Sly & The Family Stone this weekend. The band that put Bay Area Funk on the map and took Psychedelia by storm in the mid-1960s.
They are preserved for posterity here by the venerable Netherlands Radio/TV outlet VPRO; recorded on September 10, 1970 at Groenveveld Baarn.
Sly & the Family Stone were an American band from The Bay Area. Active from 1966 to 1983, they were pivotal in the development of funk, soul, rock, and psychedelic music. Its core line-up was led by singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and included Stone’s brother and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone, sister and singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Greg Errico, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham. It was the first major American rock group to have a racially integrated, male and female lineup.
Formed in 1966, the group’s music synthesized a variety of disparate musical genres to help pioneer the emerging “psychedelic soul” sound. They released a series of Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits such as “Dance to the Music” (1968), “Everyday People” (1968), and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” (1969), as well as critically acclaimed albums such as Stand! (1969), which combined pop sensibility with social commentary. In the 1970s, they transitioned into a darker and less commercial funk sound on releases such as There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971) and Fresh (1973), proving as influential as their early work. By 1975, drug problems and interpersonal clashes led to dissolution, though Sly continued to record and tour with a new rotating lineup under the name “Sly & the Family Stone” until drug problems forced his effective retirement in 1987.
The work of Sly & the Family Stone greatly influenced the sound of subsequent American funk, pop, soul, R&B, and hip hop music. Music critic Joel Selvin wrote, “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone”. In 2010, they were ranked 43rd in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, and three of their albums are included on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Crank this one up and celebrate. Note: There some electronic drop-out at the beginning of Stand, but it only lasts a few seconds, so that shouldn’t put a dent in your enjoyment.