“There are two types of black music: Black music before Sly Stone and Black music after Sly Stone”, with these words music critic, Joel Selvin announced to the world the legacy of Sly And The Family Stones can’t be understated. Not sure how you can be in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and be underrated but that’s the case for this San Francisco genre-destroying band. Why spotlight Sly And The Family Stone? Let’s first off click off the accolades:
A. The first and most prominent multi-racial and multi-gender band of the rock and roll era. This can’t be understated, they changed the perception of what a rock band would look and sound like.
B. One of the originators of the psychedelic music scene and pioneers of FUNK music! Don’t forget they headlined at Woodstock too!
C. If you had to pick one artist that Prince exemplified most, it’s be a toss up between Hendrix, James Brown, and Sly Stone but I’d go with Sly here.
D. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Stevie Wonder’s social commentary album probably wouldn’t have happened without Sly And The Family Stone paving the way with seminal albums like “There’s A Riot Going On”.
10. “STAND!” Not afraid to stand up for their beliefs, “Stand!” set the stage for more aggressive tracks like “Thank You For Talkin’ To Me Africa”
9. “I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER” Went to the top of the charts after their electrifying set at Woodstock.
8. “HOT FUN IN THE SUMMERTIME” An all-time summer anthem that ranks on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All-Time.
7. “QUE SERA SERA” Funk overload on their amazing reinterpretation of a Doris Day ditty.
6. “THANK YOU” One of the biggest hits of 1970 and another notch of the list of Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Song List.
5. “DANCE TO THE MUSIC” It’s Motown meets George Clinton, if someone asks what is funk music, this is the song you’re going to play them.
4. “EVERYBODY IS A STAR” The most accessible song in their catalog, Larry Graham’s deep bass vocals take center stage here on this inspiring and timeless anthem.
3. “IF YOU WANT ME TO STAY” Their last big hit just refuses to quit. The most Prince-like song in their catalog, Sly’s vocals are incredible but it’s that jazzed up arrangement with trumpets, saxophone, and drums battle for supremacy. The Red Hot Chili Peppers pay tribute with their powerful cover.
2. “FAMILY AFFAIR” Grammy For Song of the Year, #143 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 list, funk, gospel, R&B, rock, African rhythms all merging together in a power political anthem for the ages.
1. “EVERYDAY PEOPLE” “Different strokes for different folks”, racism? sexism? elitism? inequalities? This song should be a required listen at every political convention, Democratic or Republican.