Explaining Classic Rock Bands to Kids

Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton is weird, but not in a Yo Gabba Gabba way. When he was young and in his twenties and thirties, he was in some awesome bands, like the Yardbirds and Cream, and hung out with some pretty rad people.

But then he got soft, went to rehab and has been making boring blues records since at least a decade before you were born. Stick with Cream and you will be good. It's like the Black Keys, but way better.

(See also: Robert Johnson, Jeff Beck)

Van Halen

Now your dad will probably tell you that there are two Van Halens: one with David Lee Roth -- this crazy rich kid who makes up words -- and then there was one with Sammy Hagar singing for them. It's easier to think of them as two separate bands that have nothing to do with each other.

So it breaks down like this: Do you like to drink a lot of Red Bull and jump on trampolines and talk to only the hot girls in class? Listen to Van Halen's first self-titled playlist. Otherwise, find yourself a copy of 5150. What else are you allergic to, besides having a good time?

(See also: Poison, Quiet Riot, Motley Crue)

ZZ Top

You're a kid, so it's hard to explain how awesome ZZ Top is, without mentioning adult...things. Okay, to start off, I am sure you know they are famous for their beards, they are from the great state of Texas -- which you should feel blessed to have been born in -- and if you listen to them loud enough, they can make any day better. It's science.

(See also: Barbecue, sweat, Lightnin' Hopkins)

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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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