Top 5 Musical Dynasties

It’s one thing to be a renowned singer/songwriter on one’s own, but it’s another to pass those genes on to the next generation. For the five families below, that’s precisely what happened. Across generations, there have been family trees that document the history of music from The Carter Family breaking ground in country music in Virginia in the 1920s to Berry Gordy introducing a new sound with Motown 40 years later. Check out five of the best musical dynasties below.

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1. The Jackson Family

There’s perhaps no greater family dynasty than that of The Jacksons. The Jackson 5 – comprised of half of the Jackson family siblings Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie – were a groundbreaking group in the 1960s, notably with Michael as lead singer. This helped catapult him into superstardom, with the late icon largely regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of all time. But he’s just one of the talented members of the family. Sister Janet Jackson has also had an illustrious career as an R&B singer, while brother and former bandmate Jermaine also had a solo career, starting in 1972 with his hit cover of Shep and the Limelites’ “Daddy’s Home.” After Michael’s death in 2009, The Jacksons have continued to perform off and on since 2012.

2. The Carter Family

The legacy of the Carter Family dynasty dates back to the 1920s. The family band of patriarch and matriarch A.P. and Maybelle Carter, respectively, and their daughter Sara Carter broke new ground as the first vocal group to become country stars. “Can the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Washbash Cannonball” are among their hits. This paved the way for June Carter Cash, the daughter of Ezra Carter who was the manager of the Carter Family. In addition to singing as part of the Carter family and famous duets with her husband Johnny Cash like “Jackson” and “If I Were a Carpenter,” Carter-Cash also released several solo albums before her death in 2003.

Carter and Cash’s children also followed in their musical footsteps. Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash from his previous marriage is also a famous singer/songwriter, while the only child Cash and Carter had together, John Carter Cash, is a singer/songwriter and accomplished producer. John Carter Cash has worked with artists including Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.

3. The Gordy Family

Berry Gordy altered the course of music history when he founded Motown Records in 1959, paving the way for future icons Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, the Supremes and many more. He was also a hit songwriter, having co-penned such timeless classics as “ABC” and “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5, as well as “Shop Around” by the Miracles. Gordy passed his musical genius onto his kin, including his son Stefan (known as Redfoo) and grandson Skyler (known as the stage name Sky Blu) who make up the duo LMFAO known for hits like “Party Rock Anthem” and “Sexy and I Know It.”

[RELATED: Top 10 All-Family Bands]

4. The Dylan Family

Like Motown founder Berry Gordy, Bob Dylan’s musical lineage is reflected in his offspring. It all starts with the prolific patriarch, who’s widely considered one of the greatest songwriters of his generation with timeless anthems like “The Times They Are a-Changin'” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” He passed his way with words down to his many children, including son Jakob, most popularly known as the frontman of The Wallflowers. Dylan’s eldest son Jesse is a famous filmmaker, while his ex-wife Carolyn Dennis and the daughter they had in secret, Desiree, are also singers.

5. The Gibb Brothers

The Bee Gees were trailblazers in the disco era in the 1970s. The trio of brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb are known for their distinct falsetto voices that flew high on such classic hits as “Stayin’ Alive” and “Night Fever.” While their parents weren’t particularly musical, the brothers formed a dynasty all their own, spearheading the disco movement through such efforts as penning many of the songs on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack that earned them five Grammy Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year. When thinking of an everlasting musical family legacy, the Gibb brothers are bound to come to mind.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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