Sly and the Family Stone Albums Ranked Worst to Best
Sly and the Family Stone's revolution in the '60s may not seem all that significant on the surface.
But pull back the outer level of radio-friendly, era-equipped soul-pop music they pretty much invented and perfected over a series of albums in the latter part of the '60s and early half of the '70s, and you'll uncover one of the most influential groups from the period, as our list of Sly and the Family Stone Albums Ranked Worst to Best proves.
The band formed in San Francisco, with Sly Stone heading a multi-racial, multi-gender outfit that indeed included a couple of his siblings. The core lineup made seven albums together. After they split -- following Stone's descent into drugs and paranoia, among other issues -- he made one album under his own name before collecting another group of players as Sly and the Family Stone.
It took a while for the band to find its perfect groove. The first few records sketched out a template that was perfected on 1969's Stand!, which became an even bigger hit after the group's history-making performance at Woodstock that year. They were the ideal band for the new generation: men, women, black, white -- all playing a mix of soul and pop sprinkled with a dose of psychedelia that never strayed too far from the melody.
But then the '60s ended, Stone retreated to his bedroom, got high and constructed the band's masterpiece, 1971's There's a Riot Goin' On, as a sort of reaction to the new era. The dark, druggy LP sounded like it was recorded under a blanket of pot smoke, deepening the bass notes and introducing the drum machine to pop audiences. It could have been career suicide, but it ended up being Sly and the Family Stone's only No. 1 album.
Then things got darker and weirder. Stone's drug use heightened, and after one final record in the early '80s, he all but disappeared, making just a few public appearances in the three decades since he went away. But his music holds its own legacy, bridging together this idea that everyone is invited to their psychedelic soul party. And everyone was, as you'll see in our below list of Sly and the Family Stone Albums Ranked Worst to Best.