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.

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Music Monday: June 27, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Let’s send the month of June out on a funk-filled note. My favorite group from that genre is Sly & The Family Stone. Formed in 1966 and headed up by the incredibly multi-talented singer, songwriter, musician & producer Sly Stone, the group’s sound was unique & infectious. They had one of the first diverse lineups which included black, white & female members. And when they took the stage, there were few bands who could match their talent and energy.

Today’s song, the first single from their 1968 album Stand, went to #1 for four weeks the following year. The track was a commentary on inclusion extended to anyone who saw themselves in the lyrics or who just wanted a place in the dance party. All were welcome, even if you were on the sidelines just tapping your foot to the beat. The group’s invitation was open to all and brought them to the top spot on the charts for the first time in their career.

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 and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in
“.

Sly & The Family Stone Portrait

Sly & The Family Stone circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sly & The Family Stone: “Everyday People” (1968, written by ¬†Sylvester Stewart a/k/a Sly Stone).

Stay safe & well.