Sly and the Family Stone were an American rock, funk, and soul band from San Francisco. Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, and psychedelic music. Headed by singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and containing several of his family members and friends, the band was the first major American rock band to have an "integrated, multi-gender" lineup. Brothers Sly Stone and singer/guitarist Freddie Stone combined their bands (Sly & the Stoners and Freddie & the Stone Souls) in 1967. Sly and Freddie Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, drummer Gregg Erricosaxophonist Jerry Martini, and bassist Larry Graham completed the original lineup; Sly and Freddie's sister, singer/keyboardist Rose Stone, joined within a year. This collective recorded five Billboard Hot 100 hits which reached the top 10, and four ground-breaking albums, which greatly influenced the sound of American pop music, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. In the preface of his 1998 book For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History, Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly and the Family Stone's influence on African American music by stating "there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone" The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. During the early 1970s, the band switched to a grittier funk sound, which was as influential on the music industry as their earlier workThe band began to fall apart during this period because of drug abuse and ego clashes; consequently, the fortunes and reliability of the band deteriorated, leading to its dissolution in 1975. Sly Stone continued to record albums and tour with a new rotating lineup under the "Sly and the Family Stone" name from 1975 to 1983. In 1987, Sly Stone was arrested and sentenced for cocaine use, after which he went into effective retirement. Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1944) was a member of a deeply religious middle-class household from Dallas, Texas. K.C. and Alpha Stewart held the family together under the doctrines of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and encouraged musical expression in the household. After the Stewarts moved to Vallejo, California, the youngest four children (Sylvester, Freddie, Rose, and Vaetta) formed "The Stewart Four", who released a local 78 RPM single, "On the Battlefield of the Lord" backed with "Walking in Jesus' Name", in 1952. While attending high school, Sylvester and Freddie joined student bands. One of Sylvester's high school musical groups was a doo-wop act called The Viscaynes, in which he and a Filipino teenager were the only non-white members. The Viscaynes released a few local singles, and Sylvester recorded several solo singles under the name "Danny Stewart". By 1964, Sylvester had become Sly Stone, a disc jockey for San Francisco R&B radio station KSOL, where he included white performers such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones into his playlists. During the same period, he worked as a record producer for Autumn Records, producing for San Francisco-area bands such as The Beau Brummels and The Mojo Men. One of the Sylvester Stewart-produced Autumn singles, Bobby Freeman's "C'mon and Swim", was a national hit recordStewart recorded unsuccessful solo singles while at Autumn
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