Does growing up in an American military family inspire kids to one day pick up an instrument, write an iconic song and become legendary musicians?
After you read about these six former “military brats”, you might just subscribe to this theory. From Los Angeles, California to Athens, Georgia to everywhere they lived in between — Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, etc. (you know the drill) — these names are synonymous with the landscape of America and its heralded popular culture.
If you cease to believe it, well …
Come on, baby. Light my fire.
Jim Morrison, The Doors
The Lizard King’s father was a career U.S. Navy man and Rear Admiral — George Stephen Morrison — who regularly moved Jim around the country in the interest of his military service. The constant relocating and “upheaval” inspired Morrison to start writing poetry, the end result ending up as the lyrics to songs that are forever etched in rock lore. Like the one you can listen to in the video above.
While she eventually ascended to be a mystical genie in a magical bottle, growing up the renowned pop vocalist was a normal member of a proud military family. Her father was in the Army, and just like Morrison she moved around a lot during her childhood. It’s been said that her dad utilized music to get through his stressful days as a soldier and, in doing so, inspired his daughter to get in the business. She joined The Mickey Mouse Club television show as a thirteen-year-old in 1993.
A veteran himself (Kristofferson served in the U.S. Army from 1960-1965 and even completed Ranger School) his father was highly-decorated and respected U.S. Air Force Major General named Lars Henry Kristofferson. Sadly, it was father who pressured him to enter the service and, when he eventually left to pursue his dream of music, disowned him completely.
Dee Dee Ramone, Ramones
The bassists for the celebrated punk rock band from New York City — Ramones — Dee Dee’s real name was Douglas Colvin, and he was raised in party by his father: a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army. His mother left his alcoholic dad when he was 15 and took Douglas with her, relocating them to Queens where he would eventually meet his future bandmates.
Michael Stipe, R.E.M.
Another musician who had a father in the U.S. Army, Stipe spent his childhood moving from base to base just like so many others. It wasn’t until he went away to college at the University of Georgia that he met Peter Buck at a local record shop, established R.E.M., and changed the course of rock music.
The musician who became synonymous with California in the 1970s was actually born in Heidelberg, Germany. Why? Well, because his father was an enlisted man serving in the U.S. Army as a journalist, writing for their Stars and Stripes newspaper. When Jackson was three years old, he moved to Highland Park, California, to his father’s “famous” house: Abbey San Encino.
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