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Sly and the Family Stone Biography

Birth Place: San Francisco, California, United States
Years Active: 1966–1975, 1976–1983, 2010-present
Genres: Funk, Soul, Rock, Psychedelic Soul

Sly and the Family Stone was an American rock, funk, and soul band from San Francisco, California. Active from 1966 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music. Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an integrated, multi-gender lineup.

Brothers Sly Stone and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls) in 1967. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Errico, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham completed the original lineup; Sly and Freddie's sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year. This collective recorded five Billboard Hot 100 hits which reached the Top 10, and four ground-breaking albums, which greatly influenced the sound of American pop music, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music.

Some of the group’s most well known songs include, “Dance To The Music,” “Stand!,”

“I Want to Take You Higher,” “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and the #1 hits, “Everyday People,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Family Affair.” Their 1970 “Greatest Hits” album went to #2 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and #1 on the R&B chart. In 1971 they again topped the R&B chart while also reaching #1 on the Billboard 200 with the release of the album, “There’s a Riot Goin’ On.”

During the early 1970s, the band switched to a grittier funk sound, which was as influential on the music industry as their earlier work. The band began to fall apart during this period because of drug abuse and ego clashes. Consequently, the fortunes and reliability of the band deteriorated, leading to its dissolution in 1975.

Sly Stone continued to record albums and tour with a new rotating lineup under the Sly and the Family Stone name from 1975 to 1983. In 1987, Sly Stone was arrested and sentenced for cocaine use, after which he went into effective retirement. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.