Sly Stone Celebrates His 70th Birthday... Somewhere Out There

Sly_and_the_Family_Stone.jpg

Flickr/Simon Fernandez
Happy Birthday, Sly! Wherever you may be.
On this day in 1943, Sylvester Stewart was born in Benton, TX. He was later raised in Vallejo, introduced the Bay Area to soul songs on San Mateo-based radio station KSOL, and helped to put San Francisco on the international music map with his groundbreaking interracial funk group Sly & The Family Stone, which spawned Top 5 hits and millions in record sales for now classic songs like "Dance to the Music," "Hot Fun in the Summertime," and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)."

(Sly Stone on KSOL, 1967)

Two years ago, it was revealed that Sly Stone might have been living an itinerant lifestyle from a van in Los Angeles. This followed a 2009 documentary revealing the financial straits of the artist, who had long ago sold his lucrative masters (to Michael Jackson, no less). He was arrested as recently as 2011 for freebase cocaine possession, evidence that the demons of drug and alcohol addiction had continued to follow him for decades. Stone's current whereabouts are unknown, but here's hoping that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame honoree understands how much love and respect there still is for his social and musical innovations, and that whole new thing he created, especially here in the Bay Area.

See Also:
* The Top 20 Greatest San Francisco Musicians, Nos. 5-1

Sony Legacy is presenting an art contest for people to design a "fun, radiant" poster inspired by Sly & The Family Stone lyrics for a chance to win a $500 prize. The deadline is April 11.



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