In the ’70s, sibling musical groups were all the rage. Between The Osmonds, The Bee Gees, Sister Sledge, and The Carpenters, there were family music groups at every turn. But it wasn’t just singing siblings that were rising to prominence. Judy and Audrey Landers were known for being sisters and actresses. The Smothers Brothers were a comedic duo, and Virginia and Grace Kennedy were twins famous for having their own language. Read on to see how these siblings came to dominate the entertainment industry side-by-side.
The Osmonds were a group of male siblings who reached the height of their success in the early ’70s. Their sister, Marie Osmond, also became well-known for her career as a solo artist and for her duets with brother Danny.
Danny and Marie were so adored that they had a variety show that lasted until 1979. The siblings made a comeback in the ’80s, this time honing in on country music as opposed to soft rock. Donny and Marie ended up pursuing solo careers and even had a Vegas residency for over a decade in the 2000s.
John And Chuck Panozzo
John and Chuck Panozzo are the brothers behind the famous rock band Styx. John is pictured one to the right and Chuck is to the far right in this photo. John was on the drums while Chuck played bass, roles that they had from the time they were kids.
The brothers formed their band alongside lead singer Dennis DeYoung when they were barely teenagers. Dennis would end up becoming the keyboardist, as well. The band rose to stardom in the mid-’70s with hits like “Lorelei” and has had continued success ever since.
Ann And Nancy Wilson
Ann Wilson was the first to join the band Heart, which was at that point called White Heart. A few years after Ann became the lead vocalist, her sister, Nancy, joined in on guitar. The sisters must have been the missing ingredient because a year later the band rose to stardom.
Their 1976 debut album was a major success and featured hits like “Crazy On You” and “Magic Man.” Their success continued through the decade and by 1978, Heart was performing alongside major players like Aerosmith and Santana.
The Hudson Brothers
The Hudson Brothers were still teenagers when they decided to join forces to become a trio in the early ’60s. Just a few years later, they had hits like “When I’m Gone” and were touring with musical giants like The Supremes.
It wasn’t until the ’70s, though, that The Hudson Brothers reached the pinnacle of their success. After appearing on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in 1974, the brothers were offered their own variety show. Their television success gave rise to a string of successful hits and albums before the group split in the ’80s.
Ronnie And Donnie Van Zant
Unlike many of the other musical siblings on this list, Ronnie and Donnie Van Zant went their own paths. Ronnie was the lead vocalist and founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, while Donnie was the lead vocalist and guitarist for 38 Special.
Due to health issues, Donnie retired from his band in 2013 after more than four decades of being a member. Ronnie, on the other hand, passed in 1977. That’s when their third musically-inclined brother, Johnny, took over as the lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Judy And Audrey Landers
Judy and Audrey Landers were both popular actress in the ’70s. The eldest of the two, Audrey, made her on-screen debut as a child when her country music talent led to a performance on The Merv Griffin Show.
She then landed a role on The Secret Storm, but she would become most well-known for her later role in Dallas. Judy followed in her sister’s footsteps, making guest appearances on major shows like Happy Days and Charlie’s Angels in the late ’70s. The sisters later collaborated on ’90s children’s shows The Huggabug Club and The Treehouse Club.
Phillip And Nancy McKeon
Phillip and Nancy McKeon got an early start in their careers when their parents got them into a modeling agency as toddlers. Phillip joined the cast of Alice in the mid-’70s after the title character spotted Phillip in a Broadway performance when he was just ten-years-old.
Similarly, Nancy was noticed in a Hallmark advertisement and thereby selected for a role in Facts of Life. Both siblings went on to have successful careers in Hollywood, and even worked on the ’90s film Teresa’s Tattoo together.
Lindsay And Sidney Greenbush
Lindsay and Sidney Greenbush are best-known for their shared role of Carrie Ingalls in Little House on the Prairie. The identical twins took turns performing in the show, and their older brother, Clay Greenbush, also acted in a few episodes.
Prior to their breakthrough role as Carrie, the sisters appeared in a made-for-television film called Sunshine. In 1983, Lindsay landed a guest-starring role in Matt Houston while Sidney scored the lead in Hambone and Hillie. After filming some commercials, the girls quit acting.
The Allman Brothers
Duane Allman and his younger brother Gregg formed the band The Allman Joys in the mid-’60s and were discovered by a recording executive in 1967. When their first two albums flopped, the brothers split for a short while.
