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Best Sibling Bands: 20 Groups Who Keep It In The Family
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List & Guides

Best Sibling Bands: 20 Groups Who Keep It In The Family

From soul sisters to brothers in arms, the best sibling bands prove that family groups can conquer the world.

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Across every era of rock and pop, there have always been artists who enjoy playing music with their brothers and sisters. In fact, that’s often where it starts – as children spend time together in the family home, they mess around with guitar, bass and drums in a garage, and no doubt annoy their parents with the godawful noise they make. It’s no surprise, then, that countless sibling bands have gone on to find fame, linked by the profound experience of having grown up together.

Bonded either by blood or family circumstance, there is a synchronicity from being closely related that gives these groups a unique edge. Whether you enjoy the often-tempestuous rivalry between Ray and Dave Davies of The Kinks, or the blissful brother-sister pairing of Carpenters, the music they make proves that a family connection is not only creatively fulfilling for the musicians, but also life-affirming for listeners, too. Here, then, is our list of the best sibling bands…

Best Sibling Bands: 20 Groups Who Keep It In The Family

20: Biffy Clyro

Though Simon Neil is a commanding presence as the frontman of Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro, the fact that he’s backed by twin brothers James and Ben Johnston, on bass and drums, respectively, gives their raucous sound a uniquely fraternal edge. Having spent years practising in a garage their father converted for them in Ayrshire, James and Ben have been in lockstep ever since birth, culminating in their forming a band with Simon after the three became friends at school. “Surely you can’t get any tighter than a twin rhythm section, you know?” Ben told FaceCulture in 2016. “So that’s good for the band and in terms of the dynamics and how we get on, we always get on really well.”

Must Hear: Mountains

19: Sister Sledge

The clue’s in the name, really: Sister Sledge were a 70s R&B powerhouse featuring sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim and Kathy Sledge. Easily one of the best sibling bands of all time, the four-piece’s soulful vocals and funky basslines elevated them to disco greatness, thanks to classic hits penned with Chic supremos Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, among them He’s The Greatest Dancer and Lost In Music. Lest we forget, the band’s 1979 single We Are Family remains the quintessential ode to sisterhood, and an LGBTQ+ anthem that celebrates family of all stripes.

Must hear: We Are Family

18: The Proclaimers

Hailing from Fife, Scotland, the bespectacled identical twin brothers Charlie and Craig Reid became folk-pop superstars in the 80s thanks to memorable hit singles such as Letter From America and the unstoppable anthem I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Singing with strong regional accents and a folk-rock sensibility, The Proclaimers aren’t just one of the best sibling bands but also one of the finest songwriting partnerships to emerge from the Highlands. “Who’d have thought it, eh?” Craig said. “Clearly, there’s no escaping my brother, but fortunately, we enjoy one another most of the time.”

Must hear: Letter From America

17: The Everly Brothers

Fifties folk-rock duo The Everly Brothers (Phil and Don) have often been cited as an influence on many 60s bands, largely due to their sweet-sounding acoustic arrangements and winning vocal harmonies. “We’re closer than most brothers,” Phil said. “Harmony singing requires that you enlarge yourself, not use any kind of suppression. Harmony is the ultimate love.” With the best Everly Brothers songs – Wake Up Little Susie, Bye Bye Love and All I Have To Do Is Dream among them – soundtracking teen romance during the birth pangs of rock’n’roll, The Everly Brothers became one of the world’s standout sibling bands, and Phil and Don’s influence can certainly be heard on the singing style of British Invasion groups such as The Beatles and The Hollies.

Must Hear: All I Have To Do Is Dream

16: Spandau Ballet

A mere two years separate songwriter/guitarist Gary Kemp and his bass-playing brother, Martin, and, as Spandau Ballet rose to become one of the best New Romantic bands, courtesy of hit songs such as True and Gold, the pair remained extremely close. “I can think of lots of brothers in music,” Gary once told The Guardian, “and they all seem to hate each other.” Bucking that trend, Gary and Martin went into acting together, portraying London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in the 1990 movie The Krays. “The ability to work together,” Gary Kemp continued, “to be seen as a public family relationship, it was really important.” It’s also what makes Spandau Ballet one of the best sibling bands in pop history.

Must hear: Gold

15: My Chemical Romance

Leading the black parade to become one of the best 2000s bands, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way was joined on his march to emo megastardom by his younger brother, Mikey, who played bass. As the best My Chemical Romance songs fired up the UK singles chart with emo-punk rallying cries such as I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and Famous Last Words, the group stood out from most sibling bands thanks to the brothers’ close-knit relationship – no matter how crazy things got. In a video-diary entry for the group’s live album Life On The Murder Scene, we even got a glimpse into Mikey’s affection for his big brother. “Me and Gerard, we’re best friends in the world,” he said. Likewise, Gerard wrote the song Brother, released on his solo album, Hesitant Alien, about the support Mikey has given him when times got tough. After all, that’s what brothers are for.

