70’s Rock Stars at Home With Their Parents

eric clapton parents

What are the wildest stars of rock and roll like when they’re at home with their mum and dad? That was the premise behind these images captured by John Olson for LIFE magazine in 1971. Pictured above is Eric Clapton with his mother at the house in Surrey where he grew up.

In 1971 at the peak of Rock and Roll pomp, LIFE magazine photographer John Olson had the idea of juxtaposing some of the wildest rock stars of the era with the homely lives of their parents. The photos have a deadpan weirdness and feature amazingly groovy interiors, which I assume were often paid for by their loving offspring. It’s certainly fun to see these rock gods surrounded by the lace doilies and plastic couch protectors they grew up with – at the time most of the featured rockers (apart from the Jackson 5) were known for their love of groupies, hard partying and alcohol and drug abuse, but to their parents they were still just grown-up versions of the little boys and girls they had always known.

As Ginger Baker’s mother told LIFE magazine:

“He would bring people over and they would say, ‘You realize your son is brilliant,’ and I’d say, ‘Is he? I wish he was a bit more brilliant at keeping his room tidy.’”

jackson 5 parents

The Jackson 5 at their family home with their famously ambitious father, mother, and the world’s shaggiest-pile carpet.


elton john parents

Elton John pictured at home with his fun-looking parents at their flat in London. Note his mother’s awesome matching shirt and boot combo.


grace slick parents baby

Famously wild lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, Grace Slick pictured at home with her mother and new upside down baby, China.


frank zappa parents

Frank Zappa’s parents come to visit him at his tastefully decorated residence in Los Angeles.


david crosby parents

Here’s walking drug dustbin David Crosby at home with his father, the award-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby.


donovan parents

Folk singer Donovan pictured with his parents Donald and Winifred Leitch.


joe cocker parents

Joe Cocker looking nervous at his mother Marjorie’s house in Sheffield.


richie havens parents

Richie Havens looking depressed at the thought of spending another night in the spare room.



Ginger Baker and his mother in Lewisham, 1970.



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About Author Profile: Worm

In between dealing with all things technological in the Dabbler engine room, Worm writes the weekly Wikiworm column every Saturday and our monthly Book Club newsletters.

9 thoughts on “70’s Rock Stars at Home With Their Parents

  1. nigeandrew@gmail.com'
    March 5, 2015 at 11:52

    OMG (as they say)! I’d never seen these before. Amazing images…
    Isn’t that John Betjeman on Frank Zappa’s wall? And if so, WTF?

    • Worm
      March 5, 2015 at 12:54

      The foaming pint glass does make him look Betjeman-esque..

  2. March 5, 2015 at 16:42

    This is just marvellous in so many ways – a Proustian whiff of the hideous interiors that plagued my childhood. The quality of the photos is exceptional and the juxtaposition between the rock star and their cosy background is both amusing and poignant. Interestingly, Floyd Crosby now seems a lot ‘cooler’ than his son.

    • Worm
      March 5, 2015 at 17:59

      Yes he worked on Tabu (for which he won the oscar) High Noon, The Pit and The Pendulum and The Screaming Skull. Quite a chap. The interior design in his living room is actually pretty nice too

  3. March 6, 2015 at 13:33

    What a wonderful insight into ’70s style and everyday weirdness, Worm. Donovan’s mother obviously rules the roost judging by the look of everyone else in the household’s faces, including the pet poodle.

  4. johngjobling@googlemail.com'
    March 6, 2015 at 18:03

    I reckon Ginger Baker bought that shirt at Chiesmans in Lewisham high street, or his mum bought the fabric there and made it for him.

    When he went to visit his mum, did she serve cream tea?

  5. Gaw
    March 10, 2015 at 08:01

    Those interiors are very much back, no? The Crosby and Dwight sitting rooms could be something from a present-day Shoreditch flat.

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