Tag Archives: Sly & the Family Stone

U is for Unique: Sly & the Family Stone

Sly-family-stone(The second, and final, letter for which I couldn’t find a musical family group.)

Sylvester Stewart was a record producer and DJ in the San Francisco Bay Area; I have a very early Billy Preston produced by him. He changed his name to Sly Stone, and started a band, as did his brother Freddie. The groups merged in 1967 to become Sly & the Family Stone, with sister Vaetta as one of the background singers. The band as unique, in part because it was racially mixed at a point when that just wasn’t done. Their songs, especially by their third album, Life, was infused with themes about unity and integration.

Sly’s music was so good that it would be sampled years later. Continue reading U is for Unique: Sly & the Family Stone

Song: Hot Fun in the Summertime

A song from the summer of 1969, Hot Fun in the Summertime by Sly & Family Stone entered the Billboard charts on August 9, remained there for 16 weeks, and got up to #2 for two weeks, blocked from the top spot by the Temptations’ Can’t Get Next To You.

It also entered the soul charts on August 23, and got up to #3.

In a clever bit of marketing, the first time this song appeared on an album was the greatest hits collection. Unless you owned the singles, and you wanted this song, Everybody is a Star, and Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), you needed to buy the LP. And so I did.

The song.

A religious experience.

X is for Xenophobia


So I was looking up xenophobia in the Wikipedia, which lists this definition:
Xenophobia is the uncontrollable fear of foreigners. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “stranger,” “foreigner” and φόβος (phobos), meaning “fear.” Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”…

A xenophobic person has to genuinely think or believe at some level that the target is in fact a foreigner. This arguably separates xenophobia from racism and ordinary prejudice in that someone of a different race does not necessarily have to be of a different nationality. In various contexts, the terms “xenophobia” and “racism” seem to be used interchangeably, though they can have wholly different meanings (xenophobia can be based on various aspects, racism being based solely on race ethnicity and ancestry). Xenophobia can also be directed simply to anyone outside of a culture, not necessarily one particular race or people.

Well, OK. I’m not sure if it is xenophobia or racism (or both) which led to offensive characterizations against the Republican candidate for governor in South Carolina. Or the renaming of food so as not to invoke people we don’t like. Or the absurd truthiness of this Comedy Central bit about Obama and his emotions.

At some level, I suppose I had gotten to a point where I had hoped xenophobia and racism was some thing of the past, such as one segment in this TV show from 1964, which like the Daily Show segment, is parody. But I realized I was being silly. Xenphobia has lasted for millennia; why should modernism destroy it? Continue reading X is for Xenophobia

30-Day Challenge: Day 6 – Favorite Song

If you had access to the soundtrack of my mind – my, that’d be VERY scary, and you don’t know how lucky you are – you would know that picking a favorite song is nigh unto impossible. I did select 100 songs that moved me, with my #1 pick here a couple years back, but such a list is highly fungible.

Besides, that doesn’t mean any of them are my favorites. I’m always thinking, “How could I forget THAT one?” Experienced that phenomenon just recently when I was watching an episode of Glee and hear the song “A House Is Not A Home” and thought, “I’m very fond of the Dionne Warwick version of that song; should have made the list.”

So, I decided to pick a list of three of my favorite songs that namecheck other songs by that same performer:

3. Creeque Alley by The Mamas and the Papas, with the final line, “And California Dreamin’ is becomin’ a reality…

2. Glass Onion by the Beatles with references to Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am The Walrus, Lady Madonna, Fool on the Hill, and Fixing a Hole
Continue reading 30-Day Challenge: Day 6 – Favorite Song