Music Monday: March 20, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

One of the premier artists who defined a progressive sound in music celebrated eight decades on this planet last week. Sylvester Stewart a/k/a Sly Stone was born 80 years ago on March 15, 1943 in Denton, Texas. He is best known as the frontman, songwriter, producer & musician for Sly & The Family Stone. Their sound was a monumental fusion of funk, rock, soul, gospel & psychedelic music.

Stone formed the band when he was 24 years old in 1967. And in the middle of one of the most racially charged years of that decade, the group’s mere existence cut right through that tension & the looming gender divide by showcasing equality. As the The New York Times noted in 2015, the band “whose inclusion of black and white musicians of both sexes, and its hippie style, made it a living poster for the ideals of the counterculture”.

The group’s debut album, A Whole New Thing, came out in 1967. The title track from their next album, Dance to the Music, put them on the charts in 1968 with their first Top Ten hit. Over the next seven years Stone & his group would enjoy incredible success complete with three number one songs, numerous awards & accolades and sold out concerts. One of their incredible live performances is featured in the 2021 Oscar winning documentary, Summer Of Soul.

I think 80 years of life deserves to be marked with, at the very least, two songs. The first pick was released in 1968, it was the band’s first number #1 song (for four weeks in 1969) and in less than two & a half minutes, it defined equality for one and all. Talk about timeless.

I am no better and neither are you
We’re all the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me & then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in

Today’s second track is also celebrating a milestone. It was released 50 years ago and peaked at #12 in September 1973. Sadly, it was the last Top 20 hit for this man and his unbelievably talented group. But they went out with the proverbial bang as this song features one of the most fabulous base lines ever recorded.

And when you see me again
I hope that you have been
The kind of person that
You really are now

Top: Sly Stone circa 1968. Bottom: The band circa 1968 (L-R): Rose Stone, Larry Graham, Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, Greg Errico, Jerry Martini (seated) and Cynthia Robinson (Bottom picture credit-Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. (Top image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sly & The Family Stone: “Everyday People” (1968, written by Sly Stone).

Sly & The Family Stone: “If You Want Me To Stay” (1973, written by Sly Stone).

Stay safe and well.


Let’s Take A Moment Day 364

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

March 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today we celebrate another birthday from the musical calendar, this one belonging to the man who helped define the sound of funk in the late 1960’s & early 1970’s. Sylvester Stewart, a/k/a Sly Stone, front man for the group Sly & The Family Stone, was born 78 years ago on March 15, 1943. in Texas. He got his start in gospel music performing at church with his siblings & future band mates, Freddie, Rose & Vaetta,

But Sly was the prodigy, mastering several instruments including the guitar & keyboards by the age of 11. He played in a few bands in high school and after graduating he worked as a radio disc jockey in California. He met Cynthia Robinson through a band in 1966 & she helped him form Sly & The Family Stone soon after. By 1967 they had their first hit, “Dance To The Music” and they were on their way.

Sadly Stone’s erratic behavior, his & other members drug use & failure to show up at performances led to the group’s demise in 1975. Many members went on to modest solo careers, including innovative bassist Larry Graham who had a hit in 1980 with “One In A Million You”. Several members of the group also worked with other artists as well. But none of them could recreate the lightening in a bottle that was The Family Stone, led by the master of funk himself. Happy birthday Sly Stone.

Got to get in straight,
How could I ever be late,
When you’re my woman taking up my time


Sly Stone circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sly & The Family Stone: “If You Want Me to Stay” (1973, written by Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.