By John Lauritsen


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The family that plays together, stays together. The Peterson family is living proof of that. Four generations of Petersons have been involved in Minnesota music.

They’ve played with everyone from Prince to Fleetwood Mac, and now they having something else to hang their hats on — their talented careers are getting Hall of Fame recognition.

It’s impossible to say just how many Peterson jam sessions have broken out over the years. It began when they were all very young. Being a member of this family, means music is your language and your life.

Patty and Linda Peterson laughed when they reminisced about asking their neighbor kids which instruments their parents played.

“We just assumed they were all musicians. They had to be,” Linda said.

Patty, Billy, Linda, Paul and Ricky are all siblings. Their parents, Willie and Jeanne, were WCCO Radio staff musicians and a talented opening act for this family legacy.

“I’d wake up in the morning and I’d want my breakfast. And they’d be down practicing what they had to do on live radio that morning,” said Billy.

So it was only natural for a band to form. The Petersons hold a Christmas concert every year in the Twin Cities, and as many as 20 of them can be on stage at one time. It’s pretty amazing considering that quite often they’re scattered around the world.

Talented musicians have a knack for seeking out talented musicians. Each member of the family has produced album after album. But they’ve also been recruited and become friends with some of the biggest names in music. At one point the Steve Miller Band was full of Petersons.

“I think Steve Miller was one of the best Boy Scout leaders ever. That’s how we were treated in that band. We love Steve Miller,” Ricky said.

Ricky is currently on tour with Fleetwood Mac. Billy was part of Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks” record. Paul was in “Purple Rain” with Prince. Jason Peterson Delaire, who is part of the third generation, has been Michael Bolton’s saxophone player for the past 15 years. But it was Prince who helped him get his start, hiring him to play in the Paisley Park house band.

“One day Prince walked into rehearsal with this beautiful girl and said, ‘You all are going to be her band now.’ And it was Carmen Elektra,” Jason said.

They are often referred to as “Minnesota’s First Family of Music.” And on Nov. 1 in New Ulm, they’ll be inducted into Minnesota’s Music Hall of Fame. For those they’ve become close with, it’s an honor that’s long overdue. So far they’ve received congratulations and shout-outs from Miller, Bolton, Kenny Loggins, Oleta Adams and Sinbad.

“We are so lucky to be here and be healthy and still be doing what we love,” Paul said

The Peterson legacy extends across genres and generations. No matter where the world takes them, they always find their way back home and to each other, proving that this is one band that’s breakup proof.

“This is so much fun to create. And I would have to say this is our happy place, to be together, play music, share stories and to use our gifts for the betterment of other people,” Patty said.

Their annual Christmas concert will take place on Dec. 14 at the Hopkins Center for Arts at 8 p.m.

The Petersons also recently started a music scholarship at the University of Minnesota as a way to give back.

John Lauritsen

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