March 15, 2010

Monday music

Today is Sylvester “Sly” Stone’s birthday

We know the name because of the San Francisco based rock band, Sly and the Family Stone, which started life as a compilation of two bands. Sly started Sly and the Stoners in 1966, about the same time brother Freddie formed Freddie and the Stone Soul. The combined band included Stone sisters Rose and Vet, along with Larry Graham, Gregg Errico, Cynthia Robinson, and Jerry Martini. The band released it’s first album in 1967, a dud called A Whole New Thing.

In spite of a poor start, the band was good, and in 1968 won a talent contest and $10,000 prize.

The win gained Sly and the Family Stone the boost they needed, and when they released Dance to the Music, containing the near gold hit single of the same name, the album quickly hit Billboard’s top 100.

Woodstock propelled them higher yet.

In 1971 the band came to Dallas, playing a concert at Memorial Auditorium. They showed up late, some time after concert promoters announced they would cancel the show. The band played the gig, but not before the announcement riled an already restless crowd, resulting in a near riot. In November that same year they released their fifth album, ironically titled There’s a Riot Going On, containing their first Billboard number one hit, Family Affair.

Including a requisite Greatest Hits platter, the band released an even dozen albums before drifting apart in 1982. The breakup was due mostly to drug abuse, and the resulting unpredictable behavior. Several gigs were played with one member or another not showing up.

There have been multiple reunions featuring various combinations of the old band members and a variety of new artists. Here is Sly at the Tokyo Jazz Festival, along with sister Rose and Cynthia Robinson of the old crew, combining with Lisa Banks (Rose’s daughter), Anthony Stead, Mike Rinta, Jerry Martini, Spider Dubose, and Pete and Tony Yates.

Happy birthday, Sly, glad you came along.



One Fly said...

I like Sly! Thanks for this Mule Breath.