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Sly & the Family Stone

Sly & the Family Stone is an American funk, soul and rock band from San Francisco, California. Originally active from 1966 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music.[1] Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an integrated lineup in both race and gender.[2]

Brothers Sly and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls) at the end of 1966. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham completed the original lineup; Sly and Freddie's sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year. This collective recorded five Top 10 hits and four groundbreaking albums, which greatly influenced the sound of American pop music, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. In the preface of his 1998 book For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History, Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly & the Family Stone's influence on African American music by stating "there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone".[3] The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

During the early 1970s, the band switched to a grittier funk sound, which was as influential on the music industry as their earlier work.[4] The band began to fall apart during this period because of drug abuse and ego clashes; consequently, the fortunes and reliability of the band deteriorated, leading to its dissolution in 1975.[5] Sly Stone continued to record albums and tour with a new rotating lineup under the "Sly & the Family Stone" name from 1975 to 1983. In 1987, Sly Stone was arrested and sentenced for cocaine use, after which he went into effective retirement.[4]

As of 2008, Sly & the Family Stone had reunited for a series of shows beginning with several dates at the House of Blues in Anaheim and West Hollywood, California.

Early years
Sylvester Stewart during the Autumn Records days in the early 1960s

The Stewart family was a deeply-religious middle-class household from Denton, Texas. K.C. and Alpha Stewart held the family together under the doctrines of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and encouraged musical expression in the household.[6] After the Stewarts moved to Vallejo, California, the youngest four children (Sylvester, Freddie, Rose, and Vaetta) formed "The Stewart Four", who released a local 78 rpm single, "On the Battlefield" b/w "Walking in Jesus' Name", in 1952. The eldest sister, Loretta, was the only Stewart child not to pursue a musical career.

While attending high school, Sylvester and Freddie joined student bands. One of Sylvester's high school musical groups was a doo-wop act called The Viscaynes, in which he and a Filipino teenager were the only non-white members. The Viscaynes released a few local singles, and Sylvester recorded several solo singles under the name "Danny Stewart".

By 1964, Sylvester had become Sly Stone, a disc jockey for San Francisco R&B radio station KSOL, where he included white performers such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones into his playlists. During the same period, he worked as a record producer for Autumn Records, producing for San Francisco-area bands such as The Beau Brummels and The Mojo Men. One of the Sylvester Stewart-produced Autumn singles, Bobby Freeman's "C'mon and Swim", was a national hit record.[7] Stewart recorded unsuccessful solo singles while at Autumn.[8]

[edit] Formation

In 1966, Sly Stone formed a band called Sly & the Stoners, which included acquaintance Cynthia Robinson on trumpet. Around the same time, Freddie Stone founded a band called Freddie & the Stone Souls, which included Gregg Errico on drums. At the suggestion of Stone's friend, saxophonist Jerry Martini, Sly and Freddie combined their bands, creating Sly & the Family Stone at the end of 1966. Since both Sly and Freddie were guitarists, Sly appointed Freddie the official guitarist for the Family Stone, and taught himself to play the electronic organ. Meanwhile, Sly included Martini on saxophone and recruited Larry Graham to play bass guitar.

Sly and Freddie's youngest sister Vaetta Stewart wanted to join the band as well. She and her friends, Mary McCreary and Elva Mouton, had a gospel group called The Heavenly Tones. Sly recruited the teenagers directly out of high school to become Little Sister, Sly & the Family Stone's background vocalists.[9] CBS Records executive David Kapralik signed the group to CBS' Epic Records label. The Family Stone's first album, A Whole New Thing, was released in October 1967 to critical acclaim, particularly from musicians such as Mose Allison and Tony Bennett.[10]

Kapralik suggested that Sly try to write and record a hit record, and he and the band reluctantly provided the single "Dance to the Music".[11] Upon its December 1967 release, "Dance to the Music" became a widespread ground-breaking hit, and was the band's first charting single, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100.[12] Just before the release of "Dance to the Music", Sly and Freddie's sisterRose Stone joined the group as a vocalist and a keyboardist. Rose's brothers had invited her to join the band from the beginning, but she initially had been reluctant to leave her steady job at a local record store.[11]

Sly & the Family Stone began to tour across the country, and were well-known for their energetic performances and unique costuming.[13] The Dance to the Music album went on to decent sales, but the follow-up, Life, was not as successful commercially .[14] In September 1968, the band embarked on its first overseas tour, to England. That tour was cut short after Graham was arrested for possession of marijuana, and also because of disagreements with concert promoters.[15]

