Coming of Age music

10 1/2 bands your kids need to know

It would be hard to find someone that doesn’t love music or say that it has not influenced their life in some way. We all are certainly no different. And as parents, it was inevitable that the musical influences with which we grew up would be shared with our children as well.

For many of us, music has had an enormous impact and influence on our lives. There were the songs that got us through that first break-up and the loss we felt the first time someone close to us died. There were the songs that made us dance and sing in our bedrooms with the door closed (think Kodachrome) and those that had guitar solos that made our chests and arms tingle with an explosion of simultaneous awe and joy. There were songs that made us cry, cringe, and laugh.

It is a true constant in my life and one that I feel strongly that I need to share with my children.


We all have our own “greatest bands of all time” lists with which we grew up. We love those bands both for their lyrical genius and for the raw musicality and emotion they conjure. In short, these are the bands that inspired us and changed how we thought about the world. We were given the gift of music and it is that powerful influence I hope to share with my children.

If I were to name 10 bands I wanted my kids to know about, they would include the following:

1. Nirvana
2. Eric Clapton
3. The Cure
4. U2
5. Simon & Garfunkel
6. Van Morrison
7. Patti Smith / Lenny Kravitz (tie)
8. Led Zeppelin
9. John Coltrane
10. Bruce Springsteen

I’m not talking the Laurie Berkner type (although my kids love Laurie just the same!) but rather the music that we grew up on and taught us about life, love, hardship, fortitude, family, politics, and what it’s like to feel alive.

Of course this list may change depending on the generation you grew up in, but whoever you would include in a top 10, I would encourage you to share that music with your children. I guess us parents just need to keep an open mind as far as their top 10 lists no matter how hard that might seem!

What bands shaped you and your generation? Which ones were so influential on your life that you feel obligated to share with your children as well? And see if you can keep it to only the top 10 (or 10 1/2)!!

Trust me, that was hard.

Bill Shakespeare once wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

So let’s do that. Play on, and pass it on.

Comments (2)

  1. Nirvana-? Really-? I mean I like Nirvana, but they do not and should not make this list. and Lenny Kravitz -? How about Lou Reed over Patti Smith ? No Beatles or Stones -? or Frank Sinatra-?,,,,I mean Pearl Jam over Nirvana all day long. Stevie Ray or Stevie Wonder. Sorry but this is really more of a personal taste list than a must know list. I do agree with some….Coltrane is interesting……But More than Miles? There are no Blues represented other than maybe clapton….You should expand your list to 15.

  2. Yeah, I can’t argue with you. Definitely need 15 at least. It is most definitely a personal list as I never cared for Lou Reed and have always loved Patti Smith (my very first concert actually). As far as the Beatles, the list was supposed to have Lennon but I messed that up. Ooops. And I would have to agree with you that Pearl Jam should replace Nirvana. Coltrane and Miles were a toss up – but I find myself listening more to Coltrane. I added Lenny just to see who was paying attention. 🙂 Thanks for reading!