Sly & The Family Stone
Sly and the Family Stone was an American band from San Francisco. Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of funk, soul, rock, and psychedelic music. The group’s core line-up was led by singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and featured Stone’s brother and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone, sister and singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham. The band was the first major American rock group to have an “integrated, multi-gender” lineup. Formed in 1967, the group’s music synthesized a variety of disparate musical genres to help pioneer the emerging “psychedelic soul” sound. They soon found commercial success, recording 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 critically acclaimed albums such as Stand! (1969), which combined pop sensibility with social commentary. In the 1970s, Sly and the Family Stone transitioned into a darker and less commercial funk sound that would result in releases such as There’s a Riot Goin’ On (1971) and prove as influential as their early work. By 1975, drug problems and interpersonal clashes led to the group’s dissolution, though Sly Stone continued to record and tour with a new rotating lineup under the name “Sly and the Family Stone” until drug problems forced his effective retirement in 1987. The work of Sly and the Family Stone greatly influenced the sound of subsequent American pop, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. Music critic Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly and the Family Stone’s influence on African American music by stating “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 list of “The 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time,” and three of their albums are included in the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Two of the original members Jerry Martini and Greg Errico still tour today as The Family Stone without Sly. Cynthia Robinson toured with them from 2006 until her death in 2015.