Forty years ago, around this time, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” was climbing towards No. 2 on the Top 40. Coming off a triumphant performance at Woodstock, Sly & the Family Stone was now one of the hottest acts in rock ’n’ roll.
Their LP “Stand!,” released in the spring of ’69, would soon be certified gold. And in December, Sly would write a new chapter in Funk by dropping a 45 called “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”
Alas, 1969 was also the year Sly Stone and band moved to Los Angeles, and Sly took his notorious detour into hard drugs and flaky behavior. Sly would continue to make some great music... and it’s the songs I celebrate with this list of covers.
Click the titles below to stream the music on my Vox blog.
1. “Hot Fun in the Summertime” – The Manhattan Transfer (with Chaka Khan)
2. “Family Affair” – Chuck Brown
3. “If You Want Me to Stay” – Jamie Davis
(Mr. Davis used to sing with the Count Basie Orchestra.)
4. “In Time” – Soldier String Quartet
(Led by experimentalist Dave Soldier, this group included jazz violinist Regina Carter.)
5. “Babies Makin’ Babies” – Thornwood
(Never heard of Thornwood, right? They’re a local band in Rochester, N.Y. The badass singer is Gregory “G-Rob” Robinson.)
6. “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” – Maceo & All the King’s Men
7. “Somebody’s Watching You” – Al Jarreau
8. “Everybody Is a Star” – Fishbone
(Guest vocalists: Gwen Stefani, George Clinton and Rick James.)
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