support for his recent collaborations with Taylor Swift.
Listen to our collection of experimental music over in our Experimental playlist.
8. The Haim Family - HAIM
HAIM is a soft rock/alternative band consisting of three sisters – Este, Danielle and Alana Haim – who are each musically trained in multiple instruments. It seems a career in music was always predestined: their musician parents enlisted their children to perform with them in their cover band Rockinhaim from a young age.
Before HAIM, the oldest sisters (Este and Danielle) joined pop group Valli Girls in 2005 but left the band within the same year. Two years later, they recruited their younger sister (Alana), but it wasn’t until 2012 that the band became a full-time project.
In the space of eight years, the trio has shared three studio albums: Days Are Gone, Something to Tell You and Women in Music Pt. III.
Listen to our collection of soft rock music over in our Light Rock playlist.
9. The Söderberg Family - First Aid Kit & Benkt Söderberg
Formed of sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg and a handful of instrument players, Swedish indie-folk duo First Aid Kit have enjoyed a steady rise to fame since their humble beginnings uploading demos on Myspace. The sisters are another example of musical talent that has stemmed from paternal influences, with father Benkt Söderberg being an established musician himself.
Benkt was a member of the Swedish rock band Lolita Pop who formed in 1979 and split in 1992. He played both guitar and bass for the band, which (potentially) explains why both Klara and Johanna are talented string instrument players.
Klara and Johanna Söderberg - First Aid Kit
From a young age, the Söderberg Sisters would perform at home and on the streets of their hometown, Stockholm. The duo came up with the name of the band, First Aid Kit, when flicking through the dictionary; they concluded that the term was the best way to describe the music they aimed to create. We must admit, First Aid Kit songs such as ‘My Silver Lining’, ‘Fireworks’ and ‘Nothing Has to be True’ do uplift our spirits on a miserable day.
10. The Davies Family - The Kinks
The Kinks are one of the most notable rock bands to ever emerge from the UK. Brothers Ray and Dave Davies have enjoyed an impressive 32-year musical career, selling over 50 million records worldwide.
Born in North London, Ray and Dave were the youngest siblings in the family – they had six older sisters. Both brothers spent their childhood learning to play guitar, which led them to start creating music together.
Around 1964, the brothers invited drummer Mick Avory to join their band after spotting his advertisement in the British weekly magazine, Melody Maker. Around this time, the trio decided on their band name, The Kinks, which they felt was just about disruptive enough to get people talking.
Between the mid-60s and the late-90s, The Kinks released a whopping 24 studio albums – albums featuring big hits such as ‘You Really Got Me’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Dead End Street’ and ‘Waterloo Sunset’.
Listen to our collection of rock music over in our Rock playlist.
11. The Bedingfields Family - Natasha, Daniel and Nikola Bedingfield
All three of the Bediingfield siblings display a very different approach to music, that led to their individual successes in the industry during 00s. Natasha’s output is fun, upbeat and colourful; Daniel’s music is moody, emotional and occasionally gritty; Nikola’s music is warm, pastoral and reflective.
It's hard to think of 00s music without thinking of Natasha Bedingfields sensational pop songs, 'Unwritten' and 'These Words'.
Let’s start off with Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha’s older brother. Well known for his 2001 hit ‘Gotta Get Thru This’, Daniel enjoyed a successful pop career for just over a decade. After releasing two albums and two EPs, Daniel has kept busy judging on X Factor New Zealand, songwriting for other artists and performing in the West End.
Nikola 'Rachelle' Bedingfield
Known professionally as Nikola Rachelle or The Golden Phoenix, Natasha’s younger sister is both a talented singer and songwriter. In 2006, Nikola released an EP featuring a song called ‘Don’t Talk About This Love’ which Cheryl Cole subsequently covered for her album Three Words. Afterwards, she wrote songs for the likes of Cee Lo Green, Jojo and Jesse McCartney and produced multiple tracks for advertisements and television shows.
12. The Jonas Family - The Jonas Brothers
All four of the Jonas siblings are blessed with beautiful singing voices but it’s the first three – Kevin, Joe, and Nick – that make up world-famous pop group The Jonas Brothers.
