Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: There's A Riot Goin' OnReleased: 1971Charted:
According to Dave Marsh's book 1001 Greatest Songs, Sly Stone's manager told Rolling Stone that Family Affair was the story of Sly's own life, which was being cut up by the factions that surrounded him in his stardom. Chief among those factions, David Kapralik hinted, was Sly's own family. Sly denied this. He told Rolling Stone, "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." There was a rumor at the time that Stone had written it in response to demands made on him by black nationalist groups, who didn't approve of his integrationist sensibility.
According to the Rolling Stone
's 500 Greatest Songs, when There's A Riot Goin' On
came out in 1971, a reporter mentioned the rumor that Sly 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 song's rhythm was provided by a drum machine, making it one of the earliest hit recordings and the first #1 single to use such a device.