Sly and The Family Stone

The Impact of Sly and The Family Stone

By. Tyler Dorsey and Taylor Harris


Sly and the Family Stone was an American band active from 1966 to 1983. Sly and the Family Stone became a very influential band in the development of rock and funk music. Their innovative sound influenced funk music fusing rock and roll with soul, funk, and pop, paving the way for disco and hip-hop music while creating their own sound.

Who Was Sly and the Family Stone?

Sly and the Family Stone was led by Sly Stone and comprised of “the family stone,” a group of men and women, black and white, making the group the first fully integrated band in rock. The group was revolutionary in making the sounds of funk and rock. The band’s style was a mixture of many styles such as rock, funk, jazz, psychedelic rock and produced some of the era’s most compelling and energizing songs of the 60’s. Before Stone, very few R&B groups used political and social commentary in their songs. Now, because of the band, this type of commentary is normal in funk, R&B, soul, and hip hop. Stand! was one of the Sly and the Family Stone’s hit album. Featuring songs like “”Everyday People,” “Sing a Simple Song,” “Stand,” and “I Want to Take You Higher,” which all hit number one on the R&B charts. 

Revolutionary Music Style

Sly and the Family Stone ushered in a more mature sound for soul music. The sound that the band produced was the link between the late- ‘60s psychedelic movement and aggressive funk. The arrangements adopted a liberal use of rhythm and horns, moving the soul into a heavier, groovier space. Sly and the Family Stone experimented with new sounds and contributed to funk stylings that would become a signature of the era. The vocals and sound of the band embodied the youth of the countercultural movement in embracing peace and empowerment.


In conclusion, Sly and the Family’s revolutionary style went on to change the sound of R&B, brought funk into the mainstream, and was influential in the sound of rock. Their musical hits are still played today. Their vocals and music embraced peace and empowerment. Not to mention, the diversity of their group changing the societal norms of what hit bands looked like during the 60’s. Along with James Brown, the band cemented the funk sound and brought it mainstream. While also producing 4 number 1 hit songs during the era. Unfortunately, the band would break up in 1975 because of interpersonal disagreements and Sly’s drug problems. However, the group’s legacy is cemented in funk music, soul, and rock. 



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