Famous Mother and Daughter Musical Duos

Some families seem to have music written into the strands of their DNA. You’ve heard of the Jackson 5 and the Bee Gees. There’s Liam and Noel Gallagher who made up the creative, fraternal force behind Oasis, and the sisterly duo, Ann and Nancy Wilson, who led the 70s rock band, Heart, to the top of the chards. The list of familial bonds between bandmates goes on, with such contemporary groups as First Aid Kit, Arcade Fire, HAIM, and the Avett Brothers leading the pack.

mother and daughter musical duos
Mother and Daughter Making Music

You might notice something as your peruse this list of family-based bands. The ones who get the longest time under the spotlight are siblings who have come together to play some music. But that’s not to say only brothers and sisters can have all of the fun. You and your daughter know that from experience. It’s how you, armed with the Gibson guitar of your dreams, and her, kitted out with her instrument of choice, have capitalized on the mother-daughter bond and taken advantage of your cross-generational experience to jam with the best of them.

You wouldn’t be alone, either. There are a few famous cases where moms and their daughters have come together and bonded over music just as successfully as any sibling-led band today. In fact, there are three in particular who stand out for the impression they’ve made on contemporary music. While there are surely countless of unknown mothers and daughter simply making music in their kitchens, dens, and backyards across the world, the Judds, Cash-Carters, and McGarrigle-Wainwrights get the focus today.

The Judds
When it comes to country music, the Judds are legends in the country world. Naomi and her daughter Wynonna produced a number of top hits together during the 80s and 90s, including Mama He’s Crazy, Change of Heart, and Why Not Me.

The Cash-Carters
Move over Johnny, it’s June, Carlene, and Roseanne’s time. While Carlene Carter and her stepsister, Roseanne Cash, are now known for their separate careers on the road, they first started as backup singers supporting their mother, June, in the early 60s.

The McGarrigle-Wainwrights
Though this infamous family is known for two more members (father Loudon and son Rufus) and particularly the dysfunction when all four of them were together, Kate McGarrigle and her daughter, Martha Wainwright, set aside differences and performed special events and concerts before Kate’s death in 2010.

So who says you have to be a brother or sister in order to make music together? Certainly not any of these mother-daughter duos.You may not have a platinum-selling discography under your belt like the Judds or the reputation in folk or country like the Cash-Carters and McGarrigle-Wainwrights. But when you’ve got your favorite Gibson guitar in hand and your daughter by your side, does it matter? The music you make together is what counts. After all, it’s practically written in your DNA.


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