When they came back together, they formed The Allman Brothers Band, a group that included several members they weren’t related to. They rose to success in 1970, touring all over the country and making a highly profitable live album.
Merald And Gladys Knight
Gladys Knight made her screen debut at the age of eight when she performed on Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour. The same year, she formed a band with her brother, sister, and cousins called The Pips. Though Gladys and other members left the group before its financial success, the lead singer returned in time for the group to take off.
Meanwhile, her brother, Merald, remained a steady band member. The group excelled in the ’60s and eventually landed a deal with Motown Records. Under the name Gladys & the Pips, the band became widely successful through the ’70s and into the ’80s.
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose was a soul group formed in 1970 that consisted of siblings Carter, Eddie, and Rose Cornelius. In 1972, their sister Billie Jo would also join the band.
Rose had already experienced success as a member of Gospel Jazz Singers when she formed the group with her siblings. Their 1971 hit “Treat Her Like A Lady” peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified gold. After a handful of other hits, the band split up in 1976.
The Tavares Brothers
Tavares was a music group consisting of five brothers who started performing together as kids in 1959. Their initial name was Chubby and the Turnpikes, under which they signed to Capitol Records and put out their first hits in the late ’60s.
In 1973, the group made their joined surname, Tavares, the new band name. 1975 was their most successful chart-topping year, and in 1977 they scored a Grammy for their contribution to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Tavares is still unified as a music group, though Ralph Tavares stepped out in the ’80s.
Guitarist George Johnson and bassist Louis Johnson were brothers who started performing alongside their older brother Tommy and cousin Alex. The duo went on to tour with such prominent bands as The Supremes. With the help of Quincy Jones, the pair put out a highly successful debut album in 1976.
The Brothers Johnson’s subsequent albums were also highly successful, topping the Billboards through the rest of the decade. Though the brothers split in 1982 to pursue solo careers, they reunited numerous times over the decades.
Virginia And Grace Kennedy
Virginia and Grace Kennedy were famous in the ’70s not for their acting or musical talents, but for their unique way of speaking. The twins’ parents were often working and their grandmother was not very interactive. Without much connection to peers, the twins ended up creating a language of their own.
Experts discovered that they were speaking a cross between their grandmother’s German and their parents’ English, though only they could understand it. They even gave themselves the names Poto and Cabengo, which became the title of a 1980 documentary about the twins.
Shaun And David Cassidy
Shaun and David Cassidy were born to performer parents, so it’s no surprise that both had successful Hollywood careers from a young age. While they have the same father, actor Jack Cassidy, David’s mom is actress Evelyn Ward, and Shaun’s mother is actress Shirley Jones.
David signed with Universal Studios in 1969 and rose to fame as Keith Partridge of The Partridge Family. Meanwhile, Shaun signed to Warner Bros. Records and landed a Grammy nomination for his debut album. He also became a well-known face as the lead in The Hardy Boys Mysteries.
The Cowsills formed in 1965 as a music group that would eventually consist of six siblings and their mother. Though their initial singles only had moderate success, everything changed when they signed to MGM Records in 1967.
Their debut album was certified gold and featured the hit “The Rain, The Park & Other Things,” which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group cranked out five albums in the years leading up to 1970 and played hundreds of performances a year. Though members have come and gone, the group’s success has persisted for decades.
Loretta Lynn And Crystal Gayle
Loretta Lynn is the eldest of eight children, including fellow country music star Crystal Gayle. Loretta married young and started a family while teaching herself how to play the guitar. She established herself in the Nashville music scene in the ’60s and rose to prominence with her meaningful lyrics, which reflected women’s issues.
Crystal is the youngest sibling and was born almost two decades after Loretta. With her sister’s support and guidance, Crystal became one of the most successful crossover artists of the ’70s. Both sisters have won numerous awards and acclaim over the decades.
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys formed in 1961 and originally consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, alongside their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. The band’s 1963 hit put them on the map and was pegged the “California sound.”
With Brian as their producer and composer, the Beach Boys were able to create an innovative sound that launched them into stardom through the ’60s and ’70s. The founding members were all inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.
Tim And Neil Finn
Tim and Neil Finn were young kids when they started playing music together. The elder of the two, Tim, was one of the founding members of the band Split Enz. Neil joined the band a couple of years later and went on to write one of their biggest hits, “I Got You”.
