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Profile: Sly and the Family Stone

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Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone

source: 480x.com

Formed:

1966 (San Francisco, CA)

Genres:

Soul, R&B, Funk, Rock, Funk-rock, Pop-soul

Members:

Sly Stone (b. Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1944, Dallas, TX): lead vocals, organ
Freddie Stone (b. Fred Stewart, June 5, 1946, Dallas, TX): guitar, vocals
Larry Graham, Jr. (b. August 14, 1946, Beaumont, TX): bass, vocals
Greg Errico (b. September 1, 1946, San Francisco, CA): drums
Cynthia Robinson (b. January 12, 1946, Sacramento, CA): trumpet
Jerry Martini (b. October 1, 1943, Boulder, CO): saxophone
Rosie Stone (b. Rose Stewart, March 21, 1945, Dallas, TX): piano

Contributions to music:

  • The first sexually and racially integrated group in rock history
  • Invented funk-rock with their 1970 single "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"
  • One of the most socially conscious and politically active rock bands in history
  • Created a funk landmark with 1971's album There's A Riot Goin' On
  • Combined African-American and pop elements in groundbreaking ways
  • Bassist Larry Graham is credited with inventing the "slap" bass sound that is a foundation of funk music
  • A legendary live band whose performance at Woodstock is considered one of the festival's true highlights

Early years:

By the time he merged two existing bands to form Sly and the Family Stone in 1967, Sylvster "Sly" Stewart had already made quite a mark on the Bay Area musical scene, scoring local hits in family gospel, doo-wop, and R&B, DJing at San Francisco's R&B outlet, and producing national hits for the Autumn record label. Nevertheless, Sly and the Family Stone -- which did indeed include three siblings also active in the SF scene -- didn't receive much national attention (outside of some critical raves) for its debut album A Whole New Thing. CBS head Clive Davis wanted something "more commercial."

Success:

Davis' demands rankled Sly so much that he set out to record the most ridiculously commercial song he could, so that when it flopped, the suits would be off his back. Of course, "Dance To The Music" became an immediate smash Number One hit. But after several attempts to mold similiar followups into his vision, Sly finally broke through the with the psych-soul of Stand! and its big pop hit, "Everyday People." Musically as well as physically integrated and perfectly suited for both the age of Aquarius and the birth of funk, the band rode a wave of popularity that crested with a ferocious performance at Woodstock.

Later years:

Sly's disillusionment with the hippie movement and his escalating drug addictions eventually slowed and then stopped the Family Stone, but not after another half-decade of revolutionary pop-funk. Aside from typically brief and bizarre appearances at his Rock Hall of Fame induction and a 2006 Grammy tribute, Sly has remained virtually a recluse since the early Eighties; other members have continued to perform in various combinations, most notably bassist Larry Graham, who formed Graham Central station and also enjoyed a successful solo career in the late Seventies.

Other facts:

  • Sly was responsible for producing the Beau Brummels' "Laugh, Laugh" and "Just A Little," Bobby Freeman's "(C'mon And) Swim," and the original Great Society version of "Somebody To Love," which would later be a hit for Jefferson Airplane
  • "Sly" got his first name from an elementary school spelling bee at which he was mistakenly introduced that way
  • The Black Panthers constantly pressured Sly to replace his white members and move his music into a more militant direction
  • Bobby Womack served as a replacement Family Stone bassist in the Seventies and tried to rehabilitate Sly off drugs

Awards/Honors:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993)
  • GRAMMY Hall of Fame (1998, 1999)

Recorded work:


#1 hits:
Pop:
  • "Everyday People" (1969)
  • "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" (1970)
  • "Everybody Is A Star" (1970)
  • "Family Affair" (1971)
R&B:
  • "Everyday People" (1969)
  • "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" (1970)
  • "Everybody Is A Star" (1970)
  • "Family Affair" (1971)
Top 10 hits:
Pop:
  • "Dance To The Music" (1968)
  • "Hot Fun In The Summertime" (1969)
R&B:
  • "Dance To The Music" (1968)
  • "Hot Fun In The Summertime" (1969)
  • "If You Want Me To Stay" (1973)
  • "Time For Livin'" (1974)
  • "I Get High On You" (1975)
#1 albums:
Pop:
  • There's A Riot Goin' On (1971)
R&B:
  • Greatest Hits (1970)
  • There's A Riot Goin' On (1971)
  • Fresh (1973)
Top 10 albums:
Pop:
  • Greatest Hits (1970)
  • Fresh (1973)
R&B:
  • Stand! (1969)
Other important recordings: "I Ain't Got Nobody," "Life," "M'Lady," "Fun," "I Want To Take You Higher," "Dynamite," "Sing A Simple Song," "Stand!" "Don't Call Me N*gger, Whitey," "You Can Make It If You Try," "Luv n' Haight," "(You Caught Me) Smilin'," "Runnin' Away," "Thank You For Talkin' To Me Africa," "In Time," "Frisky," "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)," "If It Were Left Up To Me," "Babies Makin' Babies," "Loose Booty," "Crossword Puzzle," "That's Lovin' You"
Covered by: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mercury Rev, Aretha Franklin, Fishbone, Jane's Addiction, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Simply Red, The Pointer Sisters, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Iggy Pop, Beastie Boys, Prince, Joan Osborne
Appears in the movies: "Woodstock" (1970), "Angel in Training" (1999)

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