and the Family Stone
| Just how big is the musical
contribution made by Sly Stone? Jazz innovator Miles Davis was quoted
as he entered his "electric" period that if he could get
Sly & Jimi Hendrix in the studio the result would be magnificent.
Sly & The Family Stone used elements of the African American church,
rock & roll, blues, jazz improvisation and theater to forge a
funky new path on the American musical landscape.
At the peak of his popularity, Hendrix was asked whom he was listening
to. His answer, unswervingly was Sly. Indeed, it has been reported
that on the last night of life for Jimi Hendrix, his band mates picked
up Sly at London's Heathrow airport en route to a jam that was fated
not to occur.
Carlos Santana states unequivocally that Sly & The Family Stone
played better than anyone at Woodstock. Of course Sly was on the golden
road years before. As a teenager he was a member of the Viscaynes,
who had a regional hit, "Yellow Moon", before they were
out of high school.
At the ripe old age of 19, Sly was the house, producer, arranger,
songwriter at the legendary
Autumn Records supervising studio sessions for Gloria Scott &
Tonettes, Bobby Freeman, The Spearmints, The Beau Brummels, Sly &
The Mojo Men, The Vejtables, The Chosen Few, Grace Slick & The
Great Society and Billy Preston. Amazingly enough he still found time
to become the most popular DJ on San Francisco's KSOL radio.
In his mid twenties, Sly & The Family Stone came together and
their second album "Dance To The Music" became a huge hit.
A funk band with a rock personna, the Family Stone mirrored the political
climate of the youth. They influenced American music for generations
to come. Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, they
were also awarded a Pioneer Achievement Award by the Rhythm &
Blues Hall of Fame in 2000. Rumors of new music and reunion of the
Family Stone continue to surface to this day. Meanwhile, the legacy
continues with Phunk Family affair, the group that includes Sly's
Little Sister, Vet Stone, and Cynthia Robinson.