[edit] Sound, philosophies, and influence of early years

"Dance to the Music"
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One of the Family Stone's most well-known hits features positive lyrical content and high tempo sounds rooted in rock and soul music.
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Sly Stone had produced for and performed with both blacks and whites during his early career, and he integrated music by white artists into black radio station KSOL's playlist as a D.J. Similarly, the Sly & the Family Stone sound was a melting pot of many influences and cultures, including James Brown proto-funk, Motown pop, Stax soul, Broadway showtunes, and psychedelic rock music.[4] Wah-wah guitars, distorted fuzz basslines, church-styled organ lines, and horn riffs provided the musical backdrop for the vocals of the band's four lead singers.[14][16] Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, and Rose Stone traded off on various bars of each verse, a style of vocal arrangement unusual and revolutionary at that time in popular music.[17] Cynthia Robinson shouted ad-libbed vocal directions to the audience and the band; for example, urging everyone to "get on up and 'Dance to the Music'" and demanding that "all the squares go home!"[18]

The lyrics for the band's songs were usually pleas for peace, love, and understanding among people. These rallies against vices such as racism, discrimination, and self-hate were underscored by the lineup for and onstage appearance of the band. European Americans Gregg Errico and Jerry Martini were members of the band at a time when integrated performance bands were virtually unheard of; integration had only recently become enforced by law. Females Cynthia Robinson and Rosie Stone played instruments onstage, rather than just providing vocals or serving as visual accompaniment for the male members.[19] The band's gospel-styled singing endeared them to black audiences; their rock music elements and wild costuming—including Sly's large Afro and tight leather outfits, Rose's blond wig, and the other members' loud psychedelic clothing—caught the attention of mainstream audiences.[13]

Although "Dance to the Music" was the band's only hit single until late 1968, the influences of that single and the Dance to the Music and Life albums were heard across the music industry.[17] The smooth, piano-based "Motown sound" was out; "psychedelic soul" was in.[17] Rock-styled guitar lines similar to the ones Freddie Stone played began appearing in the music of artists such as The Isley Brothers ("It's Your Thing") and Diana Ross & the Supremes ("Love Child"). Larry Graham invented the "slapping" technique of bass guitar playing, which became synonymous with funk music.[20] Some musicians changed their sound completely to co-opt that of Sly & the Family Stone, most notably Motown in-house producer Norman Whitfield, who took his main act The Temptations into "psychedelic soul" territory starting with the Grammy-winning "Cloud Nine" in 1968.[21] The early work of Sly & the Family Stone was also a significant influence on the music of Michael Jackson and The Jackson 5, The Undisputed Truth, George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, Arrested Development, and The Black Eyed Peas.[22]

[edit] Middle period

[edit] Stand! (1969)

"Everyday People"
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Sly & the Family Stone's first #1 Pop hit contains lyrics concerning the futility of hatred among people.
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"
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The proto-funk hit features themes of failed optimism and Larry Graham's heavy bass playing.
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In late 1968, Sly & the Family Stone released the single "Everyday People," which became the band's first number-one hit.[12] "Everyday People" was a protest against prejudices of all kinds,[23] and popularized the catch phrase "different strokes for different folks."[13] With its b-side "Sing a Simple Song", it served as the lead single for the band's fourth album, Stand!, which was released on May 3, 1969. The Stand! album became the band's first top twenty hit record and eventually sold more than three million copies; its title track peaked at number 22 in the U.S. The album later landed at #118 in Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time,[24] and is considered one of the artistic high points of the band's career;[16] it contained the above three tracks as well as the songs "I Want to Take You Higher", which also appeared on the b-side of the "Stand!" single, "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey", "Sex Machine", and "You Can Make It If You Try".[16]

The success of Stand! secured Sly & the Family Stone a performance slot at the landmark Woodstock Music and Art Festival. The band performed their set during the early-morning hours of August 17 1969; their performance was said to be one of the best shows of the festival.[25] A new non-album single, "Hot Fun in the Summertime"/"Fun," was released the same month and went to number two on the U.S. pop charts (peaking in October, after the summer of 1969 had already ended).[12] In 1970, following the release of the Woodstock film documentary, the single of "Stand!" and "I Want to Take You Higher" was reissued with the latter song now the a-side; it reached the Top 40.[12]

[edit] Internal problems and a change of direction

With the band's newfound fame and success came numerous problems. Relationships within the band were deteriorating; there was friction in particular between the Stone brothers and Larry Graham.[26] Epic requested more product.[13] The Black Panther Party demanded that Sly make his music more militant and more reflective of the black power movement,[13] replace Greg Errico and Jerry Martini with black instrumentalists, and replace manager David Kapralik.[27]

After moving to the Los Angeles area in fall 1969, Sly Stone and his bandmates became heavy users of illegal drugs, primarily cocaine and PCP.[28] As the members became increasingly focused on drug use and partying (Sly Stone carried a violin case filled with illegal drugs wherever he went),[29] recording slowed significantly. Between summer 1969 and fall 1971, the band released only one single, "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" / "Everybody Is a Star", released in December 1969. Although "Star" was another positive song in the vein of "Everyday People," the single's lead side featured an angry, bitter Sly & the Family Stone, who declared in unison that they could no longer pretend to be something they were not (peaceful, loving, and happy) and disrespectfully thanked the audience "for letting me be myself again."[30] The song was one of the first recordings to employ the heavy, funky beats that would be featured in the funk music of the following decade. It showcased bass player Larry Graham's innovative percussive playing technique of bass "slapping". Graham later said that he developed this technique in an earlier band in order to compensate for that band's lack of a drummer.[31]

