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It’s All Relatives: The Best Family Musical Acts

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Musical talent, it seems to me, runs in families. I make this assumption not only because no one in my family can sing a note – my sisters and I are hoping to soon release our first album Like Fingernails on a Chalkboard – but also because certain families are just musically inclined.

There are fictional singing families like the Brady Bunch, and real life singing families like the Von Trapps. There's everything from siblings who can sing, like the brothers from Hanson, to mother and daughter acts, like The Judds. Musical ties are often family ties, and sometimes the greatest singing acts can thank their DNA instead of their lucky stars. The following is our list of the best family musical acts, those that are the mother of all talent.

The Jackson 5: The Jackson family is to music what the Kennedy family is to politics. Arguably the greatest family musical act of all time, not only did the Jackson 5 spawn the King of Pop, but the Jackson 5 was, in itself, one of the largest phenomenons in music history. A band that began in 1962 in Gary, Indiana, the Jackson 5 was formed by the family patriarch, Joseph Jackson. After being signed to the Motown label, the Jackson 5 became the first group to have their first four singles climb to the top of the charts. They eventually went on to become among the most well-received bands in the business, and a band, continuing until 1990, that transcended decades. The Jackson 5 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

The Osmonds: Some are a little bit country and some are a little bit rock and roll. The Osmonds were made up of brothers Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, and for some amount of time, Donny and Jimmy. After starting their careers at Disneyland, The Osmonds became regular faces on The Andy Williams Show and broke through to the charts with their hit, "One Bad Apple." The group as a whole went on to achieve both critical and fan success, particularly in the United Kingdom, remaining one of the few acts to retain "boy next door" images while playing rock. Donny Osmond and his sister Marie each became solo artists and starred together in a variety show called Donny and Marie. The variety show remained on air for three years and helped them gain international success as a duo.

The Everly Brothers: A literal band of brothers, Don and Phil Everly formed a duo in the 1950s and quickly put the concept of steel string guitars and harmony on the map. Starting off performing with their parents, who were country musicians, the Everly Brothers made it on their own by taking their country roots and meshing them with rock and a natural talent for songwriting. Their legacy remains one of the greatest in music: they had a total of 26 Billboard Top 40 Hits, they were elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, they received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1997, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rolling Stone Magazine, in 2004, included them in their list of 100 Greatest Artists of all Time, listing them at number 33.

The Carpenters: Made up of a brother and sister who did away with sibling rivalry and, instead, sang love songs to one another, The Carpenters were record breakers and trend setters. A duo comprised of Karen and Richard Carpenter, The Carpenters crafted themselves as leaders in the genre of soft rock. They added melodies and harmonies to their music, creating something that was both unique and appealing. One of the most influential and important adult contemporary acts of all times, The Carpenters produced a record fifteen number one songs and remain one of the best selling musical artists of all time. What could have been, however, no one will know: Karen Carpenter, at the age of 32, died on February 4, 1983 of cardiac arrest, brought on by her battle with anorexia. On October 12, 1983, The Carpenters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Pointer Sisters: Originally made up of four siblings, The Pointer Sisters eventually became a trio, consisting of June, Anita, and Ruth Pointer. Sister Bonnie left the group to pursue a solo career. During the 1970s and the 1980s, The Pointer Sisters saw success that transcended genres; they brought pop, country, jazz, dance, rock, and rhythm and blues together successfully. Their biggest hits include "He's So Shy," "Slow Hand," "I'm So Excited," and "Jump." They received Grammy Awards for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or a Group with Vocal, and Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices. They were also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005. In Spring of 2006, June Pointer died of cancer. Her sisters were at her bedside.

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About JM Jordan

  • http://www.grayflannelsuit.net Chris

    Sorry, but you included the Pointer Sisters and not the Beach Boys?

  • Che

    The Carpenters? *shudder*

    My vote goes to the Louvin Brothers.

  • Maura

    Family bands that deserve to be mentioned…..somewhere.

    1. Hanson Amazing harmonies, catchy melodies, straight up good music.

    2. Family Force 5 Punk/funk Christian band that has a really edgey dance sound

    3. Eisley Amazing sweet harmonies, beautiful guitar and dreamy electric piano arrangements. Their lyrics just blow me away!

  • zingzing

    jesus christ, you missed everyone…

    the beach boys, the staple singers, jesus and mary chain, louvin brothers, the kinks… i could go on…

    and you included all the crap… the osmonds? the carpenters? this is the “mother of all talent?” what the hell…

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    I think Ms Jordan should stick to food and avoid music, although I hope her taste buds are better than her taste!

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “The following is our list”

    Our list?? So it took more than one person to come up with such a sad list? This along with your TV Theme Song choices makes me question if you are intentionally leaving off obvious choices to garner comments.

  • Mother Moonie

    Well, I don’t care what anyone says… the Osmonds… the Carpenters… the Everly Brothers… they all rock. They kept music clean and enjoyable.

  • zingzing

    clean maybe… but enjoyable? i dunno. it’s about as enjoyable as sticking cotton candy up your ass then sitting on an anthill…

    “clean” doesn’t matter one bit really, unless you’re blasting it in front of children.

  • East Coast Fan

    What about The Cowsills?

  • http://www.carponline.bravepages.com Rick Henry

    I have to agree with most everybody here. The Pointer Sisters and Osmonds should have been left off of this list. I would have instead put Beach Boys, Hanson and The Judds in their place.

    Now The Carpenters do truly belong on this list… their music is classic. the musicianship is intense and extremely well produced and Karen Carpenter is one of the world’s finest vocalists of all-time. Many say Karen is the world’s finest vocalist who has ever lived.

    I also like Everly brothers – their contribution to the music scene is indisputable.

    The Jackson 5 is okay… though they did make some pretty decent music and they certainly hold their place in music history.

  • J.L.M

    The Carpenters RULE. The Carter family should probably make the list too

  • RJP

    how ’bout the Bee Gees? geez, the group with the most successful song catalogue of all time isn’t even on the list…

  • Miranda

    just a shame not to include in the list The Bee Gees!!!!!

  • CQScafidi

    The Sylvers were as worthy as the Pointers.
    Also, what about Sister Sledge?