Today the musical genius that is Sly Stone turns 71 years old.
On our menu:
“Dance to the Music”
From 1968, Sly & The Family Stone’s first hit single helped launch the “psychedelic soul” sound that was a huge influence on acts such as The Temptations, The Undisputed Truth, War, Parliament and The 5th Dimension. Interestingly, the Family Stone didn’t care for the track, thinking it too commercial.
“Sing a Simple Song”
Sly & The Family Stone drummer Greg Errico said this song isn’t simple at all; it’s actually difficult to play live.
“In those days it was the hippies who cut their hair and ran away from the hippy feeling. It’s about how, at a certain time, everybody runs away from something.” – Sly Stone
From 1971, this was Sly’s third #1 pop hit and his last top ten.
“Somebody’s Watching You”
A track from 1969, seventeen years after President Truman formed the NSA.
“Hot Fun in the Summertime”
This song contains the lyric “I cloud nine when I want to,” a reference to The Temptations hit song “Cloud Nine,” insinuating that the Motown band was echoing The Family Stone’s vocal style. This single went to #2 on the pop chart, kept from the top spot by The Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next to You.”
“Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey”
And vice versa, per the song. Made more impactful due to the fact that this as one of the first integrated bands (which also had men and women playing major roles).
“If You Want Me to Stay”
The band’s final gold single, from 1973
“Everybody is a Star”
Recorded for an album that was never competed, this song, along with “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” was included on a 1970 Greatest Hits set from the band.
“In the end you’ll still be you, one that’s done all the things you set out to do”
“I Want to Take You Higher”
Released as the b-side of the “Stand!” single, the band’s incendiary performance of the tune at Woodstock had their record label release it as a single a-side, becoming another top 40 hit for them.
“And so on and so on and scooby doobie doobie.” Has any other song said so much as elegantly?
“Que Sera, Sera”
One of the few cover versions his band recorded
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”
Hulk Hogan’s daughter Brooke released a cover of this song. It’s not as well known.
Jesse Johnson, lead guitarist of The Time, brought in Sly to help on this 1986 club hit that went to #2 on the r&b chart.