500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Sly and the Family Stone, 'Family Affair'
Writer: Sly Stone
Released: Oct. '71, Epic
14 weeks; No. 1
When There's a Riot Goin' On came out in 1971, a Rolling Stone reporter mentioned the rumor that Stone had played all the instruments himself, and he asked Sly just how much he played. "I've forgotten, man," Stone said. "Whatever was left." The leadoff single, the aquatic funk number "Family Affair," was widely considered to be about his relationships with his band, family and the Black Panthers. "Well," Stone said, "they may be trying to tear me apart; I don't feel it. Song's not about that. Song's about a family affair, whether it's a result of genetic processes or a situation in the environment."
Appears on: There's a Riot Goin' On (Sony)