Lex Neon on Sly Stone (Sly and the Family Stone)

Lex remembers and shares thoughts on Sly Stone, who celebrates his birthday on March 15. Happy birthday Sly.

My mom used to constantly remind me that way before the Beatles AND the Partridge Family, I danced to the beat of Sly and the Family Stone. Of course like any good son, I’d deny the memory and tell my mom that she “remembered wrong” (after all, why should she be “right” all of the time?)

This would invariably throw me back in time to mid 1971 in South Central Los Angeles. I remember friends and family dancing to Sly’s first greatest hits album and the yellow Epic Records label on the album spinning on the family stereo. I remember that the songs were infectious, memorable, and fun. “Dance to the Music,” “M’Lady,” “Fun,” and “Hot Fun In The Summertime” stand out in my mind. According to the time frame, I was 2 years old.

The messages in the songs were clear, simple, and aimed at everyone. It was peace and love wrapped in a funky pop music confection. Everybody is a star. You can make it if you try. I am everyday people. I wanna take you higher. Thank you for letting me be myself again. Sly’s music was universal.

Sly and the Family Stone were much more than the sum of their parts. Musically, there was no one like them. Sly mixed soul music with pop, rock, and funky rhythm and blues. Together, they created a sound that gave you the urge to involuntarily shake your ass. So, I shook my ass until I fell asleep with a bottle of chocolate milk.

They are also black and white, male and female working in sync. They were the musical equivalent of what the ideal society should be. Like musical notes boppin’ and bouncin’ around in perfect harmony, everybody participates in creating something bigger, greater, and more positive while maintaining an individual “groove.”

The next time you’re listening to Sly and the Family Stone, you’ll not only shake and shimmy, but you’ll have a positive vibe in your heart and mind. And if not, that’s okay. The rest of us will be there, shouting “All the squares, go home!”

Big love to Sly Stone.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Note: The date listed on the album shown below is for the remastered version. The original was released November 21, 1970.

Currently listening :
Greatest Hits
By Sly & the Family Stone
Release date: 28 August, 2007
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~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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