Been a long time since you rock 'n' rolled? It has been 40 years since Led Zeppelin released its colossal fourth album in November 1971, birthing such epic classic rock paragons like "Stairway to Heaven," "Rock and Roll" and "Misty Mountain Hop." Now, 31 years have also passed since Led Zeppelin lost its hard-hitting drummer John Bonham, but his son, Jason Bonham, hopes to invoke Led Zeppelin's hedonist arena rock ready sounds when he rolls into the Hard Rock Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on November 17.
This gig naturally got us thinking about all the famous musician offspring out there that follow in their parents' musical footsteps. Some, like Jeff Buckley (son of '60s folk singer Tim Buckley,) for instance, where able to strike a nerve and move on beyond the huge shadows cast by their celebrated parentage. Others, such as Bonham, do revival shows of their folks' songs to make an impressive living -- but there's no argument about which Bonham remains most revered.
Below, we evaluate other children of rock and roll idols and assess whether or not they've eclipsed their parents' gigantic shadows.
9. Norah Jones
Jazzy pop vocalist Norah Jones (Geethali Norah Jones Shankar,) was raised by her mother, concert producer Sue Jones, and was mostly estranged from her father, famed sitar player Ravi Shankar, during her childhood. She catapulted to success with the release of her 2002 effort Come Away With Me, which went multi-platinum and earner her eight Grammy awards. Since then Jones has won another Grammy and sold over 37 million records.
Bigger than Ravi? Mostly yes, depends who you ask though. With her throwback-style, harkening the soulful spirit of Etta James, Jones easily cut her own path. Grammy committees will concur. But ask anyone in transcendental music circles and Ravi Shankar reigns supreme (You know George Harrison would agree.)
8. Charlotte Gainsburg
The 40-year old daughter of French playboy and amatory singer-songwriter
Serge Gainsbourg seemed to have a head start by releasing an album with
her lady-killer father at the age of 15. It took her 20 years
before she released another album, 5:55. Featuring collaborations with
French duo Air, bespectacled Brit-pop star Jarvis Cocker and Irish
songwriter Neil Hannon, the album was a modest hit in indie world.
Bigger than Serge? Not even close, Serge's skirt-chasing philandering life essence will go down in the Casanova pantheon.
7. Rufus Wainwright
Son of noted autobiographical singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III,
Rufus Wainwright kicked off his music career in 1998 with a self-titled
debut that won him "Best New Artist" accolades from Rolling Stone. This
cabaret-infected album featuring rollicking piano ballads also won the
Juno Award for Best Alternative Album and the admiration of many industry insiders
Bigger than Loudon? Even Steven. Rufus was able to distance himself from his father with a silky tenor delivery that was worlds apart from his father's folk tongue-in-cheek style. Both are equally respected in their own styles.
6. Dweezil Zappa
The second of four siblings born to avant-garde rock icon Frank Zappa, Dweezil Zappa started as a MTV VJ in the '80s before turning to music. Since then Dweezil has made a career off his dad's experimentally humorous coattails, even going so far as commissioning an exact replica of his father's trademark Gibson SG axe -- which he uses on the bluntly named Zappa Plays Zappa Tour
Bigger than Frank? Are you kidding? Dweezil isn't even trying.
'80s headbangers might not recall that the Nelson twins, in all their flowing blond lock glory, were actually the sons of '50s teen idol Ricky Nelson. Inheriting not only dad's dazzling coif and good looks, but also his vocal skills and keen pop sensibilities , Gunnar and Matthew Nelson -- known professionally as, simply, Nelson -- had a number one hit in 1991 with the annoyingly token ballad "Love and Affection." Regrettably (or perhaps fortunately for him) Rick Nelson died in a plane crash five years prior to his sons' claim to fame video seen above.
Bigger than Ricky? Papa Nelson wins be a nudge. Nelson (band,) will go down in the history books as a one-hit-wonder.
4. Sean Lennon
When you are the son of a freaking Beatle, you have some pretty big shoes to fill. Hey, but Sean, the son of Yoko One and John Lennon, gave a valiant effort. Sean began his professional career with a stint in looping Japanese born duo Cibo Matto before releasing his solo début Into the Sun, in 1998. Into the Sun was a pretty dang impressive record, stylish and eclectic in all the right ways with a hint of his father's band's more summery moments.
Bigger than John? Unfair to even judge.
3. Ziggy, Damian "Junior Gong," Julian, Kymani and Stephen Marley (and more)
No doubt being born to the most spiritual and influential reggae star to ever walked the earth will cast a shadow, but all of Marley's sons and daughters that have taken to the microphone have managed to carve out their own niche within modern reggae's soundscape. They have succeed in sounding relevant while still paying respect for their Jah father.
Bigger than Bob? See Above (Sean Lennon.)
2. Elijah Blue Allman
You think with the pedigree Elijah Blue has--the son of Gregg Allman (of the Allman Brother's fame,) and Cher -- whatever he would emit musically would be intriguing to say the least. So is not the case, his nu-metal-meets-rap outfit, Deadsy, churns out dated arrgo industrial rock that sounds, at best like Korns' second coming, at worst a Linkin Park knock off.
Bigger than Gregg (and Cher)? Elijah is buried in his father's groovy Southern rock shadow.
1. Hank Williams III
Hank Williams III is a third generation swaggering country outlaw. True to him lineage, numero tres lived fast, being forced to sign a record contract only after being served with court papers to pay $60,000 in child support. Although he begun as a freewheeling punk, III settled into an alt-country visage, with a mysterious vocal cadence that sometimes is a dead ringer for his grandfather.
Bigger than Hank Sr.?: Gramps got Jr. and III beat.
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience. 8 p.m. Thursday, November 17 at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $39 to $59. Click here.
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