Sly Stone At Franklin Park 1974

Sly and the Family Stone launched funky soul in the late 60s with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, and Parliament-Funkadelic.

The group hit mega-gold with their 4th LP, STAND and its # 1 hit EVERYDAY PEOPLE. Success was not a friend to Sly. His cocaine habit infected the other band members. He no-showed a third of his concerts in 1971 and passed out at others. Audiences rioted, earning Sly and the Stone a reputation for trouble and more was expected on July 7, 1974, when the West Coast group headlined an outdoor show at Boston’s Franklin Park.

Richard Pryor opened the day. The comedian was followed by Donald Byrd and the Blackbirds with their cross-over hit ROCK CREEK PARK, The Hues Corporation’s ROCK THE BOAT, and Tower of Power. 20,000 fans had paid $5.50 to benefit the Elma Lewis School of Arts. I missed the show, because I was working in Cape Ann as a busboy at a queer restaurant, but my good friend attended the concert and to this day Andrew Kornfeld says that this show was the best concert he has ever seen. I’m sure it was.

Sly and the Family Stone were wild and notorious no-shows for their concerts. Supposedly after Richard Pryor finished his routine, he said, “Don’t worry, Sly is in Boston and he’ll be here as soon as he’s finished robbing all the drug dealrs in Roxbury.”

A big laugh.

After his peak Sly’s musical efforts dropped down the Billboard charts, although songs from STAND remain a mainstay of 60s rock revival radio stations.

By the 80s he had vanished from the scene.

In 2006 Sly appeared at the Grammy Awards to play I WANT TO TAKE YOU HIGHER.

At the end of the song the once-time superstar walked off the stage and drove off on a motorcycle.

Future outings across the world amplified the singer’s embrace of failure.

Gone were the money, the mansions, the cars, and the acclaim.

Several years ago Sly re-entered the news with the media excoriating his fall from grace.

He lives in a van. His neighborhood was Crenshaw in LA. Friends supported this life style. He maintained that he is happy.

Straight too.

The newspapers reported his present state with joy, for those who will never achieve love nothing better than to witness a high-flyer’s descent from heaven to reinforce their lack of success.

CBS and Fox News aren’t waiting for the collapse of the banks. They love the rich.

But not the n—– rich. They get what they deserve.

Da money come and da money go.

Sly was no exception, but I’m sure he had a good time. All I want for him is to have a happy ending, because listening to SEX MACHINE is a gas.

And a year ago the music industry had to pay Sly his royalties.

He was ever happy again.

To hear Sly and the Family Stone’s SEX MACHINE

Please go to the following URL

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