Sly & the Family Stone was indeed a family affair, with Sly Stone's younger siblings, brother Freddie and sister Rosie, all part of the band. The rest of the group, including bass player Larry Graham, were like family, at least in the '60s, when they rose to the top with the hits "Everyday People
" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
But in the '70s, the group came apart as Sly Stone battled drug addiction and became rather unreliable, causing the band to miss a number of shows. It also took a while for them to produce an album to follow up their 1969 release Stand!
When they delivered There's A Riot Goin' On
in 1971, it was a lot darker and angrier than their previous material. The first single, "Family Affair," wasn't a celebration of family but a look at how it can go wrong, with these memorable lines that check in on the nature vs. nurture debate:One child grows up to be
Somebody that just loves to learn
And another child grows up to be
Somebody you'd just love to burn
The song was a huge hit, their third #1 in America, but it signaled an end of an era. Graham and drummer Gregg Errico left soon after, and they never landed another big hit.