Over the weekend we became aware of the fact that Lady Gaga a) has a little sister named Natali Germanotta and b) that Natali is pretty stylish, just like her big sis. This got us thinking about all the other famous musicians out there with siblings that are just as talented as they are, even if they don't always get the credit they deserve.
DENNIS AND BRIAN WILSON
If you know the Beach Boys, you know Brian and Dennis. Brian has been described as a tragic genius, and has been credited as the creator of the most artful music made by an American pop composer. Brother Dennis Wilson, however, was a pretty interesting guy–he cowrote some of the Beach Boys' most famous songs, such as “South Bay Surfer”, “Friends”, and “Be Here in the Morning”. Also, he was the only Beach Boy who actually surfed. Sure, he hung out with Charles Manson and married the illegitimate daughter of his cousin and bandmate, but he also was a pretty talented artist in his own right. He released a solo album called Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977, which gained modest sales and critical acclaim. He drowned in 1983 so his solo artistic development–and his legacy–is sadly sparse. But it's clear from listening that Brian wasn't the only talented Wilson brother.
REV. RUN AND RUSSELL SIMMONS
Talk about talent. Reverend Joseph “Run” Simmons puts the Run in Run DMC and his brother Russell Simmons is a founder of Def Jam Records. Founded in 1984 by college student Rick Rubin, Simmons joined the nascent company shortly thereafter. By 1987, the label was behind a handful of gold and platinum releases and showed no signs of slowing down. Russell Simmons might not have invented rap, per se, but he might be accurately credited for the astonishing, widespread success of rap and hip hop today. As Salon's Jeff Stark put it,
As a young man, he heard a thriving, vibrant music in battered ghettos and solid middle-class black neighborhoods like his own and turned it up loud enough to blast suburban multiplexes and small-town burger joints. If Simmons hadn't mainstreamed rap, someone else certainly would have — the music was too potent, too necessary, too relevant to smoke without ever catching fire. The point is that Simmons lit the match.
Russell Simmons speaks in the video above about innovation and business, and given the vastness of his success, it's probably worth watching.
BEYONCE AND SOLANGE KNOWLES
Ima let you finish and then I'm going to tell you about Beyonce's sister Solange. Yes, Beyonce won six grammys last year, but sister Solange is also a pretty gifted singer, dancer and actor: in 2009, she recieved a Soul Train Nominatin for Best New Artist as well as a nomination for the BET Bet Centric Award. She's performed songs for a handful of television shows and movies and acted in seven movies, including the Ghost Whisperer and Bring it On: All or Nothing. If she were anyone else's little sister, this would be a pretty impressive CV! Check her out performing “I Decided” above.
KIM AND KELLY DEAL
Kim Deal might be the coolest person in the world. Also, the Dandy Warhols wrote a song about her and she was the bass player for the Pixies, one of the most critically acclaimed alterative bands in the 1980s. She also has a twin sister named Kelly, who joined Kim's band the Breeders in 1992 as a third guitarist, becoming lead guitar in 1993 when Tanya Donnelly quit the band. Kelly's public life has mostly been lived in the shadow of sister Kim, but talent runs deep in the Deal sisters and Kelly's music is also pretty rockin. After battling a heroin addiction in the mid-90s, Kelly formed The Kelly Deal 6000, releasing two albums on Nice Deal Records. Check out “Brillo Hunt” from the band's 1997 record Boom! Boom! Boom!.
LINK AND VERNON WRAY
Link Wray is known in part for pioneering a new sound and playing technique for the electric guitar–earned primarily in the song “Rumble”, which featured an overdriven tone and one of the earliest uses of the power chord. Little brother Vernon was a guitarist also, playing rhythm on “Rumble” and later establishing a solo music project and a DIY record label. Check out his chops on “Facing all the Same Tomorrows” off his sole solo album Wasted, just reissued on Sebastian Speaks.