Something to Wake Up With

Weird thing about country music: it always seems to either be relentlessly upbeat, or horribly depressing.

And yeah, I’m sure that’s an invalid generalization; but that’s how this City Mouse sees it.

Please keep the music coming, and let me know whether you want your name used (if I’m unsure, I won’t). Any sort of music is fine, as long as it gets the blood pumping. Earworms are a bonus!

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25 Comments

  1. It’s unclear when a famous child of a famous parent becomes the primary bearer of the name in the popular imagination. I expect Bonnie Raitt is better known now (or anytime after say the 1970s..) than her father, Broadway musicals star John Raitt.

    I was listening to a podcast about the TV adaptation by David Simon of Philllip Roth’s novel “The Plot against America”. The smart but young second-chair person was talking about the really fine acting of Zoe Kazan, and said something like “I looked her up, and both her parents were in the industry, so I guess she grew up with actors and film people around.”. Well to be fair I also wouldn’t have known about her screenwriter parents without looking it up, but golly …. Elia Kazan was her dam grandfather!

  2. @Mitch4: Of course, the child does not always bear the parent’s name. Gwyneth Paltrow is more famous than her mother, Blythe Danner, ever was, but I did not know they were related until Paltrow mentioned it at an awards show. It may be better known that Carrie Fisher was the daughter of Debbie Reynolds.

    And sometimes the child becomes famous, but not as famous as the parent. Larry Hagman, who played J.R. in Dallas, was probably briefly more famous than his mother, Mary Martin, but Martin is certainly better remembered today. Liza Minnelli may have had a more successful career than her mother, Judy Garland, but Garland had an iconic fame that is difficult to rival.

    Maybe the best example of what Mitch4 had in mind is Kirk Douglas and his son Michael Douglas. Both had highly successful careers, but I expect that the younger generation of movie-goers would think only of Michael.

  3. Thanks for adding those points!
    I almost made an aside about the different-surnames cases but figured it could wait and maybe somebody else would handle it. 🙂

    Gwyneth Paltrow is a good example — except that TV viewers who watched the credit sequences would be familiar with the name of Bruce Paltrow and at least wonder if they were related. And then when he died, Gwyneth was very out-there about needing to mourn her father, and there was a minor fuss when the producers of whatever project she was engaged on at the time were said to not be giving her as much time as she said she needed. Or something like that.

    An almost parallel case could be found in Goldie Hawn & her daughter Kate Hudson. Although the relative prominence measure is somewhat skewed the other way.

    Speaking of Zoe Kazan, I always make the mistake of thinking I became familiar with her work via “GIRLS”. But no, she didn’t even guest on that. I’m probably mixing her up with Zosia Mamet, one of the central cast for that, via this same “famous family name” feature. Somewhat oddly, of the four female leads on that show, at least three have parents with some celebrity, though not in acting, apart from Mamet.

  4. It’s really just generational, isn’t it? To me, Ben Stiller will always be Stiller and Meara’s son. To my kids, Stiller and Meara will always be Ben Stiller’s parents.

  5. I say this as a fan of both Raitts… is either of them really famous outside of their respective musical niches? If you’re not a fan of either Broadway or country/western music, would the name “Raitt” mean anything to you?

  6. It’s my impression that Liza Minnelli’s career was more successful than Judy Garland’s, at least in the sense that she likely prospered more, and more consistently, than her mother, who famously was the victim of the studio bosses. But I am open to correction by someone more knowledgeable.

    I’m not particularly a fan of country & western music, but Bonnie Raitt’s name is more familiar to me than is John Raitt’s.

  7. Bonnie Raitt had a fair crossover appeal. A lot of non-CW fans knew at least some of her songs.

  8. Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger; N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth; Robert, Peter and Nathaniel Benchley, one of whom wrote the book “Jaws”; Johann Strauss Sr. who unsuccessfully tried to prevent his son Johan Strauss Jr. from becoming the famous one; the Alexandres Dumas; not to mention the once famous but now almost forgotten parents Johann Ambrosius Bach, Leopold Mozart, Joe Keaton (Buster’s father) …. Having a parent in the business really does give you a leg up. When you start practicing the piano at age three just because you see Daddy do it every day you get so you can substitute for him when he’s sick. Even better when you join the act soon after you’re born, like Buster Keaton did.

  9. Philip of Macedonia, now he got screwed: history calls his son Alexander the Great, but historians agree that Philip was the better general. Alexander conquered most of the known world, but only because he’d inherited Philip’s army.

  10. Legs, I didn’t think you’ll find much disagreement: Jane’s an accomplished actress, but Henry was a legend.

  11. At this point I’d say about as many as remember Stephanie Zimbalist (if that indeed is being remembered correctly…)

  12. And in between them was Efrem Zimbalist Jr. I was familiar with him exclusively from “77 Sunset Strip”, a private-eye series a little beyond my sophistication level, or indeed my parents’ ability to explain stuff. What does it mean to call an episode “Downbeat” then three seasons later try “Upbeat”?

    Anyway, some of the opening credits were intoned aloud by a rather dramatic announcer. So “Efrem Zimbalist Junior!” was a sequence fixed in my memory. Later on, when Stephanie came to some prominence, I kept wanting to call her “Stephanie Zimbalist Junior” as though Zimbalist-Junior were a hyphenated surname that continued in the family.

  13. Robert Downey, Sr., did not initially put that “Sr.” on his name in credits, but started using it when Junior came to prominence. Senior put him in tiny spots in his movies as early as 1970 and 1972 (Junior was born 1965) Our tech team, with a lot of undergrad assistants, was relaxing one afternoon and chatting about movies. I tried to summarize “Putney Swope” and explain why it was not a horrifying instance of blatant racism, despite making racially-based bad jokes. But mainly they wanted to keep “correcting” me and pointing out that the guy’s name as a “Jr” so why am I saying it wrong?

    When composer John Corigliano started to be well-known, I knew I recognized the name but wasn’t sure from where. Could he be the same one who was credited for solo violin part in that ancient LP my family had of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Sheherezade” played by the NY Phil? Wouldn’t he be too old by now to be a rising young composer? Well it turned out his father was concertmaster with the NY Phil, way back then; but they generally don’t use the Sr and Jr. (I’m not even sure if theiir names are completely alike.) But now radio announcers have started saying Sr. for the violinist when he comes up for mention. And I’m probably doing some psycho-dynamic overreading, but I thought there must be a problem between them when I found the composer’s web site, and the extraordinarly long biography did not mention family or his father specifically until, like, screen 23.

  14. I knew Efrem Zimbalist Jr. from the show The F. B. I. It was a favorite of my Dad’s in my youth, and in the “one TV” system, that mattered a lot.

  15. Speaking of violinists, “The Oistrakh is a bivalve, which means that there are two of them.” I forget where I read that bon mot accompanying a drawing of two oysters playing violins. Of course it referred to father and son David and Igor. I forget which is the father and which is the son. And speaking of TV and classical music, there is Werner Klemperer, of Hogan’s Heros, son of Otto Klemperer the conductor. Werner Klemperer can be heard in the part of the Narrator on a Boston Symphony recording of Schönberg’s “Gurrelieder”, but not with Otto Klemperer.

  16. @ MiB – Even though the piece was named for Gurre Castle in Denmark, the title “Gurrelieder” made me chuckle, because the German verb “gurren” means “to coo” (like a dove). The titles of the individual segments indicate that Schönberg was probably aware of the pun.

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