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Musician Sly Stone was the frontman and songwriter for the late 1960s to early '70s funk band Sly and the Family Stone, of such popular hits as "Loose Booty."
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Sly Stone was born on March 15, 1944, in Denton, Texas. In 1966, Stone merged his band, the Stoners, with his brother Freddie's band to form Sly and the Family Stone. As Sly Stone's cocaine use increased, so did his failure to meet the band's commitments. In 1976, he declared bankruptcy. In 1993, Sly and the Family Stone were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stone released a comeback album in 2011.
"I got a lot of songs I want to record and put out, so I'm gonna try 'em out on the road. That's the way it's always worked the best: Let's try it out and see how the people feel."
"I do regular things a lot. But it's probably more of a Sly Stone life. It's probably ... it's probably not very normal."
"Our demonstrative ways representing our opinions do us more harm than we are ready to admit."
Musician Sly Stone was born Sylvester Stewart to mother Alpha and father K.C. in Denton, Texas, on March 15, 1944. Music was central to the family dynamic; Sylvester and his four siblings performed in a gospel group, with Sylvester on vocals.
After graduating from Vallejo High School, Stewart went on to study music theory at Vallejo Junior College. In his early 20s, he became a popular radio disc jockey on San Francisco's KDIA and KSOL stations. In collaboration with his boss, Tom "Big Daddy Donahue," Stewart produced soul singer Bobby Freeman's hit song "C'mon and Swing" in 1964. Soon after, Donahue made Stewart a house producer of Donahue's record label, Autumn Records. As a producer, Stewart adopted the stage name Sly Stone.
Capitalizing on his new stage name, Stone started a band called the Stoners. In 1966, he and the Stoners' trumpeter, Cynthia Robertson, merged with his brother Freddie's band, Freddie and the Stone Souls. The marriage gave birth to the one-of-a-kind funk band known as Sly and the Family Stone, with Stone serving as both frontman and songwriter. The band's members also included Sly's and Freddie's cousin, revolutionary bass player Larry Graham; drummer Greg Errico; and sax player Jerry Martini. Sly's and Freddie's sister, Rosemary Stewart, joined them on keyboard a year later.
Although their first album, A Whole New Thing, flopped in 1968, songs like 1969's "Thank You" and several tracks from the album Stand! (also released in 1969) were wildly successful.
Despite fans' expectations, 1970 came and went with no new album. Also during this time, the band had begun to develop a reputation for showing up late to performances or missing them altogether—a result of Stone's drug abuse. The band had, however, made it to Woodstock, where they delivered a landmark performance of "I Want to Take You Higher" on August 17, 1969.
As Stone's cocaine use increased, so did his paranoia and his failure to meet the band's commitments.
In 1970, Sly Stone moved from San Francisco, California, to a mansion in Bel Air. In his new home, he stockpiled guns, cocaine and PCP, and procured himself a vicious guard dog. The release of Sly and the Family Stone's eerie 1971 album, There's a Riot Going On, confirmed to listeners that Stone had grown disillusioned. Following the album's release, Greg Errico left the band. While Sly and the Family Stone managed to eke out a few more hits, including "If You want Me to Stay" (1973) and "Loose Booty" (1974), 1976 found Stone declaring bankruptcy.
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