Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids

David Bowie

I could sit here and explain every single David Bowie reinvention, but I think it's best that you figure him out yourself. You've heard his stuff in Wes Anderson movies, and "Changes" was in a Lindsay Lohan movie. Lady Gaga and Madonna really wish they could be as cool as him, but they will never be.

Bowie may also make you feel kinda funny in a way that you have never felt before. That's natural. It gets better. You aren't alone.

(See also: Lou Reed, T. Rex, Iggy Pop, Brian Eno, Urban Outfitters)

The Who

You know that song on the beginning of all the CSI shows your mom watches while she folds clothes? That's the Who. They had pretty much the world's second most-badass drummer until he died from drinking too much. Most of the best classic rockers did.

Their early stuff from the '60s was kinda like **well-dressed punk-rock, and then they got older and started using synths and thinking about being young. Worth checking out, especially the album with the dudes peeing on a concrete slab.

(See also: The Animals, The Pretty Things, hearing loss)

**Check out the Kinks once you get through with The Who, led by two brothers who tried to kill each other for more than 30 years. They started out kinda punk, then got into country -- seriously -- and then got really. really awful.

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Led Zeppelin

Oh, man, these dudes were the best. Super-loud, lots of slide guitar, drums that sounded like thunder, but with a little folk thrown in. Though Zeppelin has had songs in car commercials, don't count them out. All their album covers had crazy-looking old ruins on them, too, which you can easily draw on the back of textbooks.

They only sang about wizards, mountains and time. If you like The Lord of the Rings or you are lucky enough to get to watch Game of Thrones -- plus you like loud guitars -- this will be your new favorite band.

(See also: Blue Cheer, Mountain, Deep Purple)

Jimi Hendrix

This guy was an alien from a planet billions of light-years away whose only export was rock guitarists. You will never be as great at the guitar as he was if you played for the next **100 years.

**Though the men in your family will tell you that Stevie Ray Vaughan should be in this slot.

(See also: Prince, Santana)

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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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