Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids

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The Beatles

You know how chicks at school really like Justin Bieber and One Direction? Imagine if you combined the two things -- stay with me -- and added loud guitars and suits, and kept the Bieber haircuts.

On top of that, you have parents who are still kinda boring and dull and don't get it. It's hard to express how important the Beatles were to your grandparents and parents, but don't let that turn you off from them. You can always show them to friends and look cool later on when they finally "get" the Beatles. Get their album "playlist" Revolver from iTunes, and start from there.

(See also: The Monkees, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr)

Bob Dylan

"This dude doesn't know how to sing," you may say after you listen to few Bob Dylan songs. He wheezes, he sings riddles and there is harmonica. Sounds like the stuff that you hear in the coffee shop on Saturday mornings when dad reads the paper.

This stuff made your grandparents feel like adults, even when they couldn't drive or even vote. Once you get your heart broken, I mean really bashed in, Dylan will make a whole lot of sense. For now, have fun figuring out what the hell he is trying to say.

(See also: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel)

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The Rolling Stones

Johnny Depp's dad isn't in this band, I promise. It would be cool, and make total sense, but no. That's Keith Richards, who did more drugs than anyone ever in existence. He plays lead guitar. Mick Jagger is the lead singer.

Okay, you know that Maroon 5 song "Moves Like Jagger"? It's about being able to dance like him, which is pretty hard but people still try. He was really stealing it all from James Brown....

(See also: The Faces, X, Social Distortion, lust)

**James Brown was this little guy with great hair who wore really tight pants. Pretty much the greatest funk singer and dancer who ever lived. Check him out too.

The Doors

The Doors had a lead singer named Jim Morrison, who sang poems -- weird, huh? -- that his band set to this, like, circus music. He had a big Hagrid-looking beard for a while. Another guy who drank too much and died, though if he had lived, he probably wouldn't have been as cool as he was when he was young, and been playing wacky grandpas on sitcoms by now.

(See also: The Cult, Jane's Addiction, dreamcatchers)

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Hey Craig, what would you tell your kids about Journey?


The blog post that launched a thousand debates.  Seems like just another list, but the 'introducing classic rock to a kid' spin is cool.


Might start with 'Rocket 88', the Sun catalog, old time Gospel, then move through Buddy Holly to the lull before the Beatles (Paul Anka, et al) ... but that's just another route to take.


Nice Friday topic - Thanks.


I would like to express my gratitude for the tactical absence of bands like Boston, Golden Earring, RamJam and the Mick Jagger solo stuff. Kids don't need to know about that.


MadMac topcommenter

Not blessed with kids, (and having a terminal allergy to the adoption process) I truly enjoy the experiences of other parents. I live next to a cat old enough to remember being too broke to go to Beatles/LedZep/Jimi shows. His teen kid raids the LP box and quizzes him on the music. That was me with the old man's books, (not magazines, trust) and I grew up reading Hemingway, Faulkner & Sinclair. I believe there's not a lot of explanation needed. Your kids want to know what you are/were into and they'll "get" the music or they won't and no amount of explanation will make a difference. Fun article, Mr. Hlavaty.


@hprocksoff I try to do this with my kids. Actually was working on female rock musicians to share with my daughter.


@WraithofKhan I could totally help you with that one: Heart, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Kim Gordon, No Doubt, Christine McVie etc etc etc.


 @a-ramak mine? Greatest female-fronted rock band ever. Now what would he say about Stevie Nicks' solo work is what I wanna know!


@WraithofKhan I'd also recommend Kate bush and Florence and the machine

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