16 Best Sly & The Family Stone Songs

Sly & The Family Stone redefined music in the late ’60s and ’70s with their funk and soul-infused rock. Their songs combine infectious grooves, powerful lyrics, and a message of unity. Known for breaking racial and gender barriers within their band, they stood out in an era of change.

They have shared the stage with greats like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Their collaborations brought new flavors to their already rich sound. This blend of influence and innovation made their timeless hits unforgettable.

1. Everyday People – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Everyday People
Release Year: 1969
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Everyday People by Sly & The Family Stone from 1969 is a timeless anthem rooted in the soul and funk genres. The song’s upbeat tempo and groovy bass line perfectly complement its call for unity and acceptance. With its catchy refrain, it champions the idea that everyone is the same despite their differences, resonating with the social movements of its time.

The musical composition is brilliantly layered, featuring horns, keyboards, and vibrant percussion. Each instrument adds its own voice, creating a rich tapestry of sound. The interplay between vocals and instruments builds a complex yet cohesive groove, making it a standout track in the band’s extensive catalog.

2. If You Want Me to Stay – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: If You Want Me to Stay
Release Year: 1973
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Sly & the Family Stone’s If You Want Me to Stay, released in 1973, is an undeniable staple of funk and soul music. The song is driven by an infectious bassline, vibrant horns, and Sly Stone’s soulful vocals. Its groovy rhythm and raw energy make it both timeless and instantly recognizable, embodying the band’s signature style.

A standout moment in the song is the interplay between the bass and drums, which creates an immersive, rhythmic groove. This synergy lays the foundation for the song’s fluid, dynamic feel, capturing listeners from start to finish. It’s a masterclass in how well-executed instrumental elements can elevate a track and leave a lasting impression.

3. Dance to the Music – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Dance to the Music
Release Year: 1968
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Dance to the Music by Sly & The Family Stone, released in 1968, exemplifies the soul and funk genre of its era. The song bursts with energy, featuring vibrant horn sections, a groovy bass line, and dynamic vocal harmonies. It encourages listeners to get on their feet and immerse themselves in the rhythm, celebrating the unifying power of music.

The musical composition is nothing short of brilliant. Instruments blend seamlessly, with Larry Graham’s percussive bass lines and Jerry Martini’s saxophone creating memorable hooks. The production quality captures the raw, electric vibe of live performances, making each playback feel as fresh as the first listen.

4. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Single Version
Release Year: 1970
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“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly & The Family Stone is a funk anthem from 1970. The song boasts a palpably groovy bassline and tight rhythm section, which makes it impossible to stay still. Horns, claps, and vibrant vocals create an infectious energy that defines the genre’s golden age.

The track’s reception was monumental as it topped the Billboard Hot 100. It cemented the band’s status as pioneers of funk and soul. With its timeless groove and socially conscious lyrics, the song continues to influence artists across generations.

5. Family Affair – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Family Affair – Single Version
Release Year: 1971
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Family Affair by Sly & The Family Stone, released in 1971, is a pioneering track in the funk and soul genre. This song carries a laid-back groove, blending elements of soul, funk, and rock with an innovative use of the drum machine. The lyrics touch on themes of family dynamics and personal relationships, delivered through Sly Stone’s emotive and gritty vocals.

This track stands out for its novel production techniques. Sly Stone used a Maestro Rhythm King drum machine, which was groundbreaking at the time. Such innovation played a significant role in shaping the future of soul and funk music, showcasing Stone’s knack for blending traditional instruments with electronic sounds.

6. Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Hot Fun in the Summertime
Release Year: 1970
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Sly & The Family Stone’s 1970 hit Hot Fun in the Summertime encapsulates the carefree essence of warm-weather months. A vibrant mix of soul, funk, and pop, the song’s groove is infectious. The melody weaves through a blend of energetic horns, rhythmic claps, and Sly Stone’s mellow vocals, creating the perfect soundtrack for those sunny, easy-going days.

This tune stands out not just for its smooth musicality but also for its blend of nostalgic and inclusive lyrics. Celebrating universal joys, it conjures up images of youthful exuberance and community spirit. Its timeless appeal has led it to become a summer anthem, loved by fans and critics alike for over five decades.

7. Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)
Release Year: 1973
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Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be) by Sly & the Family Stone from 1973 is a soulful reimagining of the classic Doris Day hit. The band’s funk-driven style imbues the song with a vibrant, infectious groove. With their signature blend of rock, soul, and funk, they transform the simple, philosophical lyrics into a powerhouse anthem.

The song’s theme underscores a laid-back acceptance of life’s uncertainties. Sly Stone’s rich vocal delivery adds a layer of depth to the repeated refrains. The lush instrumentation, featuring electric guitars, bass, keyboards, and a tight horn section, creates a soundscape that’s both timeless and instantly recognizable.

8. I Want to Take You Higher – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: I Want to Take You Higher
Release Year: 1969
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I Want to Take You Higher by Sly & the Family Stone, from 1969, encapsulates the vibrant spirit of the era with its infectious energy and upbeat rhythms. This Funk and Soul anthem sparks joy with its driving beat, soulful horns, and lively vocals. It’s a call to leave behind your worries and rise above, capturing the liberating vibe of late ’60s counterculture.

The song’s production glistens with a raw yet polished quality that defined Sly Stone’s genius. Layers of instruments, including electric guitar, bass, trumpets, and organ, interlock perfectly, creating a rich, textured soundscape. Recorded at a time when innovations in studio techniques were blossoming, Higher showcases creativity and precision, making it a standout track that transcends its era.

