Study Guide

Everyday People

Everyday People Introduction

In a Nutshell

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame calls Sly and the Family Stone "the funky pied pipers of the Woodstock generation." (Source)

Hey, we'd take that as a compliment.

The 1968 hit "Everyday People" was their anthem, but not so much a call to arms as a call to link arms. 

Just check out these lines:

And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee

Let's be real: It's a little hard not to wonder how something this cheesy could be such a big hit. To understand "Everyday People," we have to look beyond Smarties commercials and even beyond Woodstock to the history of—and this might surprise you—Sesame Street.

Not only are we takin' it back to 1968, but yep, we're takin' it back to our ABCs.

About the Song

ArtistSly and the Family Stone
Year1968 (Single), 1969 (Album)
LabelEpic
Writer(s)Sly Stone
Producer(s)Sly Stone
Musician(s)Sly Stone (vocals), Rose Stone (lead and background vocals, piano), Freddie Stone (background vocals, guitar), Larry Graham (background vocals, bass), Vet Stewart, Mary McCreary and Elva Mouton as "Little Sister" (background vocals), Greg Errico (drums), Jerry Martini (tenor saxophone), Cynthia Robinson (trumpet)
Learn to playGuitar
AlbumStand!

Music Video

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Influences on Sly and the Family Stone

Miles Davis
Bob Dylan
James Brown
Ray Charles
Sam Cooke
The Rolling Stones
Bobby Womack
Booker T. & the M.G.'s
Jackie Wilson
Jefferson Airplane
Johnnie Taylor
Jimi Hendrix

Influenced by Sly and the Family Stone

Chuck D
John Mayer
John Legend
World Party
The Isley Brothers
Lenny Kravitz
Freekbass
Jimi Tenor
The Beastie Boys

Everyday People Resources

Books

Dave Marsh, For the Record 4: Sly and the Family Stone (1998)
Marsh writes that "There are two kinds of black music: before Sly Stone and after Sly Stone." Although he didn't get much information out of Sly Stone himself, this book is an up-close record of the rise and fall of the band based on first-hand accounts.

Joel Selvin, Smart Ass: The Music Journalism of Joel Selvin (2011)
This overview of Selvin's work includes a devastating essay on the untold story of the making of There's a Riot Goin' On, Sly and the Family Stone's 1971 follow-up to Stand!.

Jeff Kaliss, I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly and the Family Stone (2008)
A foreword by Sly Stone and a fascinating preface by George Clinton affirm the deep, first-hand research that went into this book.

Albums

Stand! (1969)
Experience the spirit of 1969.

Greatest Hits (2000)
Get all the catchy stuff in one place.

Different Strokes By Different Folks (2005)
This Sly and the Family Stone tribute album brings together great artists of the 2000s to remake some of the band's greatest hits. Although the album mostly flopped, the new version of "Family Affair" featuring John Legend won a Grammy in 2007.

Sly and the Family Stone: The Woodstock Experience (2009)
The entire live performance by the band at Woodstock was not released for forty years, so this is highly recommended for fans.

Images

Sly and the Family Stone
Hey, they make you smile just looking at 'em. Imagine hearing 'em play at Woodstock.

Sly Stone
Here's the ringleader of this revolutionary band.

Movies & TV

On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone
Apparently, this film is about two young guys who track down Sly Stone.

Websites

Sly and the Family Stone's Official Site
For a very '60s and '70s website, Sly and the Family Stone's site is the place to go.

Sly and the Family Stone's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Page
The band was inducted in 1993 in the Performance category.

Sly's Lil Sis
Little Sister, the back-up group led by Sly Stone's younger sister Vet Stone, has their own little website.

Video & Audio

"Everyday People"
Hear how they pulled off singing a line like "you can't figure out what bag I'm in" with sincerity.

Sly and the Family Stone Legacy Podcasts
This great series includes a three-part history of the band, and a few Woodstock podcasts that tell the history of that famed event.