Sly & the Family Stone Photography

Sly & the Family Stone

Besides unconventionally blending soul, funk, and psychedelic music, Sly & The Family Stone were also the first significant American act with a culturally-integrated, multi-gender lineup. Naturally, subjects of peace, diversity, and unity were plentiful, though they were always accompanied by some seriously sizzling grooves.

From 1967 to 1974, the group churned out hits like “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” “If You Want Me to Stay,” and “Family Affair,” all of which influenced countless rock, pop, funk, and hip-hop artists. Their music also transitioned with the times—growing darker and more socially aware—reflecting the cultural shifts that marked the end of the ’60s.

The group was honored for their many achievements with a 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a 2006 Grammy Awards tribute that found even the extremely reclusive Sly making a brief cameo. Perhaps author and music critic Joel Selvin sums up the band’s innovation best by simply saying: “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone.”

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