8 great musicians your kids should know

January 22, 2021 - 10:36 AM

Our kids all have their favourite bands and artists growing up but the parental influence on them is great too. So do your children know some of the real greats? My parents filled me full of country music whilst my children grew up appreciating the beats of garage and funky house music. Even now those beats grace their Spotify accounts.

Aretha Franklin

She was the original Queen of Soul, a singer-songwriter-pianist who was also a major civil rights activist. Like so many famous musicians, Franklin’s early life was challenging; her family moved around a lot, eventually landing in Detroit. This positioned Franklin perfectly to be part of the emerging Motown scene.

Frank Sinatra

Long before Justin Bieber, Sinatra was wooing the girls of the bobby-sox generation with recordings of love songs, jazz hits, and musical theater numbers. His swinging performance style came to define the genre, and inspired fellow members of The Rat Pack like Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. 

Louis Armstrong

It’s unique and full of emotion, surely one of the reasons he’s one of the most famous musicians of all time. His music spans the jazz songbook, and like Ella Fitzgerald, he was a master of scat. But don’t forget to explore his trumpet playing, where he was a true virtuoso. 

Ray Charles

When Ray Charles lost his sight at the young age of 6, no one could have imagined he’d go on to pioneer the genre of music known as soul, with a career spanning over 50 years. His true joy in music shines through when he performs, and songs like “Hit the Road, Jack” will captivate even young listeners. 

Elvis Presley

If Frank Sinatra was one of the first singers to inspire teenage obsession, Elvis Presley might be the most well-known. His swinging hips thrilled teenage girls (and horrified parents at the time), while his music charmed all listeners. He quickly became one of America’s most famous musicians, with hits like “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” Elvis’s flashy style captivated audiences around the world, and his early death was one of the music world’s great tragedies. A personal favourite of mine -even those cheesy movies of his were heartwarming.

Joni Mitchell

Mitchell’s simple music is easily accessible for kids of any age, but her lyrics are more complex and inspiring. Her folk songs perfectly captured the mood of the late 1960s, and her style changed as she grew. Mitchell has long been an activist for civil rights and the environment.

Dolly Parton

Dolly's journey is a true rags-to-riches tale. Born very poor in the Smoky Mountains, her life changed at age 10 when she started performing professionally. Her music spans a wide range of genres, from folk tunes to pop hits, with plenty of homey country style. Her effervescent personality makes her a joy to watch, and her song-writing skills are legendary.

Ella Fitzgerald

When it comes to jazz, Ella Fitzgerald is undoubtedly one of the greats. Known as “The First Lady of Song,” she dominated the American music stage for over fifty years, collaborating with many other well-known musicians at the time. Fitzgerald faced discrimination despite her enormous popularity, and her story is as inspirational as her talent.

Of course all our personal accounts of 'the greats' will differ from person to person, but history and music intertwine so why not bop around to something from your childhood today? Let us know who some of your greats are.

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