Thirty greatest sibling acts in rock and roll history

There have been a lot of rock bands that have had siblings as part of the group.
Van Halen in concert
Van Halen in concert / Lynn Goldsmith/GettyImages
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CCR released seven albums between 1968 and 1972. The middle five all hit the top ten, with two of them going to number one. Despite that success, guitarist Tom Fogerty quit the band after album number 6, 1970’s Pendulum. He had grown frustrated with the increasing control his brother John was displaying. It was not merely another case of sibling rivalry. The other two non-related members of the band would stick around for one more record before following Tom out the door, leaving John to pursue a successful solo career.

But they sure did have that magic for a brief period at the end of the ‘60s. Nine top-ten hits in just three years. To be sure, most of that success is attributable to John, who wrote and sang most of the songs, in addition to playing lead guitar. But just like Mark Knopfler’s brother David in Dire Straits, Tom was in the studio for most of it, playing and singing along with his older brother.


Earl was the drummer. His older brother Paul, who went by the stage name H.R., sang. Most people who had the privilege of seeing them live believe that if H.R. had been entirely focused on musical success, they might have become one of the biggest bands in the world. H.R.’s energized and highly idiosyncratic vocal stylings paired perfectly with Gary Miller (AKA Dr. Know) and his squealing guitar. Earl, along with bass player Darryl Jenifer, kept the propulsive beat driving relentlessly forward.

Their first three albums, culminating in 1986’s I Against I, put them on the cusp of stardom. But they simply couldn’t build on it, in part because of H.R.’s restless insistence on exploring many different styles of music on subsequent releases. It led to some unevenness, and no studio album could ever capture their frenetic live shows.


Unlike several of the other bands mentioned above, the fact that neither Young brother fronted their band did not diminish their footprint. Both Bon Scott and Brian Johnson were formidable singers, but the twin guitars of the Young brothers are what defined AC/DC.

Malcolm is probably the most highly-regarded rhythm guitarist in rock history. One chord was usually all it took to recognize a Malcolm Young riff. Angus added his soaring solos to many of their songs.

For more than forty years, the Young brothers wrote and played together, charting albums and singles in the top 20 throughout the 1980s. Malcolm’s final album with his brother, 2008’s Black Ice shot to number one across the world and went platinum many times over. After that, Malcolm was forced to retire due to poor health. He would pass away in 2017. His legacy was carried on by Stevie Young, nephew to both Malcolm and Angus, on two more hugely successful albums.


Heart is among the most underrated rock and roll bands there has ever been. Between 1975 and 1993, they put twenty singles into the top 20, as well as placing all ten of their albums released in that time into the top-forty as well. In the late ‘80s, they had three straight albums hit the top three. Maybe it’s because they were fronted by a woman and featured her sister on lead guitar.

But at the same time, it is important to point out that Heart may be the first female-fronted rock band that wasn’t typically identified as a “girl” band. They weren’t a “girl group.” They weren’t riot grrrls. They were simply a rock band. They had a fabulous lead singer and an excellent guitar player. They cranked out first-rate rock and roll. And they did it for a very long time.