This American rock band included funk and soul into their music. Sly and the Family Stone were on top from 1967 to 1983 and had a hand in the development of soul, funk and psychedelic music. The group was headed by Sly Stone who is a singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He formed the group which also included some of his family members. Altogether they were Sly and Freddie Stone, Cynthia Robinson trumpet, Gregg Errico drums, Jerry Martini sax, and Larry Graham bass and a year after they came together sister Rose Stone joined the band as singer/keyboardist.
Sly and the Family Stone came out with their first album in 1967 A Whole New Thing. Their first record-breaking hit came in 1968 “Dance to the Music” and it rose up on the Billboard Hot 100. They took off for their first overseas tour to England that same year. Their next single was “Everyday People” which was a sort of protest song against prejudices of all kinds. It included what became a catchphrase “different strokes for different folks”.
The second side of this single “Sing a Simple Song” became the lead single for the band’s second album Stand! released in 1969 and this album went on to sell over three million copies. It included the songs “I Want to Take You Higher”, “Sex Machine”, and “You Can Make It If You Try”. After the success of this album, Sly and the Family Stone performed at the Woodstock Festival.
This was followed by the single “Hot Fun in the Summertime” which rose to number two on the U.S. pop charts. The band moved to Los Angeles, California in 1969 and they became heavy users of illegal drugs, such as cocaine and PCP. During this time they released only one single “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” and it rose right to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.
In 1971 Sly and the Family Stone came out with the single “Family Affair” and it became a number one hit. It was also the lead single of their next album There’s a Riot Goin’ On. In 1973 Sly and the Family Stone released Fresh from which the single “If You Want Me to Stay” became a Top 20 hit. This was followed by Small Talk in 1974 including the single “Time for Livin’” which became the band’s final Top 40 hit single. After their performance in New York City at Radio City Music Hall in 1975 Sly and the Family Stone broke up.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine ranked them as number 43 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Their tribute album was released in 2005 Different Strokes by Different Folks.