January 27, 2006


Sly Stone's Surprise: Reclusive Musician May Emerge to Perform At Grammy Awards (J. Freedom du Lac, January 27, 2006, Washington Post )

Sly Stone, the reclusive, long-vanished funk-rock pioneer whose potent recordings in the late 1960s and early '70s defined the era and altered the course of popular music, may be about to strut back into the public eye.

According to several friends and associates, discussions are well underway about a Sly and the Family Stone reunion performance at the Grammy Awards on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles. [...]

A funk legend himself, [George] Clinton was forced to rethink his approach to music after hearing Sly and the Family Stone's landmark 1969 album, "Stand!"

"He's my idol; forget all that peer stuff," Clinton said. "I heard 'Stand!,' and it was like: Man , forget it! That band was perfect. And Sly was like all the Beatles and all of Motown in one. He was the baddest thing around. What he don't realize is that him making music now would still be the baddest. Just get that band back together and do whatever it is that he do."

In its heyday, from roughly 1968 through 1971, Sly and the Family Stone created revolutionary music, an intoxicating mix of psychedelic pop, pulsating funk and social commentary. Among the first fully integrated groups on the American music scene, with blacks and whites and men and women together onstage, the seven-piece San Francisco band played the world's biggest venues while cranking out hit after cutting-edge hit.

Stone was an innovator whose work inspired Motown to find its social conscience, helped persuade Miles Davis to go electric, and ultimately laid out a blueprint for generations of black pop stars, from Prince and Michael Jackson to OutKast, D'Angelo and Lenny Kravitz.

"There's black music before Sly Stone, and there's black music after Sly Stone," said Joel Selvin, author of "Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History" and a San Francisco Chronicle music critic for the past 30 years. "He completely changed what black music was. I mean, he changed Motown! Before Sly, the Temptations were 'I'm Losing You.' After Sly, they were 'Ball of Confusion.' It's a black and white moment.

"The album 'Stand!' summed up the times, with the humanitarian sentiments, in a perfect sloganeering way. 'Dance to the Music,' 'There's a Riot Goin' On' -- these were revolutionary documents. And Sly's statements last. They sound as good today as they did when they were recorded. There's really nobody like Sly Stone in the history of black music."

Good to hear he's his elf agin.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 27, 2006 8:00 AM

One of the great party albums for those of a certain age. Hope the Grammys have some flexibility in their scheduling, unless he's changed his ways.

Posted by: Rick T. at January 27, 2006 8:47 AM

Nah, they'll do to him what they did to Frank - cut him off.

Remember what Billy Joel did then?

Stretched out what he had to say.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 27, 2006 9:40 AM

iTunes is as dangerous as having your butler follow you around all day with a platter of Ding Dongs. Whenever the whim hits you, you can just reach out and hoover up another one.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 27, 2006 10:09 AM

yahoo music has this deal for $6/month -- all you can listen to. only catch, if you can call it that, is that you can't use the tunes (on your local drive) once you stop subscribing.

Posted by: toe at January 27, 2006 2:20 PM

Sly Stone, nobody in any reasonable music parathenon.
Long time musical importantence, less than zero, is not increased by the lapse of time.
If you want to listen to a racially equal performer, they are both black, who set a standard virtually unequaled, you only have to listen to "Marvin Gaye; Live at Montreux 1980".
Sly Stone was the Wham equivalent!
Mike Daley


Posted by: Mike Daley at January 27, 2006 10:51 PM