Sly and the Family Stone: 20 Essential Songs

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

Load Previous

"Underdog" (1967)

As the first single and first song on the group's first album, A Whole New Thing, "Underdog" introduced Sly and the Family Stone in as raucous a way possible. It opens, oddly enough, with saxophonist Jerry Martini sleepily riffing on the children's song "Frère Jacques" before giving way to a full acid rock jam of driving horns, dramatic choral yells and a defiant social message about underdogs who have to prove themselves to be "twice as good." George Clinton told official Family Stone biographer Jeff Kaliss that, in listening to the song, "you felt like they were speaking directly to you personally." The song and its album were the group's creative magnum opus… just not a commercial one. They failed to break the Family Stone out nationally, but that moment would come soon enough.

Back to Top