Sly & The Family Stone
Released: October 1970
Chart Peak: #2
Weeks Charted: 79
Certified 3x Platinum: 11/21/86
As someone who was converted to Sly over the radio rather than at the Fillmore, I still have my doubts about his albums -- even Stand! falters during "Sex Machine." But this is among the greatest rock and roll LPs of all time. The rhythms, the arrangements, the singing, the playing, the production, and -- can't forget this one -- the rhythms are inspirational, good-humored, and trenchant throughout, and on only one cut ("Fun") are the lyrics merely competent. Sly Stone's gift for irresistible dance songs is a matter of world acclaim, but his gift for political anthems that are uplifting but never simplistic or sentimental is a gas. And oh yeah -- his rhythms are amazing. A+
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart) was already an experienced hand in the record business as keyboard player, guitarist, songwriter and producer, when he formed his first band The Stoners, foundation of The Family Stone. A true family band, cutting across racial and sexual barriers, Sly and The Family Stone fused a unique mix of brassy funk and psychedelic heavy rock against a back beat that gave the songs real "danceability." Black soul and white rock meet head-on on the dance floor.
The sheer quality of this music lets it struggle out from its late Sixties acid-powered time warp. The sound on CD is not sensational. However you will discover that Sly Stone knew a thing or two about stereo production. "Dance to the Music" is bound to be the first track played from this compilation -- reverb effects and new perspectives show up here that were never dreamed of from vinyl copies of this classic. There is a dated boxy characteristic and compression in many of these tracks.
- David Prakel, Rock 'n' Roll on Compact Disc, 1987.
- Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.
This greatest-hits package was released as a stopgap while Sly was taking two years to record There's a Riot Goin' On. It's what you would expect from a greatest-hits package, with the addition of two newly recorded monster-hit singles, "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." * * * * *
- Rob Bowman, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
Sly Stone's crazy brilliance is all over this anthology of the crossover music that's so killer it can start a party the size of Woodstock, with Larry Graham's rich, slap-happy bass lines steering the stew of psychedelic soul ("Stand!"), energizing funk ("Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again") and space-aged rock ("I Want to Take You Higher"). Be careful when you turn it up: as fresh as the day they put them down, these kick-ass beats could break some windows. * * * * *
- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.
Sly and the Family Stone created a musical utopia: an interracial group of men and women who blended funk, rock and positive vibes. Greatest Hits followed Stand!, a politicized album with songs such as "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey," but Hits focused on gorgeous non-LP singles like "Hot Fun in the Summertime" and "Everybody Is a Star," as well as rump shakers such as "Everyday People" and "Dance to the Music." Sly Stone ultimately discovered that his utopia had a ghetto, and he brilliantly tore the whole thing down on There's a Riot Goin' On, which does not refute the joy of his earlier music.
Greatest Hits was chosen as the 60th greatest album of all time by the editors of Rolling Stone magazine in Dec. 2003.
- Rolling Stone, 12/11/03.comments powered by Disqus
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