So I’m chillin’ at the crib, corresponding via e-mail, the TV’s on in the background, and I hear “Hot fun in the summertime,” but it’s not Sly & the Family Stone. I look up just in time to catch the end of the commercial… it’s an ad for the state of Maine.
Maine has never been known for FUNK, has it? Well it is now, “Hot Fun in The Summertime” is the song of choice to increase tourism, for Maine? Wow! The version used is one step away from muzak or the Ray Conniff Singers.
Hold on, I can’t even make this up. Later the same day, still on the computer, now working on a new proposal for, what else, FUNK, I hear “I…. am Everyday People, heeey.” It’s a promo for the TLC channel. At first I think it’s specific to the show “Little Couple,” but a little later, it plays again as clips of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” (talk about FUNKY) are being shown. It’s the promo song for the entire channel. Fortunately TLC keeps it real using the original version.
Sly & the Family Stone are one of the pioneers of FUNK. The band not only did the songs “Hot Fun in The Summertime” and “Everyday People” (re-make done by hip-hop crew Arrested Development), but they also dropped the gems “Everybody is a Star” (re-make done by The Roots), “Sing a Simple Song,” “I Want To Take You Higher,” “Runnin’ Away,” “Stand!,” “Family Affair” (my personal favorite), “Fun,” “Dance to the Music,” “(You Caught Me) Smilin’,” “M’Lady,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” and “If You Want Me to Stay” (my second favorite).
Taken from allmusicguide.com: Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1944) and his family moved from his home state of Texas to San Francisco in the ’50s. He had already begun to express an interest in music, and when he was 16, he had a regional hit with “Long Time Away.” Stone studied music composition, theory, and trumpet at Vallejo Junior College in the early ’60s; simultaneously, he began playing in several groups on the Bay Area scene, often with his brother Fred.
Sly’s sister Rose teamed up with her brothers when Sly formed the Family Stone in 1967. The group released several albums between ‘67 and ‘76, returning with “Back on the Right Track” in 1979. In 1983, the band gave it one last shot with “Ain’t But the One Way,” which met with little success.
In 2003, Epic/ Legacy released “Live at the Fillmore East 1968,” which captures the band at their best in an on stage performance.
A former Disc Jockey turned FUNK Star, Sly was considered recluse for years, before making an appearance at the Grammy Awards in 2006. Although Sly and the Family Stone never won an award, his music and FUNK legacy were honored that night. It was his first major public appearance since January 12th, 1993, when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Wearing dark shades adorned in silver, Stone took the stage after a five-song medley tribute that featured John Legend, Joss Stone, Maroon 5, Will.i.am from The Black Eyed Peas and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, sporting a blonde mohawk.
In 2007, Sly released his most recent CD titled “Searchin’.” His sister Rose dropped an album the same year named “Already Motivated.”
Rumor has it, that there’s currently a documentary in the works about Sly and his career, titled “On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone.”