Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone were a fantastic blend soul, funk, and psychedelic. They were different from other ‘dance’ music groups in the sense that they placed political themes in their songs. They were also one of the first bands to be both socially integrated and feature male and female members. Sly and The Family Stone went on to influence artists from the likes of Prince, Rick James, Public Enemy, Fatboy Slim, and so on. The group’s front man was Sly Stone. Sly and his brother Fred were in many short lived music groups, such as Grace Slick.

The original lineup consisted of Sly, as the lyricist and vocalist, his brother, Fred, as the guitarist and vocalist, their sister, Rosie Stone, as the keyboardist and vocalist, Larry Graham as the bassist, Greg Eirrico as the drummer, Cynthia Robinson, as the trumpeter and vocalist, and Jerry Martini, as the saxophonist .
One of their greatest political songs is without a doubt “Everyday People.” The song isn’t one where you will have to do serious thinking to find out some hidden meaning, it’s right there in the line, “I am no better and neither are you, we are the same, whatever we do.” Throughout the entirety of its length, in between Sly stating that all people are everyday people, Rosie jumps in with a voice sounding like its whining singing the lines, “There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair for being such a rich one that will not help the poor one.” Not only does it have an overall meaning of viewing yourself and those around you in a bigger picture, it also points out some of the biggest social problems of its time.

Another Sly and the Family Stone song is “Dance to the Music.” “Dance to the Music” was featured in the end of the film Shrek, for all you cartoon fans. The song was made to be popular, and led to that “psychedelic soul” sound that would later be seen in the Jackson 5 as well as within other groups.