Must hear: I’m Not Okay (I Promise)

14: INXS

Keyboardist Andrew Farriss, drummer Jon Farriss and guitarist Tim Farriss made up half the line-up of Australian synth-rock act INXS. With Michael Hutchence as their lead vocalist, the brothers provided solid backing for late-era new wave crowd-pleasers such as Need You Tonight, Devil Inside, New Sensation and Never Tear Us Apart. Speaking of his older sibling, Jon sees Tim’s big-brother mentality as being important to INXS’s dynamic. “Tim is like the ballast in the band,” Jon said. “He’s the one who gives the band a bit of leadership, a sense of unity, and he’ll usually project a very practical, logical view of everything.”

Must hear: Need You Tonight

13: Nickelback

Before filling the post-grunge power vacuum in the 2000s, Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger grew up in Alberta, Canada, with his bassist half-brother Mike. In fact, it was Mike who came up with the band’s name when working at a local Starbucks. “Here’s your nickel back,” he would say, while handing customers their change. Going on to sell more than 50 million albums worldwide thanks to hits such as How You Remind Me and Rockstar, Mike has frequently said that he is not envious in the slightest about his Chad taking centre stage. “You’ve probably spoken to those bands where there’s more than one guy who wants to be a superstar,” Mike said. “Well, we don’t have that kind of trouble.”

Must hear: How You Remind Me

12: The Corrs

Consisting of Andrea Corr and her sisters, Sharon and Caroline, along with their brother, Jim, Irish pop-rock sensations The Corrs are a true family affair. Mixing their Celtic folk inspirations with radio-conquering pop ambition on the best Corrs songs, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that the quartet’s rise to fame in the 90s wasn’t always smooth sailing. “It’s bad at times,” Andrea said of the occasional sibling rivalry within the group. “At other times, it’s good. Individually, each of us wanted to do music. We have a balance together. We share a bond.”

Must hear: What Can I Do

11: The Kinks

Lead guitarist Dave Davies was just 17 years old when he slashed his amp in order to give The Kinks’ You Really Got Me its revolutionarily distorted sound, and he frequently butted heads with his older brother – and chief songwriter – Ray Davies throughout the band’s career. Widely considered to be the Gallagher brothers of their day, The Kinks paved the way for heavy metal with a fiery hard-rock sound that still places them among the best sibling bands. Now mellowing with age, a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald proves that Ray still has a lot of affection for his little brother. “He’s a more spiritual man than people give him credit for,” he said. “A lot of those guitar heroes are like that.” Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a much-anticipated Kinks reunion.

Must hear: Lola

10: Earth, Wind And Fire

Founded in Chicago by brothers Maurice and Verdine White, disco trailblazers Earth, Wind And Fire went on to expand into an ever-shifting ensemble dabbling in R&B, jazz and funk throughout the 70s, with hits such as September and Boogie Wonderland. With the backing of The Phenix Horns – who would later go on to collaborate with Phil Collins in the 80s – both brothers helped Earth, Wind And Fire bring the brass-powered danceability of the swing era into the discothéques of the 70s. Upon Maurice’s death, in 2016, Verdine gave his brother a solemn tribute. “I wouldn’t be sitting here if it hadn’t been for him,” he told podcaster Tom Cridland in 2020. “He developed me and moulded me, and I’ll be grateful forever and ever. And what we built together still lives on.”

Must hear: September

9: Kings Of Leon

At the forefront of the “new rock revolution” of the early 2000s, Tennessee garage-rockers Kings Of Leon are made up of brothers Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill, plus their cousin Matthew. Catapulted into the mainstream with their UK No.1 hit Sex On Fire, the band’s Southern-tinged take on alternative rock gave them headline appeal and saw them tour stadiums around the world. “We kinda knew going in that being in a band with your brothers is not a great idea,” Jared told Radio X in 2021, “but we didn’t really have any other friends, so we just decided to go on with it and we thought it would last for at least a couple of years.” Now more than 20 years into their career, Kings Of Leon are here to stay.

Must hear: Sex On Fire

8: Oasis

Despite being estranged ever since Oasis split up in 2009, Mancunian curmudgeon Noel Gallagher and his little brother, Liam, still remain one of the most iconic brotherly duos in rock’n’roll. “I love me brother,” Liam told The Sunday Times in 1996. “But I also hate him. Some days I despise him. And I know it’s the same for him. That’s life, mate.” Still making headlines today by badmouthing each other every chance they get, the Gallagher brothers have truly earned their place in rock history.