The brothers continued their success as bandmates through the ’70s before going their separate ways. Tim would become a critically-acclaimed solo artist while Neil would go on to found the band Crowded House before taking on his own solo career.
Siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter were musical partners from childhood, first forming a trio with a friend. Karen played drums and Richard played piano, with both on vocals. The siblings signed to A&M Records as a duo in 1969 and their debut album peaked at number 54 on the Billboards.
In 1970, the pair put out numerous chart-topping singles like “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Close To You.” Their success continued to climb throughout the decade and made them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Ian And Dave Thomas
Ian and Dave Thomas are brothers who both rose to prominence in the ’70s, one for music and the other for acting. Ian’s 1973 song “Painted Ladies” was an international hit, and he won the 1974 Juno Award for Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year.
Dave rose to fame for playing opposite Rick Moranis on the sketch comedy show SCTV in the late ’70s. His performance landed him a Primetime Emmy Award and launched a successful career as a comedian, actor, and television writer.
Kristy And Jimmy McNichol
Kristy and Jimmy McNichol were siblings who both started out acting in commercials at a young age. In the mid-’70s, Jimmy appeared in Little House on the Prairie and S.W.A.T. before landing the role of Jack in the series The Fitzpatricks.
Similarly, Kristy had guest appearances on shows like Starsky & Hutch, The Bionic Woman, and The Love Boat before becoming Patricia Apple in Apple’s Way. Towards the end of the decade, Kristy was nominated for an Emmy three times in a row for her performance in Family, winning twice.
The Emotions started out as a trio consisting of sisters Wanda, Shelia, and Jeanette Hutchinson, with fourth member and sister Pamela joining in the mid-’70s. The group signed to Stax Records in the late ’60s and immediately made it on the charts with hits like “So I Can Love You” and “My Honey And Me.”
Under Columbia Records, the group release Flowers, an album that peaked at number 5 and was certified gold. Their next album reached number 1 on the Billboards and earned them a Grammy for the song “Best of My Love.”
Sisters Debbie, Joni, Kim, and Kathy Sledge formed the group Sister Sledge in 1971 and immediately found success with their actress mother as their manager. Though their first hit was “Mama Never Told Me,” the bulk of their success came with the 1977 album We Are Family, which earned the sisters a Grammy nomination.
Songs like “He’s The Greatest Dancer,” “Lost In Music,” and, of course, “We Are Family,” put the group on the map. Though the members have shifted over the years, two of the sisters are still part of the group.
The Pointer Sisters
The Pointer Sisters started out as a duo consisting of sisters Bonnie and June Pointer. Fellow sister Anita joined in time for the now-trio to tour with stars like Grace Slick and Boz Scaggs. In 1971, they signed with Atlantic Records, but it wasn’t until 1973 that they put out their critically-acclaimed debut album.
Songs like “Yes We Can Can” and “Wang Dang Doodle” put the group on the charts. Eventually, their sister Ruth made the group a quartet and they went on to release more successful songs and albums throughout the decade.
Jim And Dan Seals
Jim Seals is best known as one half of the duo Seal and Crofts, who are responsible for such ’70s hits as “Summer Breeze” and “Diamond Girl.” Jim’s younger brother is Dan Seals, who also started his career in a duo called England Dan & John Ford Coley.
The pair put out several pop singles in the late ’70s, but Dan eventually forged a highly successful solo career in country music. Jim remained a part of Seal and Crofts through the ’70s and reunited with his musical partner twice in later years.
The Bee Gees
The Bee Gees were a trio that formed in the late-’50s and consisted of brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. They started to appear on television specials in the ’60s and landed a record deal with Festival Records in 1963. It wouldn’t be until 1967, though, that their singles started topping the charts.
By the end of the decade, the Bee Gees had reached international success. After a short breakup, they reformed in 1970 and made it to number one for the first time with their single “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.”
The Smothers Brothers
The Smothers Brothers consisted of Tom and Dick Smothers, siblings who were both musically inclined. They not only performed folk music but also succeeded as comedians. The combination of humor and music made them a hit.
Though Tom was the older one, he would often act superior to his older brother. The sibling rivalry bits gave way to more politically driven sketches. Though they ended up getting their own variety show during the Vietnam War, their counterculture support led to CBS firing them!