Although they officially came together in 2005, it wasn’t until 2008 – when they starred in the Disney Channel original movie, Camp Rock – that the boys began to enjoy worldwide success. Subsequently, the trio returned for the film’s sequel, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, and starred in their own Disney Channel series titled JONAS.
Over the years, Jonas Brothers have released five studio albums, three live albums, three soundtrack albums, and a 3D concert experience, a discography characterised by light-hearted, pop-rock vibes. As for Frankie Jonas, well, his career has only just begun.
Listen to our collection of pop-rock music over in our Upbeat Pop & Rock playlist.
13. The Bailey Family - Chloe x Halle
Chloe Bailey and Halle Bailey are the sisters that come together to form R&B duo Chloe x Halle. Championed by Beyoncé – who signed the pair to her management company Parkwood Entertainment in 2015 – both are blessed with a heavenly singing voice that perfectly complements the other’s. Take a listen to some of the girl’s hits, including ‘Do It’, ‘Happy Without Me’ and ‘Ungodly Hour’.
Raised in Mableton, Georgia, by their parents Courtney and Doug Bailey, they moved to Los Angeles in 2012. Around this time, the duo set up a YouTube channel where they would post covers of their favourite songs. Their YouTube success helped them score a handful of projects with Disney which pushed them further into the limelight.
Having released a critically-acclaimed album in 2020, both sisters are now working on solo projects: Chloe is working on building up her music career and Halle is working on Disney’s remake of The Little Mermaid (she’s playing Ariel).
Listen to our collection of R&B/hip hop music over in our R&B/Hip-Hop music playlist.
14. The Smith Family - Will, Jada and Willow Smith
We’ve all heard of the saying ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’, a phrase which is certainly fitting when discussing the Smith family. The four members of the family that choose to be in the limelight – parents Will and Jada and siblings Willow and Jaden – are multifaceted creatives who have all dipped their toes into the music industry.
And although Will is most famous for his acting career, it’s common knowledge that he’s also a talented rapper. Will Smith’s most famous songs include ‘Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It’, ‘Men in Black’ and ‘Just the Two of Us’.
Jada Pinkett Smith’s music career officially began in the early-00s when she formed metal band Wicked Wisdom. Joined by three male bandmates, Jada went on tour with Britney Spears in 2004 and released two albums: My Story and Wicked Wisdom.
Following in his dad’s footsteps, Jaden Smith became a rapper; unlike his dad, he’s not concerned with commercial success. Each of his mixtapes and albums feels conceptual, exploring the inside of a Gen-Z’s mind through hip hop, emo rap and punk sounds.
Finally, we look to the youngest member of the family – Willow Smith. Willow has been singing professionally since she was just eight years old (who remembers ‘Whip My Hair’?) and has changed her sound several times since. Most recently, the singer has released pop-punk track ‘Transparent Soul’ which feels inspired by her mother’s days as the frontrunner for Wicked Wisdom.
15. The Cyrus Family – Miley, Noah, Trace, Braison and Billy Ray Cyrus
Each member of the Cyrus family has largely cultivated their own distinct musical approach. Leading the Cyrus musical dynasty, Billy Ray Cyrus, famed country singer. His daughters Miley and Noah Cyrus are two of the hottest acts in pop musichis sons are Trace Cyrus, the backing vocalist and guitarist of rock band Metro Station, and folk singer Braison Cyrus. To top it all off, Miley’s Godmother is none other than Dolly Parton.
Billy Ray Cyrus
Best known for his 1990 single ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ (and his recent collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X on hit single ‘Old Town Road’), Billy Ray Cyrus gained popularity during the early 90s, enjoying significant commercial success from his first album Some Gave All which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.
Known for her distinctive raspy voice, Miley has spent her career experimenting with different styles, culminating in latest album, Plastic Hearts. A mature 15-track record inspired by late-70s/early-80s acts such as Blondie, Fleetwood Mac and Joan Jett, it’s a feast of glam rock-inspired pop.
Similarly to her older sister Miley, Noah began her career very young, acting in Disney shows ( including her sister's Hannah Montana), buit quickly garnered a loyal fan-base in the pop world following her collaboration with Labrinth on 'Make Me Cry'.
Find new music on the Discover Hub
This page was originally published 13/09/2018 and updated on 27/07/2021
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