"Thank You" reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970.[12] The single also peaked at #5 on the R&B chart and remained there for five weeks, while also remaining at #1 on the Pop chart for two weeks in the spring of 1970, before selling over a million copies.[32]

[edit] 1970–1971 interim
Sly & the Family Stone on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine issue #54 (March 19, 1970)

In 1970, Sly Stone spent most of his waking hours on drugs.[33] He became erratic and moody, and missed nearly a third of the band's concerts that year.[34] Live appearances on television talk shows such as The Mike Douglas Show and The Dick Cavett Show went unpredictably.[35] Meanwhile, Sly hired his streetwise friends, Hamp "Bubba" Banks and J.B. Brown, as his personal managers; they in turn brought in gangsters such as Edward "Eddie Chin" Elliott and Mafioso J.R. Valtrano to be Sly's bodyguards. Sly enlisted these individuals to handle his business dealings, to retrieve drugs, and to protect him from those he considered his enemies, some of whom were his own bandmates and staff.[36]

Soon after, a rift developed between Sly and the rest of the band;[37] in early 1971, drummer Gregg Errico became the first to leave the band for other ventures. He was replaced with a succession of drummers until Sly settled on Gerry Gibson. Gibson only remained with the band for a year before being replaced by Andy Newmark in 1973.

To appease fan demand for new songs, Epic began re-releasing material. A Whole New Thing was reissued with a new cover, and several of the Family Stone's most popular recordings were packaged into the band's first Greatest Hits album. Greatest Hits reached number two on The Billboard 200 in 1970. Following the release of the band's Greatest Hits record, their previous single "Thank You"'s popularity cooling off and the band's absence from the media, speculation by fans and critics arose as to the release of new studio material. In a December 24, 1970 article for Rolling Stone magazine, music journalist Jon Landau elaborated on the anticipation of the next record:

The man from Epic tells me that Sly hasn't recorded much lately. His last album of new material was released well over a year ago and even "Thank You", his last single, is old by now. Greatest Hits was released only as a last resort in order to get something salable into the record stores. It was a necessary release and stands as the final record of the first chapter in Sly & the Family Stone's career. Whatever the reasons for his recording abstinence, I hope it ends soon so that he can get back to making new music and we can get back to listening to it.[38]
—Jon Landau

During this period, Sly Stone negotiated a production deal with Atlantic Records, resulting in his own imprint, Stone Flower Productions. Stone Flower released four singles, including one by R&B artist Joe Hicks, one by a group called 6IX, and two pop Top 40/R&B Top 10 singles by Little Sister: "You're the One" and "Somebody's Watching You", a cover of a song from Stand!. For unclear reasons, Sly gradually withdrew his attention from Stone Flower, and the label was closed in 1971. Little Sister's "Somebody's Watching You" is one of the first popular recordings to feature the use of a drum machine for its rhythm track, which would be of use by Stone for the band's next release in 1971.[39]

[edit] Later years

[edit] There's a Riot Goin' On (1971)

"Thank You for Talkin' to Me, Africa"
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Riot's closing track emphasizes its different musical direction of heavy funk and hedonistic themes.
"Just Like a Baby"
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The downtempo funk ballad features the hazy soundscape and production predominant on Riot.
"If You Want Me to Stay"
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The band's final Top 20 hit furthered Sly Stone's work with deep funk.
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In the fall of 1971, Sly & the Family Stone returned with a new single, "Family Affair", which became a number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100. "Family Affair" was the lead single from the band's long-awaited fifth album, There's a Riot Goin' On, which debuted at number-one on the Billboard album charts upon its November 1971 release. Instead of the bright, cheery rock-laced soul that had represented the optimistic 1960s, There's a Riot Goin' On was filled with dark instrumentation, filtered drum machine tracks, and plaintive vocals representing the hopelessness many people were feeling in the early 1970s.[19] The album is characterized by a significant amount of tape hiss - the result of Sly's extensive re-recording and overdubbing during production.[40] Allegedly, most of the album's instrumentation is performed by Sly alone, who enlisted the Family Stone for some of the additional instrumental parts and friends such as Billy Preston, Ike Turner, and Bobby Womack for others.[41] "(You Caught Me) Smilin'" and "Runnin' Away" were also released as singles, and performed well on the charts. The album received generally mixed criticism from popular music magazine outlets before gaining general praise in later years. In a December 23, 1971 article for Rolling Stone magazine, music journalist Vince Aletti wrote of Riot and Sly Stone's different musical approach:

