True music aficionados – “musos” as some like to be referred – are like a band of brothers. So I thought we’d look at actual bands of brothers. A thin premise? Well, perhaps. But c’mon, you’re already here.

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My…

Though their recordings of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’’ and ‘Unchained Melody’ were themselves irreproachable, neither member of the ‘60’s vocal duo The Righteous Brothers actually happened to be named “Righteous” (the blue-eyed soul singers Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield must have, instead, represented an early paradigm for the now-popular phraseology “brothers from another mother”). Similarly, but likely not shockingly, the surname “Doobie” did not exist among any of the no-doubt frequently joint smoking players in The Doobie Brothers. You might be slightly more surprised to learn, however, that The Statler Brothers, the country quartet that often served as backup singers for Johnny Cash, contained exactly zero “Statlers” – there were, indeed, two brothers…but their last name was “Reid”!?

Naturally, there have been numerous acts throughout music history with the band name of “Brothers” that were, in fact, made up – at least in part – of actual fraternal relations. Alternatively, we’ve had way more bands that included two or more male siblings yet did not choose to name themselves accordingly; some very widely known, and others you might well not have realized.

So then, am I my brother’s keeper? Only when it comes to assembling the following exhaustive lists. My brothers (and sisters), you probably shouldn’t be amazed that So Much Great Music has got them all covered in the multiple items indexed below. Plus a few other family kin. And just what shall we call such an aggregation? Why, SMGM’s Bands of Brothers, of course.

(Brothers in Amps was a distant second choice).

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Lord, they were born ramblin’ men

Though it might seem strange, the occurrence of actual brothers in duly Brothers-titled bands is rarer than you might imagine. In truth I had to stretch to try to fill out a Top Ten. Time to cry out Oh Brother? Nope, eventually I did manage, and here they are:

The 10 Best Bands of Brothers (that are named Brothers) of all-time

  • Allman Brothers (Gregg & Duane)
  • Everly Brothers (Phil & Don)
  • Isley Brothers (O’Kelly, Rudolph, Ronald, Ernie & Marvin) – at 5, tied for the most band brothers ever, but tops for a band named Brothers.
  • Neville Brothers (Aaron, Art, Cyril & Charles)
  • Avett Brothers (Scott & Seth)
  • Brothers Johnson (George & Louis) – a rarity where the Brothers comes first.
  • Brothers Osborne (T.J. & John) – see the Johnsons above.
  • Chambers Brothers (George, Lester, Willie & Joe)
  • Bellamy Brothers (David & Howard)
  • Wood Brothers (Chris & Oliver)

And a bonus? Yup, a bonus Jonas.

  • Jonas Brothers (Joe, Nick & Kevin) – my daughter would stop talking to me if I didn’t include them in this list.

*Might as well a classification all their own*

  • Van Halen – Eddie and Alex obviously had their name accounted for, but there’s no trailing brothers (David Lee Roth probably never would’ve agreed to be in a band called The Van Halen Brothers).

Bands named Brothers without any actual brothers

(we already mentioned them in the intro, but here they are again):

Oh, and progressive bluegrass band Punch Brothers. Ahh no, nobody’s named Punch.

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Now on to the biggest grouping – O Brothers, Where Art Thou – and I know some of these are going to surprise you.

The Top 10 (but let’s stick to 11) real brothers in bands not named Brothers

  • Kinks (Ray & Dave Davies)
  • Beach Boys (Brian, Dennis & Carl Wilson)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival (John & Tom Fogerty)
  • Bee Gees (Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb)
  • AC/DC (Angus & Malcolm Young)
  • Earth, Wind & Fire (Maurice & Verdine White) – SMGM’s favorite soul brothers
  • Oasis (Noel & Liam Gallagher)
  • Dire Straits (Mark & David Knopfler)
  • Marshall Tucker Band (Toy & Tommy Caldwell)
  • Jackson 5 (Michael, Marlon, Jermaine, Jackie & Tito Jackson) – are you surprised that there were 5 Jackson brothers in Jackson 5?
  • Black Crowes (Chris & Rich Robinson)

Talk about sibling rivalries: isn’t it interesting that more than half of these ultra-successful sets are probably as well known not for their familial fondness but for their furious fighting?

The frame almost couldn’t hold all the ‘fros

*Double-Trouble (two-brother tandems)*

  • Devo (Mark & Bob Mothersbaugh + Gerald & Bob Casales)
  • National (Aaron & Bryce Dessner + Scott & Bryan Devendorf)

Another block of brothers but not Brothers (most still reasonably well-known)

  • Bachman Turner Overdrive (Randy, Robbie & Tim Bachman) – these b-b-b-bros ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
  • Radiohead (Jonny & Colin Greenwood)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Dean & Robert DeLeo)
  • INXS (Andrew, Jon & Tim Farriss)
  • Blasters (Phil & Dave Alvin)
  • Blackberry Smoke (Brit & Richard Turner)
  • Blue Öyster Cult (Joe & Albert Bouchard)
  • NRBQ (Joey & Johnny Spampinato)
  • Greta Van Fleet (Josh, Jake & Sam Kiszka)
  • Gap Band (Charlie, Ronnie & Robert Wilson)
  • Hanson (Isaac, Taylor & Zac Hanson)

These three dropped a bomb on you, baby

*Two Brothers in Two Different Bands*

  • Split Enz, Crowded House (Tim & Neil Finn)

A bit more obscure brotherhood (were you ever aware of these?)

