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There's a Riot Goin' On (Bonus Version)

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Editors’ Notes

The band’s previous album, 1969’s Stand!,  and the follow-up non-LP singles, “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” along with their stunning performance at Woodstock, made Sly & the Family Stone one of the most prominent and influential acts in the country. But as the group’s success shot up, their leader’s private demons were bringing him down. (Sly cancelled 26 of 80 shows in 1970 alone.) The album recorded during this chaos is arguably his crowning achievement. (It’s a toss-up, really, between this and Stand!). It sounds like nothing before it; Its rhythms often stagger where once they would swing and Sly often sings with extra menace in his voice. “Family Affair” was the most prominent track and remains one of the era’s most eerie, the sound of the 1960’s party high coming down. The dense layers of sound and elliptical vocal lines (“Luv N’ Haight,” “Thank You For Talkin’ To Me, Africa”) make this an album that repays with repeated, concentrated listens. Not surprisingly, though there were many sessions for this album, very few studio outtakes are available for release, as only three instrumentals are added.

Customer Reviews

One of the best of the 20th Century

Sly Stone is a genius - there's a reason why Miles Davis was completely floored by Sly and his new music. The music here is among the most innovative and essential of all 20th century American music, of any genre. It retains all of the vitality and electricity of the Family Stone's 60s music, but adds a very dark undercurrent of decadence and decay. On this record, a perfect balance between these two extremes is maintained, before Sly started to fall off of the brink. You'll have to listen to the whole record more than once to "get it", but once you do, you'll fall under the music's spell too.

intervention heat wave music

Blues and funk together, for real. This record has no precedent, and plenty of good and not so good successors. and I always wondered where the Beastie Boys got their meandering Check Your Head grooves. From this mess of a masterpiece. Love how he keeps maxing out the meter on the vocals. And is there anything more amazing than his yodeling in 'Spaced Cowboy'?


Yes it is! every song on this masterpiece is required for the album to work the way that it does. the barren grooves, the majestic keyboards, the poweful vocals by mostly sly, they all make this album one of the best. my personal favorite song is Africa Talks To You "The Asphalt Jungle". its guitars keep the groove going, with the bass holding it down perfectly. it has a lot of great melodies, and a lot of groove. this album is perfect, buy it.


Formed: 1967 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Sly & the Family Stone harnessed all of the disparate musical and social trends of the late '60s, creating a wild, brilliant fusion of soul, rock, R&B, psychedelia, and funk that broke boundaries down without a second thought. Led by Sly Stone, the Family Stone was comprised of men and women, and blacks and whites, making the band the first fully integrated group in rock's history. That integration shone through the music, as well as the group's message. Before Stone, very few soul and R&B...
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