Sly & the Family Stone session at Bird

Fall Session 2017: Sly & the Family Stone

Get ready to rock like it’s 1968 with our fall session featuring the music of San Francisco band Sly & the Family Stone!

Known for anthems like “Everyday People” and “Dance to the Music” as well as for their colorful costumes and over-the-top personalities, the band blazed like a comet across the music scene in the late 60s and early 70s with their brand of “optimistic, rock-laced soul” and songs that encouraged peace, love and understanding.

The band’s style blended influences from many musical genres and cultures, including funk, Motown, Stax soul, Broadway showtunes and psychedelic rock. (Source: Embellishments like wah-wah guitars, distorted fuzz basslines, church-styled organ lines, horn riffs ( and bassist Larry Graham’s “slapping” playing technique, which became synonymous with funk music, helped give the band its unique sound.

Sly & the Family Stone’s music has influenced modern performers such as Michael Jackson & The Jackson 5, George Clinton, Arrested Development and The Black Eyed Peas. And current artists like Maroon 5 (“Everyday People”) and John Legend (“Family Affair”) have covered Sly & the Family Stone’s songs.

As we study Sly & the Family Stone, we’ll learn not just funk and soul styles, but showmanship, finding a unique personal style and relating to an audience (“Get on up and dance to the music!”).