Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids

Grateful Dead

You've seen that skull with the lightning bolt on it? That's the Grateful Dead logo. Their singer, Jerry Garcia, died in 1995, but there are dozens of bands that sound like them now that took their place.

Beyond that, if you ever get into the Dead, just be careful, Okay? Don't get into strange vans, and if there is a shower nearby, just jump in.

(See also: Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane)

Fleetwood Mac

A lot of the indie bands right now with twentysomething guys and girls in the band steal most of their sound from Fleetwood Mac. This is your grandmother's favorite band, and chances are she used to dress like one of their singers, this witch lady named Stevie Nicks, who danced with scarves.

She may have done drugs, too, but she will ignore the question and instead ask if you want ice cream and a new PlayStation.

(See also: Elton John, Todd Rundgren, Carole King)


Oh boy. A few months ago on American Idol, they had a judge on there named Steven Tyler, who sort of looks like a baseball glove with hair. He sings for Aerosmith, and has for over 40 years. I think they even played one or two songs on Idol.

Anyhow, they had some great albums in the '70s, did a lot of bad stuff and haven't recovered since. In the '80s and '90s, they made some really interesting music videos that your dad used to watch with the sound down. They still play shows, but it's kind of awkward.

(See also: Guns 'N Roses, Van Halen)


My Voice Nation Help

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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