The Rock Family Affair

John Olson, [Frank Zappa with his parents Francis and Rosemarie Zappa, in Frank Zappa’s living room, Los Angeles], 1971

John Olson, [Elton John with mother Sheila and stepfather Fred Fairebrother in their home, northwest of London], 1971

John Olson, [Eric Clapton with his grandmother Rose Clapp in her home, Surrey], 1971

John Olson, [Grace Slick with her mother Virginia Wing in her home, Palo Alto, California], 1971

“The Rock Family Affair,” Life, September 24, 1971, pp. 47–54:

What do parents do when a beloved son or daughter stops listening to rock records and leaves home to start making rock records of his own? Or, worse, suddenly becomes a rock star and famous? For one thing, mom and pop can console themselves: it has been happening in the best of families. [. . . ] The stars on these pages, who come from a variety of backgrounds, were delighted to be photographed with their parents at home, where their roots would be showing. The parents were proud of their offspring, too, though it was more difficult for some than for others—the hard-to-understand antics of their celebrated children having appeared so loudly and so often in public print. Grace Slick’s mother has learned to be philosophical about the situation. “All this talk about the generation gap,” she says. “How boring it would be if everyone were the same.”


About erinbarnett

Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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