Monday, March 15, 2010

BEYOND COOL: Sly Stone, the Funk God!

Today is SLY STONE's birthday. I love him like the sun in the sky.

If I said what I really feel about this guy, we'd be here all year. So let's keep it simple. SLY & THE FAMILY STONE invented Funk as you know it, and rewrote Rock, Jazz, Dance, and Rap forever afterward. Here's one song to show some of that.

"Sing A Simple Song", and the album "STAND" after it, defined the new super heavy Funk that superceded Soul. The trademark descending "yeah yeah yeahs..." are sung by sister Rose Stone.

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE -"Sing A Simple Song" (1968)

Here's THE METERS to extend the funky vamp...

THE METERS -"Sing A Simple Song" (1969)

Here's THE METERS to extend the same song again into a new song...

THE METERS -"Same Old Thing" (1969)

After having a hit covering Sly's "I Want To Take You Higher", IKE AND TINA TURNER give the funky women some with this wholecloth rewrite...

IKE & TINA TURNER -"Bold Soul Sister" (1970)

The guitar rhythm of "Sing A Simple Song" gets abstracted by JIMI HENDRIX here, and then played explicitly at the 3 minute mark...

BAND OF GYPSIES -"We Got To Live Together" (1970)

Here's JOE WALSH getting some more power strut out of that guitar riff (0:29)...

THE JAMES GANG -"Funk #49" (1970)

Sly's longtime running partner BILLY PRESTON takes the title of the song and cheekily crosses it with the sentiment of "What Have They Done To My Song, Ma"...

BILLY PRESTON -"I Wrote A Simple Song" (1971)

HERBIE HANCOCK takes the guitar vamp and flies into the future of Jazz with it...


PARLIAMENT borrows the descending "yeah yeah yeahs" for the chorus of this interstellar groover...

PARLIAMENT -"Unfunky UFO" (1975)

Their proteges RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS borrow the "yeah yeah yeahs" for their chorus, too...

RHCP -"Behind the Sun" (1986)

Another P-Funk disciple, PUBLIC ENEMY collages parts of it all the way through this protest jam...

PUBLIC ENEMY -"Brothers Gonna Work It Out" (1990)

GORILLAZ use the tiniest snippet to build their new song; you can take my word on it or check the proof here...

GORILLAZ -"19-2000" (2001)

Here's Staten Island's THE BUDOS BAND with a killer remake of the song channeling Fela along the way!

Click here to hear it: THE BUDOS BAND (2005)

Sly Stone was the first to use drum machines in popular music, such as the Rhythm King underlining the #1 smash "Family Affair"('71). He also paved the way for vocoders with his distorted vocal on "Sex Machine"('69), and did Electro Funk years before anyone in side project Abaco Dream ('70).

Here's a human beatbox from Italy carrying on the tradition by creating "Sing A Simple Song" single-mouthedly right in front of you!

ANDREA NARDINOCCHI -"Sing A Simple Song" (2009)

"I'm livin' livin' livin' life with all its ups and downs
I'm givin' givin' givin' love and smilin' at the frowns
You're in trouble when you find it's hard for you to smile
A simple song might make it better for a little while!"


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