  • Spencer Davis Group (Steve & Muff Winwood) – if you say you’d heard of Muff, I don’t believe you.
  • Gerry & The Pacemakers (Gerry & Fred Marsden)
  • ? and the Mysterians (Rudy & Robert Martinez) – 2 brothers helped cry 96 Tears
  • Proclaimers (Craig & Charlie Reid)
  • Kool & The Gang (Ronald & Robert “Kool” Bell)
  • Toto (Jeff & Steve Porcaro)
  • Hives (Pelle & Niklas Almqvist)
  • Psychedelic Furs (Richard & Tim Butler)
  • Trammps (Stanley & Harold Wade)
  • Stooges (Ron & Scott Asheton)

They would walk 500 miles, and they would walk 500 more

*Three Brothers + a same-named cousin*

  • Kings of Leon (Caleb, Nathan & Jared Followill + Matthew Followill)

You don’t know me but I’m your brother (for the real fraternal fanatics)

  • Del Fuegos (Dan & Warren Zanes)
  • McCoys (Randy & Rick Derringer) – after ‘Hang On Sloopy’ they let go of their original name Zehringer
  • Cranberries (Noel & Mike Hogan)
  • Delfonics (William & Wilbert Hart)
  • UB40 (Ali & Robin Campbell)
  • Jet (Nic & Chris Cester)
  • Impressions (Richard & Arthur Brooks)

Maybe nobody cares, but they’re brothers, they’re in a band, and they’re going on this list

  • Bay City Rollers (Alan & Derek Longmuir)
  • Wet Willie (Jimmy & Jack Hall)
  • Knickerbockers (Beau & John Charles)
  • Meat Puppets (Curt & Cris Kirkwood)
  • Los Lonely Boys (Henry, Jojo & Ringo Garza)
  • Verve Pipe (Brian & Brad Vander Ark)

Throwing back some serious milk on an S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night

*The Winters*

  • No, Johnny & Edgar Winter were never formally united in a band, but Edgar did play on Johnny’s major label debut album, and as my friend Bob pointed out they released a 1976 live album together – titled “Together” – and also played jointly at Woodstock. That’s good enough for me!

Okay, enough about the blood brothers. Ladies, did you really think we’d forget about…the ladies? There aren’t as many in the sisterhood, but here we go:

Sisters in bands named Sisters

  • Andrews Sisters (LaVerne, Maxine & Patty) – boogie woogie bugle girls
  • Pointer Sisters (June, Ruth & Anita)
  • Lennon Sisters (Kathy, Janet, Peggy & Dianne)
  • Sister Sledge (Debbie, Joni, Kim & Kathy) – oddly they weren’t pluralized as Sisters Sledge, but we’re keeping them here anyway.

They are fam-i-ly

Like their brotherly cohorts, there are also plenty of sisters in bands who did not choose the name Sisters. Here’s that Top 11.

Sisters before Misters

  • Heart (Ann & Nancy Wilson) – a recent family feud has made them twisted sisters.
  • Haim (Este, Danielle & Alana Haim)
  • Bangles (Vicki & Debbi Peterson)
  • Breeders (Kim & Kelley Deal)
  • Wilson Phillips (Carnie & Wendy Wilson)
  • (Dixie) Chicks (Martie Maguire & Emily Strayer – both née Erwin)
  • Emotions (Wanda, Sheila, Pamela & Jeanette Hutchinson)
  • Dixie Cups (Barbara Ann & Rosa Lee Hawkins)
  • Larkin Poe (Rebecca & Megan Lovell)
  • Roches (Maggie, Terre & Suzzy Roches)
  • Watson Twins (Chandra & Leigh Watson)

Call them rock’s best sisters? Now wouldn’t you, barracuda

*Double Sisters (a two-sister cluster)*

  • Shangri-Las (Mary & Betty Weiss + Marge & Mary Ann Ganser)

*Three sisters + their father*

  • Staple Singers (Mavis, Cleotha & Yvonne + “Pops” Staples)

Last but not least we shall not forget about music’s mixed siblings. Here’s the list of the Top (and only?) 6 bands with at least one of each.

Brother & Sisters (not to be confused with the classic Allman Brothers album title of the same name)

  • B-52’s (Cindy & Ricky Wilson)
  • Sly & The Family Stone (Sly, Freddie & Rose Stone) – it’s a family affair
  • Gladys Knight & The Pips (Gladys & Bubba Knight)
  • Carpenters (Karen & Richard Carpenter)
  • Cowboy Junkies (Michael, Peter & Margo Timmins)
  • Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose (Carter, Eddie & Rose Cornelius)

They’d only just begun…

I believe the foregoing examination to have been entirely comprehensive. That is to say, I think we’ve included everybody and their brother. (But in case not please feel free to send comments to correct or add to our list). In the meantime, my musical brothers and sisters, please enjoy the best “brother” song ever, which includes the eternally weighty line “…his welfare is my concern.”

Amen, brother.