Friday, October 8, 2010

'If You Want Me To Stay': Sly Stone> Chili Peppers> Nikka Costa

SLY STONE influenced everybody and here's more proof.

Today's relay baton is "If You Want Me To Stay". Besides its pulsing bassline, this Funk classic is known for the sped-up pitch of its vocal.

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE -"If You Want Me To Stay" (1973)

Here's New Wave cabaret chanteuse RONNY putting her own bend to it.

RONNY -"If You Want Me To Stay" (1981)

GEORGE CLINTON obviously loves Sly and has done the song a couple different ways. On the song "Under The Influence (Of A Groove)" by bass-monster BOOTSY COLLINS, the melody comes into the finale as a vocal chant of "doot-doot-da-doot-doo"s.

A few years later that chorale was used again when George produced an actual cover by THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, which featured Maceo Parker himself on sax.

RHCP -"If You Want Me To Stay" (1985)

Sly, 1973*; Prince, 1986

At the same time, PRINCE was alluding to Sly a lot in various songs and fashions, and on the B-side LOVE OR MONEY he used the sped-up pitch trick.

The song was designed so that you could play it 'normal' on the 45rpm, but it also worked slowed down at 33 1/3 to a slunky funk mode.
(Ahhh, turntables. Let's see your MP3 player do that!)

NIKKA COSTA grew up at Sly's knee, literally. As a child she remembers Sly visiting her father, famed producer Don Costa, and sitting with her at the piano playing away. This breakthrough song of hers is a clear homage of love to "If You Want Me To Stay"...

NIKKA COSTA -"Everybody Got Their Something" (2000)

Seems like everybody wants the song to stay because it has been covered by
and grand dame ETTA JAMES.

*Sly's pose is from 1973. The compilation album ANTHOLOGY is from 1981.

1 comment:

Billkwando said...

This is a great article. I always thought EGTS sounded like IYWMTS, except _I_ thought it was a RHCP original. Ya learn something new every day! :)