9. Everybody Is a Star – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Everybody Is a Star – Single Version
Release Year: 1970
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Everybody Is a Star by Sly & The Family Stone is a powerful anthem from 1970 that captures the group’s unique blend of soul, funk, and rock. The uplifting melody is paired with a message of universal equality and self-worth. The single’s rich harmonies and infectious groove are iconic of the band’s signature sound.

The song’s theme focuses on individuality and unity. The lyrics remind us that everyone has their own shine and potential. This message resonated strongly during the turbulent social climate of the late ’60s and early ’70s, making it a timeless piece that still carries relevance today.

10. Ha Ha, Hee Hee – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Ha Ha, Hee Hee
Release Year: 1983
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Ha Ha, Hee Hee by Sly & The Family Stone, released in 1983, melts funky grooves with a catchy, upbeat rhythm. Driven by infectious bass lines and sharp brass sections, the song embodies the essence of early ’80s funk. Sly’s energetic vocal delivery adds a layer of charisma that’s hard to resist.

As for its musical composition, number 3 reveals the secret sauce: a mix of electric guitars, synthesizers, and dynamic drum patterns. Each instrument comes together seamlessly, creating a rich, layered sound. The vibrant horns and lively percussion make it impossible to sit still when you hear it.

11. In Time – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: In Time
Release Year: 1973
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In Time by Sly & the Family Stone, released in 1973, is a track that encapsulates the funk and rock essence of the early ’70s. The song features a steady groove with syncopated rhythms that make it irresistibly danceable. Larry Graham’s innovative slap bass technique shines through, giving the song its distinctive drive and energy.

The song’s lyrical theme centers around resilience and the inevitability of change. Its introspective and somewhat philosophical lyrics contemplate the passage of time and personal growth. Sly Stone’s raw and soulful vocal delivery underscores the emotional depth of the track, making it resonate with listeners on a profound level.

12. Sing a Simple Song – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Sing a Simple Song – Single Version
Release Year: 1969
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Sing a Simple Song – Single Version by Sly & the Family Stone dropped in 1969, making waves in the funk and soul genre. The track stands out with its tight grooves, rhythmic claps, and infectious brass sections, a true embodiment of the band’s unique sound. It’s raw yet polished, capturing the essence of joy and simplicity in its melodies and lyrics that beckon to just sing a simple song.

As for the theme and lyrics, the song speaks to the power of simplicity and the joy that comes with uninhibited expression. Key lines emphasize letting go of complications and embracing a straightforward, joyful vibe. The message’s timeless appeal makes it a classic, resonating with listeners across generations.

13. Mother Beautiful – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Mother Beautiful
Release Year: 1974
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Mother Beautiful by Sly & The Family Stone, released in 1974, is a soulful celebration of love and positivity. The song blends elements of funk and R&B, creating an upbeat, rhythmic atmosphere that’s hard to resist. With its lush harmonies and groovy bass lines, it offers a feel-good escape into Sly Stone’s unique sound.

The song’s standout theme revolves around unconditional love and appreciation for a nurturing figure. It builds on the warmth and comfort this person provides, encapsulated in the recurring line, A mother beautiful, the best there’s ever been. This universal message resonates deeply, making it both timeless and poignant.

14. Remember Who You Are – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Remember Who You Are
Release Year: 1979
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Remember Who You Are by Sly & The Family Stone from 1979 is a funk anthem with a groove that hooks you instantly. The song embodies the classic funk sound with its tight basslines, rhythmic guitar riffs, and vibrant brass sections. Sly Stone’s soulful vocals and poignant lyrics push the message of staying true to oneself, resonating deeply with listeners.

The song’s theme revolves around self-identity and perseverance, highlighted by the repeating line remember who you are. Critics lauded it for its infectious rhythm and profound message, making it a standout track from the period. It touched many, establishing Sly & The Family Stone as pioneers of meaningful, yet danceable music.

15. Just Like a Baby – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Just Like a Baby
Release Year: 1971
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Sly & the Family Stone’s Just Like a Baby from 1971 is a soul-funk gem that exudes a raw, emotional intimacy. The song weaves a rich tapestry of lush, psychedelic sounds, anchored by a hypnotic bassline and intricate drum patterns. It’s a bit of a slow burner, drawing listeners into a reflective state with its mellow groove and Sly’s soulful vocal delivery.

Reception and impact: The track wasn’t a chart-topping single but found its way into the hearts of loyal fans and music critics. Although overshadowed by some of the band’s bigger hits, Just Like a Baby is cherished for its deep emotional resonance and unique production style. This song remains a standout example of Sly & the Family Stone’s innovative approach to music during the early ’70s.

16. Stand! – Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Track Name: Stand!
Release Year: 1969
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Stand! by Sly & the Family Stone, released in 1969, is a powerful anthem of empowerment and unity. The song’s funky grooves and vibrant mix of rock and soul reflect the band’s signature style, blending upbeat rhythms with a socially conscious message. Its infectious energy makes it a timeless classic that still resonates today.

With its emphasis on resilience and self-assertion, the lyrics of Stand! urge listeners to take a stand for their beliefs. The song’s composition, featuring an intricate blend of horns, bass, drums, and organ, creates a rich and dynamic soundscape. The production quality enhances the lively instrumentation, emphasizing the song’s uplifting and invigorating spirit.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.