Rock Stars and Their Parents

May 30, 2010 0 comments

Rock stars have fame, reams of money, and fans willing to do wild, unmentionable things just to breathe the same air — but behind every rock star’s inimitable lifestyles and weird hairstyles is a human being. As the LIFE magazine illustrated in 1971, just like most of us rock stars too are mere mortals, they came from humble backgrounds, with moms and dads who bragged and worried about them every day.

Recently brought back photographer John Olson's nostalgic photos — check out the awesome '70s decor.

Frank Zappa in his eclectic Los Angeles home with his cat, his dad Francis, and his mom Rosemarie.



Grace Slick with her mother. The Jefferson Airplane singer poses with her mother, Virginia Wing, in the living room of the home where she grew up in Palo Alto, Calif.


Grace was pregnant when Olson took that photo above and she was the first artist he met when covering this story for LIFE. The rest of the story took so long to complete, her daughter was a year old when it finally ran. Below, new mom Grace dangles her daughter China by the feet.

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Eric Clapton with his grandmother.


Elton John laughs with his mom Sheila Fairebrother and her husband Fred (whom he affectionately called "Derf," Fred spelled backwards) in their suburban London apartment. At this point John was just three albums into his prolific career, and still had countless hits — "Rocket Man," "Daniel," "Bennie and the Jets," "Candle in the Wind" among them — in his future.


Joe Cocker with his mother.


Richie Havens with his parents.


Ginger Baker with his mother Ruby Streatfield inside her rowhouse in Bexley, outside London.



David Crosby With His Father


The Jackson brothers — Michael, Marlon, Tito, Jermaine, and Jackie, on cover page, experienced fame as kids, and still lived with their parents (father/manager Joseph and mother Katherine). At the time of LIFE's shoot, they were the hottest act in pop, skyrocketing in 1970 with "ABC" and "I'll Be There," and had just moved into an expansive new house in Encino, Calif.


With their parents standing by, 13-year-old dynamo Michael (front left) and his brothers Jackie, Marlon, Tito, and Jermaine straddle their motorbikes by the pool.


Donovan with his parents


Related: Moms of famous sons


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