Whatever Happened to Sly Stone
Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart, March 15, 1943) He was young, handsome, and hugely talented, had a killer afro and a huge drug problem, but Jesus Christ, what the hell happened to Sly. It’s hard to imagine just how popular and influential Sly and the Family Stone were in the late sixties. It’s also hard to imagine how groundbreaking it was to be a multiracial funk band at that time. Sly along with Parliment-Funkadelic led the charge in late sixties early seventies funk explosion. S & the FS hits would include Dance to the Music, Stand, Hot Fun in the Summertime and Everyday People (to name only a few). more below
Then came the drugs (cocaine & PCP) and the concert no-shows. Live bookings had steadily dropped since 1970, because promoters were afraid that Stone or one of the band members might miss the gig, refuse to play, or pass out on stage from drug use. At many of these gigs, concert goers rioted if the band failed to show up, or if Stone walked out before finishing his set.
The 80’s saw Sly release 4 LPs under his name and the Family Stone moniker but w/ no original members and to limited success. A collaboration w/ George Clinton of Parliment failed to bring any hits. And then he vanished – sort of. It wasn’t until the Grammy appearance in 2006 that anyone really saw what became of Sly Stone. Sporting an enormous blonde mohawk, thick sunglasses, a “Sly” beltbuckle and a silver lamé suit, he joined in on “I Want To Take You Higher.” Hunched over the keyboards, he wore a cast on his right hand (the result of a recent motorcycle mishap), and a hunched back caused him to look down through most of the performance. His voice, though strong, was barely audible over the production. Stone walked to the front of the stage toward the end of the performance, sang a verse and then with a wave to the audience, sauntered offstage before the song was over. And that’s pretty much, that. Sly has sense sued is former manager receiving $5 million but continues to live out of his van in the Crenshaw neighborhood of LA. He appears occasionally but can’t really seem to make it through more than a song or two.