The handling of Sly And The Family Stone's back catalog over the years has long been a source of heated debate among music fans. The impact of this ground breaking band has never been in doubt however. When the final history of rock and roll is written, Sly And The Family Stone's place in the books is just about as sure a thing as it gets.
From the time they first emerged out of San Francisco in 1967, Sly And The Family Stone began a music revolution that would go on to break down just about every barrier imaginable — be it musical, racial, or even gender based. Over time, Sly And The Family Stone would go on to redefine not just R&B music, but rock and roll as a whole.
Their influence would be felt for decades, and it continues to be felt today on an entire myriad of levels. From the seventies forward, Sly And The Family Stone became the template for artists as diverse as Earth Wind & Fire and George Clinton's various incarnations of P-Funk. The "bass-popping" style — introduced to the world by bassist Larry Graham — would later be adopted as the standard for countless funk and jazz artists from Bootsy Collins to Stanley Clarke.
In the eighties, the multi racial and gender busting makeup — not to mention the sound itself — of Prince's various groups from the Revolution on, could be traced directly to Sly And The Family Stone. As a source for today's sampled hip hop records, their only real rival is James Brown himself.
So it was only a matter of time before somebody took upon themselves the formidable task of remastering Sly's back catalog to finally give this monumental work the proper treatment it so richly deserves.
Sony Legacy's remastered reissues of these landmark recordings are currently scheduled for release on April 24 (although this date has already been moved several times). Each of Sly's original seven album releases will be reissued in newly remastered form, with all of these featuring brand new liner notes, and several never before released bonus tracks. A new multi-disc anthology is also scheduled.
On their debut album, 1967's prophetically titled A Whole New Thing, it becomes apparent from the first few notes of the opening track "Underdog" that this album heralded exactly the "Whole New Thing" it spoke of. Incorporating elements of the sixties psychedelic rock the Bay Area was best known for at the time, Sly and The Family Stone would also foreshadow the big horn based funk of latter day Bay bands like Tower Of Power.