Sly & The Family Stone
Sly Stone, born Sylvester Stewart is a Rock Funk & Soul and R&B artist. He was the lead member of Sly & The Family Stone. Sly Stone and his brother, Freddie Stone (singer/guitar), combined their bands in 1967 (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls). Sly, Freddie, Cynthia Robinson (trumpet), Gregg Errico (drums), Jerry Martini (saxophone), and Larry Graham (bass) are the original members of the original lineup. Sly and Freddie’s sister, (singer/keyboard) Rose Stone, joined within a year.
Sly as well as his band members were a major asset in Funk & Soul music. They say “James Brown may have invented funk, but Sly & the family Stone perfected it.” The 60’s and 70’s was the period where the group had its biggest impact. Their fusion of R&B, infectious melodies, and psychedelia created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid that had a long lasting relevance.
This group constantly made socially conscience lyrics in its music. The pioneering precedent of Stone’s racial, sexual, and stylistic mix, had a major influence in the 1980s on artists such as Prince and Rick James.
Sly’s family moved from Denton, Texas to Vallejo, CA and this is when Sly and his brother Freddie and their sisters Rose and Vaetta formed “The Stewart Four” as children. They performed gospel music in the Church of God in Christ and recorded some tracks in 1952. They all adopted the surname Stone and joined the group Sly & The Family Stone.
At age 7, Sly was a proficient keyboard player. At 11 he mastered the guitar, bass guitar, along with drums. He played guitar in many different high school bands was even in a Doo Wop group. This Doo Wop group featured him and his friend who was Filipino, and they were the only group that didn’t have any white members. This in a sense made them popular and influenced Sly to include multi-cultural members in his band as he got famous.