Sly & The Family Stone were a highly acclaimed and influential R&B/funk band from San Francisco that became famous during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Formed in 1966, the core lineup consisted of frontman Sly Stone (b. Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943) and three actual family members - brother Freddie Stone (vocals, guitar), sister Rose Stone (vocals, keyboards), and cousin Larry Graham (bass guitar) - plus trumpeter/singer Cynthia Robinson (January 12, 1944 - November 23, 2015), Jerry Martini (saxophone), and Gregg Errico (drums). Sly & The Family Stone were the first major rock band to have a racially diverse lineup, and one that included both genders. The band's unique sound came from a fusion of funk with psychedelic pop and rock, and Sly & The Family Stone became among the early pioneers of the then-new "psychedelic soul" genre. The lyrics for many of the band's hits, all written and produced by Stone, covered such topics as peace, love, equality, tolerance, self-empowerment, and social justice.
Sly & The Family Stone made their debut in 1968 with the exuberant "Dance To The Music," which became a Top 10 hit on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts. This smash was followed by a long string of hits that included "Everyday People" (1968), "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin" (1970), and "Family Affair" (1971), all of which shot to the top of both charts and became among the band's best known songs. The latter song was the lead single for the band's 5th album, "There's A Riot Goin' On," which topped both the Billboard 200 and R&B albums charts upon its release in late 1971. Other top hits included "Stand!" (1969), the title song from the band's critically acclaimed 4th album, plus "Sing A Simple Song" (1969), "Hot Fun In The Summertime" (1969), "Everybody Is A Star" (1970), "I Want To Take You Higher" (1969), "Runnin' Away" (1972), "Smilin'" (1972), "If You Want Me To Stay" (1973), and "Time For Livin'" (1974). Sly & The Family Stone had their final chart entry in 1979 with "Remember Who You Are."
Sly & The Family Stone toured actively and were among the featured performers at the historic 1969 Woodstock festival. By 1975, all the original band members had departed, and Sly Stone continued to record and tour with a new rotating lineup through the early 1980s, as well as record solo. Sly & The Family Stone were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2007. The band's many other honors and accolades also include the R&B Foundation Pioneer Award (2001). Sly & The Family Stone are listed in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and three of the band's albums are included on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: "Stand!" (1969), "There's A Riot Goin' On" (1971), and "Fresh" (1973). "Dance To The Music" and "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin" are among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
- For more info on Sly & The Family Stone and Sly Stone's career over the years, visit slystonemusic.com.
- The New York Times remembers Cynthia Robinson.
- Cynthia Robinson discusses what it was like to be the first female trumpet player in a major band in an interview with Ebony (July 29, 2015).
- Freddie Stone discusses the band's early beginnings and the making of "Stand!" in an interview with WaxPoetics.com (November 14, 2014).
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Sly And The Family Stone
- Dance To The Music 1968
- Everybody Is A Star 1970
- Everyday People 1968
(This song topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts and later also became a hit for Joan Jett (1983).)
- Family Affair 1971
(This song topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts and later also became a hit for Shabba Ranks (1994). "Family Affair" is included in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.)
- Hot Fun In The Summertime 1969
(This song later also became a hit for Dayton (1982).)
- I Want To Take You Higher 1969
(This song recharted for Sly & the Family Stone in 1970 and also became a hit for Ike & Tina Turner that same year.)
- If You Want Me To Stay 1973
- Stand! 1969
- Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin 1970
(This song, which topped both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts, is listed in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The unusual song title is an obfuscated spelling of "thank you for letting me be myself again.")
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