Sly Greatest Hits


I have always had a secret desire to be funky, which isn’t an easy thing to accomplish when you’re a rural small town white boy.  But ever since I first heard Vanilla Ice’s cover of “Play That Funky Music” on his To The Extreme album back in 1990, I have always wanted to be the guy to lay down the boogie and play the funky music until I died.  Well, not really, but it sounded good in my head.  Actually, I think I stole that from an internet meme on Facebook (all your base are belong to us?).  Regardless, I usually enjoy funk music, even though I don’t normally seek it out, so I was excited when I found this album on Amazon for a mere $4.44 because I wanted to hear Sly bring the funk.

So I was surprised that this doesn’t get very funky until the second half.  Actually, this is more pop rock oriented with a very definite psychedelic hippy vibe.  In fact, at times this probably has more in common with Sgt. Pepper’s and Pet Sounds than Funkadelic or the Commodores. At any rate, Sly and the Family address some of the same social issues that other artists have tried to tackle over the years (racism, oppression, etc), but they do so in a positive, uplifting way.  “Everybody is a Star” and “You Can Make it if You Try” are standard “believe in yourself” type songs, while “Everyday People” is in the “why can’t we all just get along” vein.  And when the Donkey was screaming “Dance to the Music” at the end of Shrek, I never realized there was an instrument lesson a la “Peter and the Wolf” in the song.  And despite the stupid “(Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” subtitle, “Thank You” brings the funk.  And we all know you can’t fake the funk…

Other lists: “Everyday People” is #146, “Dance to the Music” is #225, “Stand!” is #244, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” is #250, and “Thank You (Fallettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” is #410 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Sly and the Family Stone are #43 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists, while Sly Stone himself is #78 on the list of the 100 Greatest Singers.

Ch-ch-changes: This album was bumped down one spot from the original list due to the addition of CCR’s “Chronicle”.

My favorite track: “Everyday People”

Honorable mention: “Dance to the Music”

Quote: “Different strokes for different folks”