Sly and the Family Stone: 20 Essential Songs

The best from the generation-defining funk-soul-rock legends

The Beau Brummels, "Laugh, Laugh" (1965)

Sly Stone's first taste of national notoriety began at the tender age of 19 when he produced the moody pop single, "Laugh, Laugh," for the San Mateo folk-rock band the Beau Brummels. As a teen guitarist, Stone's various gigs around San Francisco lead him to cross paths with Autumn Records' Tom Donahue, who gave the budding talent a shot at producing. "Laugh, Laugh" was one of Sly's first efforts and by early 1965, it had climbed into the Top 20. As Ben Fong-Torres said of the single in 1970: "Sly had produced the very first rock & roll hits out of… a city then known for little more than Johnny Mathis and Vince Guaraldi." The "San Francisco Sound" would soon be in full bloom, but here Sly was planting the seeds early on.