This guest post is by Tom Cooney of a.tom.called.cooney.

Sly and the Family Stone began making music in 1966 out of San Francisco, California.  Original band members include; Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Gregg Errico, Jerry Martini, and Larry Graham.  They were joined by Rose Stone soon after.  The band is credited as one of the first racially integrated bands in music history, which also included many family members and friends.  Their message was one of peace, love and social consciousness through a fusion of funk, rock n roll, soul and r&b.  Together, the band recorded five Billboard Top 100 hits, which reached the top 10.   Unfortunately, a mixture of drugs and ego clashes caused the band to dismantle in 1975.  Sly Stone continued to tour and record albums with a rotating lineup until he was arrested in 1987 for cocaine use and forced into retirement.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.

Sly and the Family Stone is credited for changing the face of pop, soul, r&b, rock n roll and funk music.  Their blend of rock, soul, pop and jazz paved the way for a new genre of music entitled “funk”. The band has had a significant influence on hip hop as they have been sampled by such big names as A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg and Das EFX.

Listening to Sly and the Family Stone never gets old.  The bass line on If You Want Me To Stay is arguably one of the most recognizable of all time.  The lyrics on feel-good songs such as Stand and Everyday People are so rich and uplifting.  I can only hope that the band will get back together for a reunion tour so I can check them out in person.

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