Maybe this is the new urban music. It's not about dancing to the music, in the streets. It's about disintegration, getting fucked up, nodding, maybe dying. There are flashes of euphoria, ironic laughter, even some bright stretches but mostly it's just junkie death, oddly unoppressive and almost attractive in its effortlessness... But once you get into the haze of it, it can be rather beautiful: measured, relaxed, hypnotic... At first I hated it for its weakness and its lack of energy and I still dislike these qualities. But then I began to respect the album's honesty... It's hard to take, but There's a Riot Goin' On is one of the most important fucking albums this year.[42]
—Vince Aletti

After the release of Riot, additional lineup changes took place within the group. In early 1972, Jerry Martini inquired to Sly Stone and his managers about payments due to him, which lead to the hiring of saxophonist Pat Rizzo as a potential replacement for Martini if he ever became suspicious of the band's business practices again.[43] Both Rizzo and Martini remained in the band.[43]

Later that year, the tension between Sly Stone and Larry Graham reached its peak. A post-concert brawl broke out between Graham's entourage and Sly's entourage; Bubba Banks and Eddie Chin, having heard that Larry had hired a hit man to kill Sly, assaulted Graham's associates.[44] Graham and his wife climbed out of a hotel window to escape, and Pat Rizzo gave them a ride to safety.[44] Unable to continue working with Sly, Graham immediately quit the Family Stone and went on to start Graham Central Station, a successful band in the same vein as Sly & the Family Stone.[20] After a brief period with Bobby Womack as a stand-in bass player, Graham's place in the band was filled by nineteen-year-old Rustee Allen.[44]

[edit] Fresh (1973) and Small Talk (1974)

Despite the loss of the original rhythm section and Sly's escalating cocaine use, the next Sly & the Family Stone album, Fresh, was released in 1973. By this time, Sly's sound had become more stripped down and used less instrumentation, yet was more syncopated and rhythmically complex.[45] Sly obsessively overdubbed the masters, as he had done with Riot.[46] Although the record received mixed reviews at its release and did not receive the attention that the band's earlier work had, Fresh has become recognized as one of the most important funk albums ever made.[45] Rose Stone sang lead on a gospel-styled cover of Doris Day's "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)", and the single "If You Want Me to Stay" became a Top 20 hit in the U.S.[12]

Its follow-up, Small Talk, was released in 1974 to mixed reviews and low sales.[47][48] The first Small Talk single, "Time For Livin'", became the band's final Top 40 hit single. "Loose Booty", the second single, peaked at number 84. The album featured a more introspective and calmer musical style than the band's previous work. Critics have credited the overall tone of Small Talk to line-up changes and an attempt by Sly at keeping with changes in much of popular music during the time.[49]

[edit] Dissolution

Live bookings for Sly & the Family Stone had steadily dropped since 1970, because promoters were afraid that Sly or one of the band members might miss the gig, refuse to play, or pass out from drug use.[50] These issues were regular occurrences for the band during the 1970s, and had an adverse effect on their ability to demand money for live bookings.[50] At many of these gigs, concert-goers rioted if the band failed to show up, or if Sly walked out before finishing his set. Ken Roberts became the group's promoter, and later their general manager, when no other representatives would work with the band because of their erratic gig attendance record.[51] In January 1975, the band booked itself at Radio City Music Hall. The famed music hall was only one-eighth occupied, and Sly and company had to scrape together money to return home.[52] Following the Radio City engagement, the band was dissolved.[52]

Rose Stone was pulled out of the band by Bubba Banks, who was by then her husband. She began a solo career, recording a Motown-style album under the name Rose Banks in 1976. Freddie Stone joined Larry Graham's group, Graham Central Station, for a time; after collaborating with his brother one last time in 1979 for Back on the Right Track, he retired from the music industry and eventually became the pastor of the Evangelist Temple Fellowship Center in Vallejo, California. Little Sister was also dissolved; Mary McCrary married Leon Russell and worked with him on music projects.[53] Andy Newmark became a successful session drummer, playing with Roxy Music, B. B. King, Steve Winwood and others.[54]

[edit] Impact and influence of later material

The work of the later version of Sly & the Family Stone was as influential as the band's early work. There's a Riot Goin' On, Fresh, and Small Talk are considered among the first and best examples of the matured version of funk music, after prototypical instances of the sound in the band's 1960s work.[4][55] Jazz musician Herbie Hancock was inspired by Sly's new funk sound to move towards a more electric sound with his material,[56] resulting in Head Hunters (1973). Miles Davis was similarly inspired by Sly & the Family Stone, resulting in changes to his sound heard on the record On the Corner and sartorial and band lineup changes that hallmarked jazz fusion.[57] Artists such as Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chuck D, John Mayer and John Butler of the John Butler Trio have also shown significant inspiration from the post-1970 work of Sly & the Family Stone.[58]

[edit] Post-dissolution

[edit] Sly's later career

Sly recorded two more albums for Epic: High on You (1975) and Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back (1976). High On You was billed as a Sly Stone solo album; Heard You Missed Me was a Sly & the Family Stone album in name only. Although Sly continued to collaborate with some of the original Family Stone members on occasion, the actual band no longer existed. Sly played most of the instruments on the record himself; he maintained a band to support him for live shows. Among his main collaborators were Cynthia Robinson and Pat Rizzo from the Family Stone, and background vocalists Lynn Mabry and Dawn Silva, who parted with Sly in 1976 and formed The Brides of Funkenstein in 1978. Epic released Stone from his contract in 1977, and in 1979 released 10 Years Too Soon, a remix album featuring disco versions of the 1960s Family Stone hits.

