Sly Stone (born March 15, 1944) was a pivotal American musician, frontman for Sly & the Family Stone, pivotal in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia. He got his start as a record producer for Autumn Records, working with such bands in the San Francisco area as The Beau Brummels and The Mojo Men. Stone then formed The Stoners in 1966 which included Cynthia Robinson on trumpet. Robinson went on to join Sly & the Family Stone as well, when it was formed in 1967. Fred Stewart (guitar), Larry Graham (bass guitar), Greg Errico (drums), Jerry Martini (saxophone) and Rosie Stone (piano) were also in the original line-up.
Their debut single as Sly & the Family Stone was "I Ain't Got Nobody", a major regional hit for Loadstone Records. The band soon signed to Epic Records, and released A Whole New Thing to disappointing sales. Dance to the Music and its title track were big hits in 1968, but the follow-up, Life, was unsuccessful. 1968's "Everyday People" cemented the group's fame, a major R&B and pop hit. Stand (1969) was a breakthrough smash hit. Featuring several hit songs, Stand! was also notable for its increased political awareness, perhaps best exemplified wth "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey". The band also played at Woodstock. Unfortunately, Stone's drug addiction began to contribute to the band's disintegration. There's a Riot Goin' On (1971) contributed the trend towards political awareness in the lyrics, even while Stone's erratic behavior began driving the band apart. By the mid 1970s, Sly & the Family Stone's audience was mostly gone. Sly Stone worked with Funkadelic on The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981), but this was unable to jumpstart his career. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.