Appreciating all that makes America special

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone, www.greatamericanthings.net

Sly and the Family Stone during good times. Uploaded by hilarysheperd.com.

Sly and the Family Stone made some great music. They were trend setters both in the multiracial and multigender composition of the band. They also brought a new sound, a mixture of pop, funk, and soul that produced chart-topping hits and memorable rhythms. Oh, and one other thing. Let’s let the usually discrete Wikipedia describe it:

“In 1970, Sly Stone spent most of his waking hours on drugs.”

Sly and the Family Stone, www.greatamericanthings.net

Uploaded by puremusic.com.

There’s a great short speech in one of my favorite movies, That Thing You Do, by the jazz musician Del Paxton. “But sooner or later something makes you crazy. Money…women…the road. Hell, man, just time.” For Sly and the family, it was drugs. Sly never went anywhere without them. He developed a habit of arriving late for shows – or not showing up at all. It was downhill for the band from there.

But the band had some big hits, including:

  • “Dance to the Music” (#8, 1967)
  • “Everyday People” (#1, 1968)
  • “Stand” (#22, 1969)
  • “Hot Fun in the Summertime” (#2, 1969)
  • “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (#1, 1969)
  • “Family Affair” (#1, 1971)

Sly and the Family Stone were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. (Naturally, Sly showed up late and left early.) They are ranked #43 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

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