Sly was signed by Warner Bros. Records and recorded Back On The Right Track (1979). Although the album featured contributions from Freddie and Rose Stone, Sly remained unable to return to the success of his late '60s and early '70s fame.[4] He toured with George Clinton and Funkadelic during the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also appeared on the 1981 Funkadelic album The Electric Spanking of War Babies. That year, Clinton and Sly began work on a new Sly Stone album; however, recording halted when Clinton and Funkadelic disputed with and left Warner Bros. Records in late 1981.[59] When Sly disappeared into self-seclusion, producer Stewart Levine completed the album, which was released as Ain't But the One Way in 1983. The album sold poorly and received mixed critical reception.[59] Overcome by drug addictions, Sly Stone disappeared from the limelight and, at the insistence of his old friend Bobby Womack,[60] entered drug rehabilitation in 1984. Sly continued sporadically releasing new singles and collaborations until a 1987 arrest and conviction for cocaine possession and use. After being released from prison, Sly stopped releasing music altogether.

[edit] Reunions
"The Original Family Stone", live in concert at Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, 2006. Jerry Martini, Rose Stone, and Cynthia Robinson.

Since the mid-1990s, various Family Stone members have collaborated on projects with other members of the band. On May 25 1997, Sinbad's Soul Music Festival was held in Aruba. One of the performances reunited four members of the Family Stone: Larry Graham, Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, and Jerry Martini. Robinson and Martini joined Graham Central Station when Larry Graham revived it later that same year, and the band toured with Prince, a noted admirer of Sly & the Family Stone. On her own, Rose Stone provided guest vocals to Fishbone's 2000 cover of "Everybody Is a Star", which also features vocals by Gwen Stefani. The cover was included on the album Fishbone & the Familyhood Nextperience Present: The Psychotic Friends Nuttwerx, released on March 21, 2000.

In 2003, the members of the original Family Stone, except Sly Stone and Larry Graham, reunited to record a sixteen-song studio album. By 2005, Vet Stone, Cynthia Robinson, and Rose Stone's daughter Lisa Stone were in a band simply called Family Stone, whose debut album is being produced by Sly Stone. The band was formerly called Phunk Phamily Affair and was renamed by Sly in December 2005. Jerry Martini also maintained a band called FamilyStoneExperience. Several Sly & The Family Stone alumni joined the tour, including Greg Errico, Cynthia Robinson, Dawn Silva, and Gail Muldrow. FamilyStoneExperience joined several festivals with James Brown and George Clinton. Both acts served to carry on the legacy of Sly & the Family Stone, and performed both Family Stone songs and original material as parts of their respective repertoires.

Following the Sly & the Family Stone tribute at the 2006 Grammy Awards ceremony, Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, and Jerry Martini decided the time was right for a reunion tour. Together with modern funk musicians, they took the stage as The Original Family Stone.[61] Their tour was scheduled through 2007, and has taken them to over seventy-five cities through Europe and the U.S.

During a series of European dates in July 2007, Sly Stone himself joined the Family Stone on tour, although he only briefly appeared onstage during the performances. [62]. The line up for the European shows in July included four original members of the Fresh era line-up: Sly Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Pat Rizzo, and Sly's sister Vet Stone. During the tour, Sly seemed to improve his performances and a Paris concert was the first one to get positive reviews from critics.

[edit] Awards and tributes

[edit] Accolades

Sly & the Family Stone was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. The original founding members of the Family Stone were in attendance, except Sly. Just as the band took the podium to receive their awards, Sly suddenly appeared, to thunderous applause.[19] He accepted his award, gave a quick speech, and disappeared from public view. In December 2001, Sly & the Family Stone was awarded the R&B Foundation Pioneer Award. Two Family Stone songs, "Dance to the Music" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)", are among The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked them 43rd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[63]

A Sly & The Family Stone tribute album, Different Strokes By Different Folks, was released on July 12, 2005 by Starbucks' Hear Music label. The project features cover versions of the band's songs, songs which sample the original recordings, and songs that do both. The artists included The Roots ("Star", which samples "Everybody Is a Star"), Maroon 5, Arrested Development ("Everyday People"), John Legend, Joss Stone & Van Hunt ("Family Affair"); the Black Eyed Peas' ("Dance to the Music"), and Steven Tyler and Robert Randolph ("I Want to Take You Higher"). Epic Records' version of the tribute album (with two additional covers: "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" and "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)") was released on February 7, 2006. The version of "Family Affair" included on the album won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.[64]

