Five Famous Musician Dads and Sons

We know fathers can genetically pass on lots of things to their sons. Eye color, height, hair, but can they pass on their extreme musical prowess to their beloved children? Research can provide no conclusive answers. But today, in the spirit of Father’s Day, we’re going to take a look at five convincing examples of talented musician fathers who may have passed on their melodic abilities to their sons.

Bob Marley and his sons, Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley

Bob-Marley 3
Eddie Mallin, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s start off with the most convincing example of all.

One of the most prominent Jamaican singers of all time, Robert Nesta Marley, a.k.a. Bob Marley, was a singer and songwriter who would go on to become an international musical legend and icon (some would even argue ‘prophet’).

After leaving his original band, The Wailers, Bob Marley struck out on his own creating a mix of ska, reggae and rocksteady in his sound. Known for his good vibes and relentless positive energy, it’s safe to say that being around him was most definitely an inspirational experience.

Before passing away at the young age of 36 from melanoma, Marley would father eleven children. His musical prowess would be absorbed by at least three of his kids – Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Damian Marley. And this isn’t a case of nepotism, where the kids are bums working off of their Daddy’s name. These guys have real talent.

The (arguably) most famous and firstborn, is Ziggy, who has earned an impressive seven Grammys. The three brothers are still very active in the music industry. While they have followed in their father’s footsteps, they are also responsible for some successful hip-hop crossovers.

John Bonham and Jason Bonham

Led Zeppelin - Plant and Bonham
JimmyGuano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

John Bonham was the famous and renowned drummer of Led Zepplin. He became known for his power, bass drumming and sheer speed with the drumsticks. Consistently in the discussion for greatest drummer of all time, Rolling Stone magazine went ahead and bestowed the honor to him when they granted him number one on their listing of greatest drummers of all time. Before his early death at 32 years of age, his son, Jason Bonham, entered the music industry. At times playing with his band, Foreigner, Jason even played with Led Zepplin during their reunion concert.


Bob Dylan and Jakob Dylan

Bob Dylan in Toronto1
Jean-Luc, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bob Dylan wasn’t just a singer. He was an author, painter and poetic songwriter. The latter of which earned him a 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. This is huge, because Dylan was the first musician to ever do such a thing, causing some controversy among his peers. Needless to say, Bob Dylan’s lyrics are more than catchy— they’re powerful, philosophical and can stand the test of time.

During the 1960s, Dylan’s music was seen as a rallying call for anti-war and civil rights movements at the time. “Blowin’ in The Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changing,” are usually cited as examples of political songs that really changed the way some Americans thought.

That’s a lot to live up to! While Jakob Dylan might not be quite as legendary as his father, he has put together a magnificent career in his own right. He’s the lead singer of the band, The Wallflowers, who have released a total of six albums together. Rolling Stone magazine included their song, “One Headlight” as number 58 in their list of 100 Greatest Pop Songs.

Will Smith and Jaden Smith

Witte, Martin via Flickr












These days, Will Smith is much more renowned for his acting abilities. He’s nabbed some Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, never having actually won. But you know what he has won? Grammys. Four to be exact. Let’s not forget that Will Smith began his career as a massively popular music artist. He started out as the MC for the hip hop duo, “DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince.”

After the group was discovered by Russell Simmons and Jive Records, Smith would win two Grammys as a group and two more for his solo ventures. At the tender age of 19, his son, Jaden Smith already has his single, “Icon” become certified gold by the RIAA. Jaden started out in the film industry and has slowly shifted much of his efforts into music, taking a somewhat opposite approach to his father’s success. But with his anticipated follow-up to Syre coming out July 2018, it seems to have worked out for him just fine.

Paul McCartney and James McCartney

Eddie Janssens, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sir James Paul McCartney… does anything else really need to be said? You might have heard of a very popular band he was in called, The Beatles. The Beatles are commonly seen as the most influential thing to ever happen to pop music. Let’s go over some of his achievements: Two time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (once for being a member of The Beatles and again for his solo endeavors), co-written or written 32 songs that have reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100, he was knighted for his services to music, an 18-time Grammy Award winner, and his net worth… okay, we’ll be here all day talking about Paul McCartney’s achievements. This guy is a certified legend.

So it comes as a humbling surprise to learn that his only son, James McCartney, was eager to step into the music industry without using his father’s last name. At one point, he went by the moniker, “Light.” After collaborating with his father on albums Flaming Pie and Driving Rain, he would eventually embrace the family name and make albums Me and Blueberry Train.


Dads are pretty great. But so are moms! Check out our Favorite Musician Moms

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