Sometimes I think being one of the children of rock stars must be a double edged sword…

Last week, I was deathly ill with the latest strain of swine flu. As I could barely stand to be out of bed, I turned on the TV and flipped channels, finally settling on Showtime Extreme, which was showing The History of the Eagles. Having been born in the 70s and raised in the 80s, I have always loved The Eagles’ music and I enjoy a good documentary/tell all. I had read Don Felder’s Heaven or Hell: My Life In The Eagles (1974-2001) and enjoyed it, even though it really made Don Henley and Glenn Frey out to be jerks.

I was curious about what Don Felder was up to lately, so I did some Googling and learned that his daughter, Leah, married Bruce Jenner’s and Linda Thompson’s son, Brandon Jenner, in Hawaii. I also learned that Brandon and Leah are musicians. I had not heard their song, “Vaselene” before I got curious about what Don Felder’s daughter was up to. But hell, they even have a video! Brandon and Leah and smoking hot together, but though this song has been out awhile, I just found it.

Brandon & Leah perform “Vaselene” in a nifty video.

I’ve been curious about the children of rock stars for a long time. Back in the 80s, I remember being astonished when I heard Julian Lennon, elder son of John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia, since a short string of hits. Though I would say Julian’s music was not that much like his father’s, his voice was very similar. And he sure looked a lot like him, too. Julian had a few good songs in the mid 80s, but my personal favorite song by him is “Saltwater”, which he released in 1991. I discovered it when I was a disc jockey at my college. Sadly, as talented as he is, he hasn’t achieved the success his father enjoyed.

Julian Lennon’s beautiful song, “Saltwater”.

James Taylor and Carly Simon famously married in the 70s and produced two very talented children in daughter Sally and son Ben. Both have released albums of their own and have contributed to their parents’ work. Ben Taylor seems to have enjoyed more success than Sally has, though they are both blessed with fine voices and guitar skills. I particularly enjoy Ben Taylor’s music, since his voice is like an interesting hybrid of James Taylor’s, Livingston Taylor’s and Carly Simon’s, yet he’s also developed his own alternative style.

Ben Taylor sings a live acoustic rendition of his song, “Nothing I Can Do”.

Sally Taylor singing “Unsung Dance”.

Alexa Ray Joel is another of the more famous children of rock stars. She has launched her own career, following in the footsteps of her famous dad, Billy Joel. She has a nice voice and plays piano. Though her voice doesn’t really remind me of his, it’s definitely strong and capable.

Alexa Ray Joel sings her dad’s famous “Just The Way You Are” on Katie.

Lucy Walsh is the very talented daughter of Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. I remember hearing Joe Walsh once say that he’d never encourage his children to be rock stars or help them break into the business. Looks like Lucy didn’t need his help too much.

I think I might need to download this…

Willie Nelson and Arlo Guthrie each have musical daughters who have teamed up in Folk Uke, which is one of my favorite duos due to their irreverent sense of humor and penchant for swearing. Amy Nelson and Cathy Guthrie sing original songs and play guitar and ukelele with smashing results. These two seem to be gaining in popularity for good reason. I know Willie has joined his daughter on stage more than a few times, too.

I like “Shit Makes The Flowers Grow”. It feels like a metaphor for my life.

And here’s Olivia Newton-John’s daughter, Chloe Lattanzi, singing on Rock The Cradle. She has a very unusual voice. I think I’d rather listen to her mother sing, though I think I can understand why some people think she’s brilliant.

I am myself the daughter of musical parents, so I understand how the apple often doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to musical talent. Though I have often dreamt of being a musician for a living, I’m too camera shy to consider it. Plus, I’m too damn old. But it is fun to make music and it’s good for the soul, even if I’ll never be a headliner or even a church choir soloist like my dad was. Still, I can say with honesty that musical genes are hard to wash away or hide. It must be tough to be the child of a rock star and really talented in your own right, yet constantly compared to your parents.

My mother plays piano and organ brilliantly and was often employed by churches to play for services, weddings, and funerals. My dad was a singer with a good tenor voice who often sang in local groups and choirs. I didn’t sing until I was 18 years old and was taking a voice class in college. I had tried my hand at several musical instruments when I was growing up, but none of them stuck until I found out I was a singer. I remember the first time I sang a solo as my mom played organ. Some woman approached my mom afterwards and asked, “That was your daughter who sang?” My mom said I was hers and my dad’s daughter. And the woman quipped, “Wow! She didn’t get her voice from her father, did she?” I have to admit, that comment made me laugh.

Yes, it’s true that genes can be powerful motivators. I’m glad I took a few minutes to listen to the children of rock stars this morning. I think I may have started the new year off exposed to some new musical blood.