Sony BMG, the current owners of the Epic Records catalog, commemorated Sly & the Family Stone's 40th anniversary in 2007 by re-issuing the band's first seven albums in limited print runs on compact disc, remastered and expanded with bonus tracks, leaving their late '70s material, still without reissue.[65] The remastered albums were made available for purchase both separately and as part of a boxed set entitled The Collection, and can also be purchased through digital download as well.[65]

[edit] Grammy Awards tribute

A Sly & the Family Stone tribute took place at the 2006 Grammy Awards on February 8, 2006. The original plan, to have been a surprise for audiences, was to feature a reunion performance by the original Sly & the Family Stone lineup as the highlight of the tribute. However, the Grammy Award show's producers were worried that Sly Stone, who missed some of the rehearsals and belatedly arrived for others, would miss the show.[66]

The tribute began halfway through the Grammy Awards ceremony, and was introduced by comedian Dave Chappelle. It featured Nile Rodgers, Joss Stone, Van Hunt, and John Legend performing "Family Affair"; Fantasia and Devin Lima performing "If You Want Me to Stay"; Adam Levine and Ciara performing "Everyday People"; performing "Dance to the Music"; and Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of Aerosmith with Robert Randolph performing "I Want to Take You Higher".[67]

After the first half of "I Want to Take You Higher", the Family Stone took the stage alongside the other musicians, and Tyler called backstage "Hey, Sly; let's do it the way we used to do it!" Sporting a blonde mohawk hairdo, sunglasses, and a silver lamé suit, Sly Stone emerged and contributed vocals and keyboards to a continuation of "I Want To Take You Higher." Three minutes into the performance, Sly tossed a wave to the audience and exited the stage, leaving the Family Stone and the guest performers to complete the number alone.[66]

Sly's unusual appearance and brief performance garnered highly mixed reviews and was covered throughout the press. An Associated Press report referred to Sly as the "J. D. Salinger of funk" and simply referred to the performance as being "bizarre".[66] MTV News was less positive about the tribute performance: "The Grammy performance—Sly's first with the original Family Stone since 1971—was a halting, confused affair and a complete disservice to his music."[34] Several people, however, were more positive about the performance, including another AP report, which stated that "nineteen years after his last live performance, Sly Stone proved he's still able to steal the show."[68]

[edit] Members

This listing features the lineup from 1966 to 1975. After 1975, the lineup changed with each of the last four Sly & the Family Stone LPs. Personnel appearing on these recordings are credited in the individual album articles for High on You, Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back, Back on the Right Track, and Ain't But the One Way.

* Sly Stone (Sylvester Stewart) (1966–1975): vocals, organ, guitar, bass guitar, piano, harmonica, and more
* Freddie Stone (Frederick Stewart) (1966–1975): vocals, guitar
* Larry Graham (1966–1972): vocals, bass guitar
* Rose Stone (Rosemary Stewart) (1968–1975): vocals, piano, electric piano
* Cynthia Robinson (1966–1975): trumpet, vocal ad libs
* Jerry Martini (1966–1975): saxophone
* Gregg Errico (1966–1971): drums
* Little Sister; Vet Stone (Vaetta Stewart), Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton (1966–1975): background vocals
* Gerry Gibson (1971–1972): drums; replaced Gregg Errico
* Pat Rizzo (1972–1975): saxophone
* Max Kerr (1972): bass; gigging stand-in between Larry Graham and Rusty Allen
* Rusty Allen (1972–1975): bass; replaced Larry Graham
* Andy Newmark (1973–1974): drums; replaced Gerry Gibson
* Bill Lordan (1974): drums; replaced Andy Newmark
* Sid Page (1973-1974): violin
* Vicki Blackwell (1974–1975): violin
* Jim Strassburg (1974): drums; replaced Bill Lordan
* Adam Veaner (1975): drums; replaced Jim Strassburg

[edit] Discography
Main article: Sly & the Family Stone discography

[edit] Main albums

* 1967: A Whole New Thing
* 1968: Dance to the Music
* 1968: Life
* 1969: Stand!
* 1971: There's a Riot Goin' On
* 1973: Fresh
* 1974: Small Talk
* 1975: High on You (credited only to "Sly Stone")
* 1976: Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back
* 1979: Back on the Right Track
* 1983: Ain't But the One Way

