7 Bands Formed by Siblings

Sibling groups in music are nothing new. Some of the biggest bands in modern music have been composed of siblings, many of whom honed their talents together during their childhood. Superstar sibling groups have ranged from the Andrews Sisters to the Jacksons and the Jonas Brothers. Many of these had worldwide hits as a group before paving the way for impressive solo careers. Here are a few more sibling-founded bands that helped define their genres.

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1. The Carpenters 

The Carpenters were a defining band of the 1970s, helping shape the decade’s sound. Composed of brother and sister Richard and Karen Carpenter, the duo signed a record deal in 1969. They found almost immediate success due to their instrumental talents and Karen Carpenter’s unique vocals.

Their style of soft rock, featuring gentle harmonies and pioneering vocal effects, made them one of the decade’s biggest bands. The Carpenters are remembered for hits such as “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “(They Long To Be) Close To You.” Sadly, their time as a duo was cut short by Richard’s addiction to Quaaludes and Karen’s struggles with anorexia, which caused her death in 1983 at 32. 

2. The Chicks

The Chicks, formerly styled as The Dixie Chicks, are one of the most famous female ensembles on the modern country scene. But many people don’t know that two of the founding members are sisters. They started in 1989 as a four-woman group with sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer, as well as vocalist Robin Lynn Macy and bassist Laura Lynch. Maguire and Strayer had played instruments together since they were young—in fact, the Chicks wasn’t their first sibling venture into bluegrass. 

Though they were successful throughout their early years in the group, it wasn’t until lead vocalist Natalie Maines joined the group that they became a major hit. Today, The Chicks consists of Strayer, Maguire, and Maines. The band has won countless awards for their contributions to country music, including 13 Grammy Awards. 

3. The Beach Boys 

The Beach Boys are primarily associated with the advent of surfer rock, though they also influenced genres such as psychedelic rock and power pop. The band started in the early 1960s with brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, who often listened to music in their shared bedroom. 

They started experimenting with different genres and playing in their garage, managed by their father, Murry Wilson. They soon added their cousin Mike Love and schoolmate Al Jardine. Finding almost instantaneous success with their song “Surfin’ USA,” the Beach Boys came to define the “surfer culture” sound of the 1960s and 1970s. 

4. The Bee Gees 

The Bee Gees are almost synonymous with the disco genre thanks to hits such as “Stayin’ Alive.” But the trio started much earlier in the late 1950s, experimenting with rock and roll and skiffle. Composed of brothers Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb, the band performed in local event venues throughout Sydney. They became moderately popular during the 1960s and had several international hits. However, they are best remembered for their contributions to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. 

As one of the best-selling bands in history, almost no one is more closely linked with disco music than the Bee Gees. To this day, their distinctive style of solid rhythms, layered harmonies, and prominent falsetto remain iconic parts of the genre. 

5. The Kinks

The 1960s brought the rise of rock and roll and the British Invasion, the era in which British rock bands gained international fame. One was The Kinks, formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies. As the only boys in a family of eight children and several years younger than their older sister, they were exposed to a wide variety of music, including rock and roll, jazz, blues, and classical genres. 

They began a band with several friends, releasing their first single in 1964. Their distorted, blaring style helped shape the emerging genre of modern rock and roll and influenced countless other bands, including ones that came a generation later.

6. The Proclaimers

Scottish duo The Proclaimers might be one of the most famous bands composed of identical twins, Craig and Charlie Reid. Inspired by the 1960s and 1970s pop-punk sound, they began playing in punk bands as teenagers. Their own style, however, fused punk with other genres, such as folk rock. 

Their first major hit was “Letters From America,” released in 1984. However, they are best known for their 1988 song “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, which became a worldwide hit. It remains an essential part of their set and is considered a classic thanks to their musical style and distinctive Scottish accents.

7. My Chemical Romance

No mention of the emo-punk movement of the early 2000s would be complete without a nod to My Chemical Romance. Lead vocalist Gerard Way was inspired to start a band after seeing the World Trade Center fall on September 11, 2001. He recruited his brother Mikey Way and friend Matt Pelissier as the bass guitarist and drummer, respectively; guitarist Frank Iero later joined them. 

My Chemical Romance significantly influenced the emo rock/punk genre and was one of the first bands to market their music via social media. One of the band’s biggest hits was the 2006 song “Welcome To The Black Parade,” which helped define their grandiose and often operatic style. 

Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

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