Must hear: Acquiesce

7: Van Halen

The band that revolutionised hard rock for the MTV generation, Van Halen’s legendary rise to fame was undoubtedly due to the sonic collision of Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar and his brother, Alex, on drums. Conjuring a gleeful maelstrom of noise, the best Van Halen songs – among them foot-stomping rockers such as Hot For Teacher and Panama, plus era-defining pop-rock classics the likes of Jump – make the group a dead cert in our list of the best sibling bands. The group made it sound so easy, but it’s fair to say things were probably less harmonious off-stage. “As much as I love Eddie,” Alex once said, “if you put us in a room with no one else for 15 minutes, we’d be at each other’s throats.” We can be thankful that the pair channelled the simmering chaos of sibling rivalry into rock’n’roll dynamite.

Must hear: Panama

6: Radiohead

As one of the greatest British rock bands of the last four decades, Radiohead have earned their place among the best sibling bands thanks to guitar maestro Jonny Greenwood and his elder brother and bass player, Colin. Both grew up with an older sister who got them hooked on Joy Division and New Order, before they met Thom Yorke at Abingdon School, in Oxfordshire, and formed a band of their own. The rest, as they say, is history. “It’s wonderful, it’s good,” Colin once said of having Jonny in the band. “Makes my promise to keep an eye on him for my mother a lot easier, having him right next to me all the time. But he’s very easy to look after anyway, ’cos he’s very well behaved.”

Must hear: Paranoid Android

5: Carpenters

Scoring soft-rock hits with (They Long To Be) Close To You and We’ve Only Just Begun, brother-sister duo Carpenters unearthed easy-listening gold from Richard Carpenter’s sparkling piano arrangements and singer/drummer Karen’s angelic voice. Before her tragic and untimely death of heart failure, brought on by anorexia at age 32, Karen spoke lovingly of how a shared fondness for music had originally strengthened her and Richard’s bond. “If he listened to music, I listened to music,” Karen said. “It was unconscious, but I idolised him so much and we were so close even though we were three years apart.”

Must hear: We’ve Only Just Begun

4: AC/DC

Hard-rock giants AC/DC emerged from Australia to make their way to the very top of the rock’n’roll mountain. Lead guitarist Angus Young – who regularly leapt about in a schoolboy’s uniform – spent the best part of four decades on the highway to hell with his rhythm guitarist elder brother Malcolm, who died in 2017, aged 64. Reflecting on his brother’s passing in an interview with Goldmine magazine, Angus expressed having a huge amount of respect for his big brother. “He was the most confident guy I ever saw with a guitar,” he said, “probably because he’d been playing that well since he was very young. He was always ahead of the game.”

Must hear: Let There Be Rock

3: Dire Straits

As members of one of the best 80s bands, and masterminds behind the classic 1985 album Brothers In Arms, it’s easy to forget that both guitarists in Dire Straits were, in fact, brothers. The bandana-wearing sultan of swing Mark Knopfler had been jamming with his brother David ever since the band started out on Britain’s 70s pub-rock circuit. “Mark would come over on his motorbike and I had two acoustic guitars lined up so that we could play and write and practice,” David Knopfler remembered. “We just enjoyed playing together. We did have a very good organic chemistry.” Selling 120 million records worldwide, there’s little doubt that Dire Straits earn their reputation as one of the best sibling bands the world has ever seen.

Must hear: Money For Nothing

2: Bee Gees

Born on the Isle Of Man, Barry Gibb and his younger twin brothers, Robin and Maurice, went on to light up disco dancefloors as Bee Gees, easily becoming one of the best sibling bands of all time. Starting their career crafting pop tunes in the 60s, these high-pitched harmonisers always moved with musical trends and enjoyed remarkable longevity as songwriters throughout the decades that followed, penning classic tracks such as the 1968 ballad Massachusetts, the 1977 floor-shaker Stayin’ Alive and their 1987 comeback hit, You Win Again. Now the only surviving member of the trio, Barry Gibb has reflected on how his brothers weren’t as easy to get along with as they were for us to listen to. “It was great being together,” he said, “but much more difficult being brothers than it was being in a band.”

Must hear: You Win Again

1: The Beach Boys

Sharing a love of 50s rock’n’roll and surf music, The Beach Boys were formed by Brian Wilson and his younger brothers, Carl and Dennis. Joined by their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine, they dominated the 60s with their heavenly vocal harmonies, beguiling audiences with sunshine-pop classics (I Get Around) and a distinctly West Coast spin on psychedelia (Good Vibrations). “If there wasn’t The Beach Boys and there wasn’t music, I wouldn’t even talk to them,” Dennis Wilson once admitted, revealing the powerful bond that puts them at the top of our list of the best sibling bands. “But through the music I fell in love with my brothers.”

Must hear: I Get Around

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