[edit] Notes

1. ^ Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Sly Stone Book
2. ^ "Sly & the Family Stone". 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 1993. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
3. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. xi.
4. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas . "Sly & the Family Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
5. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. xi-xix.
6. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 1–4.
7. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 12.
8. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 8–9.
9. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 88; interview with Elva "Tiny" Moulton.
10. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 59–60; interviews with David Kapralik and Jerry Martini.
11. ^ a b Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 60; interview with Jerry Martini.
12. ^ a b c d e f "Sly & the Family Stone: Billboard Singles". All Media Guide, LLC.. 2006. Retrieved on 2007-01-26.
13. ^ a b c d e Kaliss, Jeff. "Sly and the Family Stone: 'Different strokes for different folks.'" Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
14. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas . Review for Life by Sly & the Family Stone. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
15. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 68; interview with Jerry Martini.
16. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas . Review for Stand! by Sly & the Family Stone. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
17. ^ a b c Williams and Romanowski (1988), pp. 138–139. Williams discusses Sly & the Family Stone's impact on the R&B industry, and how the group's multiple lead vocals and psychedelic sound inspired "Cloud Nine" and other such Temptations recordings.
18. ^ Sly & the Family Stone (performers), Sylvester Stewart (author). (1968). Dance to the Music (Vinyl recording). New York: Epic/CBS Records.
19. ^ a b c "Sly and the Family Stone". Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
20. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason (2006). "Larry Graham". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-01.
21. ^ "The Temptations". 1989 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 1989. Retrieved on 2007-01-23.
22. ^ Planer, Lindsay. Review for Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 by The Jackson 5. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
* Liner notes from Smiling Faces: The Best of Undisputed Truth. New York: Universal/Motown Records. Excerpt: "'Undisputed Truth was one of Motown's boldest acts. They were the brainchild of legendary producer Norman Whitfield, who described them as 'a perfect cross between Sly & the Family Stone and the 5th Dimension.'"
* Erlewine, Stephen Thomas . "Sly & the Family Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18. Sly Stone later toured and recorded with Funkadelic in the late 1970s/early 1980s
* Huey, Steve. "Arrested Development". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
23. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "Review of "Everyday People" by Sly & the Family Stone". Retrieved on 2007-02-03.
24. ^ Rolling Stone Magazine 2007/08/18 Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
25. ^ Fotenot, Robert. "Profile: Sly & the Family Stone". Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
26. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 107, 146–152
27. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 89; interview with David Kapralik.
28. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 94–98
29. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 122
30. ^ Hoskyns, Barney (2006-03-26). "Looking at the Devil". Guardian Unlimited. Jan. 23, 2007.
31. ^ Bass Legend Graham Lays Down the Millennial Funk: Larry Graham. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2008-10-25.
32. ^ allmusic: Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin). All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved on 2008-10-25.
33. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 113–115
34. ^ a b Aswad, Jem (2006-02-10). "Who, Exactly, Is Sly Stone? (That Weird Guy With The Mohawk At The Grammys)". Retrieved on 2006-02-11.
35. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 120–122
36. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 99–100, 150–152
37. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 146–147
38. ^ Rolling Stone - Sly & the Family Stone: Greatest Hits : Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2008-10-01.
39. ^ Stewart, Vaetta. "Introduction to Sly's Lil Sis Site". Sly's Lil Sis/Little Sister Website. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
40. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 115–117
41. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 115; interview with Stephen Paley.
42. ^ Sly & the Family Stone: There's A Riot Goin' On (1971). Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2008-10-01.
43. ^ a b Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 134
44. ^ a b c Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 150–154
45. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Review for Fresh by Sly & the Family Stone. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
46. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 164–167.
47. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 174
48. ^ Sly & the Family Stone: Billboard Singles. All Media Guide, LLC. (2006). Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
49. ^ allmusic: Small Talk - Overview. All Media Guide, LLC. Retrieved on 2008-10-25.
50. ^ a b Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 141–145
51. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 186–189.
52. ^ a b Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 188–191.
53. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Leon Russell". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
54. ^ Credits for Andy Newmark. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
55. ^ Rosen, Dave. Review for There's a Riot Goin' On. Ink Blot Magazine. The band had a huge impact on The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Retrieved from m on 2007-01-18
56. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Review for Head Hunters by Herbie Hancock. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
57. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), p. 163
58. ^ Kaliss, Jeff. "Sly and the Family Stone: 'Different strokes for different folks.'" Retrieved on 2007-01-18 Different Strokes by Different Folks [audio podcast—2 episodes]. New York: Sony Music Entertainment. Retrieved on 2007-01-18. Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder's inspirations from Sly & the Family Stone are mentioned in this article. The other artists listed are among those who participated in the 2006 Sly & the Family Stone tribute album Different Strokes by Different Strokes, and discuss their participation in the podcast.
59. ^ a b Birchmeier, Jason. "Review of Ain't But the One Way by Sly & the Family Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
60. ^ Wilkinson, Peter (2006-02-24). "Sly's Strange Comeback". Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2007-01-23.
61. ^ The Original Family Stone: Founding Members of Sly & the Family Stone. Retrieved on 2007-02-12.
62. ^ "Sly Stone Performance Turns Into Tour".
63. ^ "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone Issue 946. Rolling Stone.
64. ^ 49th Annual Grammy Awards Winners List. The Recording Academy. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
65. ^ a b Jones, Steve (Apr 10, 2007). "New Day for Sly & the Family Stone". USA Today. Digital version retrieved on April 29, 2007.
66. ^ a b c Coyle, Jake (2006-02-08). "Reclusive Sly Stone Steps Out at Grammys". Retrieved on 2007-02-01.
67. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2006). "Review of the Sly & the Family Stone compilation tribute album Different Strokes by Different Folks. Retrieved on 2007-02-01.
68. ^ Associated Press (2006-02-09). "Sly Stone Steals Show At Grammys". Retrieved on 2006-02-12.

