Family Affair – Sly and the Family Stone – 1971

Sly 1 coverBelieve it or not, one of the very first single records I ever bought – back in the days when we still bought single records – was I Want to Take You Higher, by Sly and the Family Stone. Unfortunately, with a 1969 release date, that song falls just outside of the seventiesmusic boundary (not that that’s stopped us before). But this one doesn’t; Family Affair, a 1970 #1 hit for Sly and the Family Stone.

sly and the family stone fax

  • Obviously an American band, Sly and the Family Stone originated from San Francisco and, from 1967 to 1983, put out a string of hit funk/soul singles and albums.
  • Headed by Sly Stone, the band contained both family members and friends, but was actually an amalgam of two bands: Sly’s band, Sly & the Stoners and his brother Freddie’s band, Freddie & the Stone Souls.
  • Sly and the Family Stone had five top ten US hit singles and four hit albums. Hit songs included: Everyday People, Stand!, I Want to Take you Higher, and Family Affair.
  • They appeared at Woodstock in what is often referred to as one of the highlights of the festival.
  • So pivotal were Sly and his band in the shaping of soul and funk music that it was once said,

There are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone.

  • Sly and the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
  • The band was dogged with scandal involving drug use and, in 1987, Sly was arrested and sentenced for cocaine use. That heralded his retirement.
  • In September 2011, the New York Post reported that Sly was homeless and living out of a white camper-van in Los Angeles:

The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where ‘Boyz n the Hood’ was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house.

family affair fax

  • Recorded in early 1971, Family Affair was released as a single on November 6, 1971 ,taken from Sly and the Family Stone’s album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On.
  • It became a #1 single on the US charts.
  • Family Affair was unlike Sly and the Stone’s previous recordings, being quieter than their previous lively funk sound.
  • Rolling Stone magazine once ranked Family Affair at #138 on their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • Cover versions of Family Affair have included: The Brothers Johnson, Iggy Pop, Madonna, Bunny Wailer, and Janet Jackson, and is sampled in The Black Eyed Peas song, Weekend.
  • Family Affair’s drum machine-created rhythm was used in The Temptations’, Let Your Hair Down (1973), and Stevie Wonder‘s You Haven’t Done Nothin’ (1974). In 2005, John Legend, Joss Stone, and Van Hunt recorded a cover featuring elements of the original recording for Different Strokes by Different Folks, a Sly & the Family Stone tribute/remix album. This version won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
  • Family Affair features on the soundtrack of The Addams Family movie.
  • Family Affair lyrics.

family affair – sly and the family stone – 1971 – video

i want to take you higher – sly and the family stone – 1969 – video – live

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