100 Greatest Singers
March 15th, 1943
Key Tracks "Everyday People," "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf Again)," "Family Affair"
Influenced Prince, George Clinton
"Sly was definitive cool," says Gnarls Barkley vocalist Cee-Lo. Sly Stone's funk was so revolutionary in its conception, its writing, its arranging, it can be easy to overlook his remarkable singing. "Sometimes he sounded like he wasn't trying, and that confidence can be very attractive," Cee-Lo adds. Stone's vocals mutated from the wild exuberance of "Dance to the Music" to hazy isolation on There's a Riot Goin' On, creating moods that were radically different but no less powerful. "He started as that cheerleader," says the Roots' Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, "then pulled back the Wizard of Oz curtain and revealed a lonely shell of a man." Family Stone bass player Larry Graham says Stone's singing was always shifting: "We were never surprised when he laid down a great vocal track. We all just expected it."