[edit] References

* Aronowitz, Al (Nov. 1, 2002). "The Preacher". The Blacklisted Journal.
* Ankeny, Jason (2005). ""Sylvester 'Sly Stone' Stewart" Retrieved March 29, 2005.
* Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2005). "Sly & the Family Stone". Retrieved March 29, 2005.
* Kaliss, Jeff (2008). I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly & the Family Stone. New York: Hal Leonard/Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-879-30934-2.
* Lewis, Miles Marshall (2006). There's a Riot Goin' On. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-826-41744-2.
* Selvin, Joel (1998). For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History. New York: Quill Publishing. ISBN 0-380-79377-6.
* Williams, Otis and Romanowski, Patricia (1988, updated 2002). Temptations. Lanham, MD: Cooper Square. ISBN 081-541218-5
* (2003) "Sly and the Family Stone". Retrieved March 29, 2005.
* Edwin & Arno Konings

[edit] External links

* Official Sony BMG Sly & the Family Stone website
* Sly & the Family Stone discography at MusicBrainz
* The Family Stone Project
* Rock and Roll Hall of Fame page on Sly & the Family Stone
* SlyAndTheFamilyStone.Net
* [ Dance To The Music, documentary about Sly & the Family Stone, broadcasted 7/12/2008
*, News site on Sly & The family Stone

v • d • e
Sly & the Family Stone
Sly Stone • Freddie Stone • Rose Stone • Cynthia Robinson • Greg Errico • Jerry Martini • Larry Graham
Studio albums
A Whole New Thing • Dance to the Music • Life • Stand! • There's a Riot Goin' On • Fresh • Small Talk • High on You • Heard You Missed Me, Well I'm Back • Back on the Right Track • Ain't But the One Way
Greatest Hits • Ten Years Too Soon • Sly & the Family Stone Anthology • Who in the Funk Do You Think You Are: The Warner Bros. Recordings • Rock and Roll • The Essential Sly & the Family Stone • Different Strokes by Different Folks • Higher! • The Collection
Underdog • Dance to the Music • Dance à la Musique • Life • Everyday People • Stand! • Hot Fun in the Summertime • Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) • I Want to Take You Higher * Family Affair • Runnin' Away * {You Caught Me) Smilin' * I Ain't Got Nobody * If You Want Me to Stay • Frisky * Time for Livin' • Loose Booty * I Get High on You * Le Lo Li * Crossword Puzzle * Le Lo Li * Blessing in Disguise * Family Again
Additional personnel
Vet Stone • Mary McCreary • Elva Mouton • Gerry Gibson • Rusty Allen • Pat Rizzo • Andy Newmark • Bill Lordan • Vicki Blackwell • Jim Strassburg
Related articles
Awards * Discography • Sly Stone solo discography • Members • Little Sister
Featured article
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Sly & the Family Stone | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees | Musical groups established in 1967 | 1960s music groups | 1970s music groups | Soul musical groups | American funk musical groups | American rock music groups | History of San Francisco, California | Musical groups from San Francisco, California | Epic Records artists

Discussion Forum

What du U remember bout SLY>>>Cuzz...

Started by P_Eazy Apr 6, 2009.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of FANS OF SLY STONE to add comments!

Comment by Syunsuke Ono on June 25, 2013 at 2:37pm

Please check out my covers of Sly's songs!


Comment by carl cc on February 14, 2011 at 5:13pm
nice pictures.
Comment by Funkangel77 on February 14, 2011 at 5:06pm
Comment by cameilyun on January 11, 2011 at 3:27am

So when does the Sly Stone documentary come out?

anybody know

Comment by carl cc on August 11, 2010 at 12:34pm
its a cool video of sly doing if you want me to stay on youtube and hes rocking a korg r3 synthesizer. he does a cool solo. i been trying to get that sound on my korg every since!
Comment by Funky Kev on November 21, 2009 at 2:52pm

Comment by Rony Funkadelian Playstation on April 21, 2009 at 2:59pm
i agree steve,each one song is golden.
Comment by Rony Funkadelian Playstation on April 2, 2009 at 5:29pm
sly is funk giant.
Comment by LoveAgent7 on April 2, 2009 at 3:26pm

Comment by LoveAgent7 on April 2, 2009 at 3:26pm


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