At the height of their fame, Sly and the Family Stone carried audiences higher and higher with electrifying funk-rock performances. In Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Sly Stone invites readers to join him on a rollicking ride and regales them with the ups and downs of his own rock and roll life.
Born Sylvester Stewart in 1943 Denton, Texas, Stone grew up surrounded by music, soaking in the gospel of Mahalia Jackson, The Soul Stirrers and The Swan Silvertones. Not long after he was born, his family moved to Vallejo, California, where he started singing solos in church when he was 5. Always with an instrument in his hand, Stone put together a singing group called The Viscaynes that eventually gained enough popularity on a local TV show to be offered a record deal. Stone learned his first lesson in the music business when he discovered that the rights to the song he’s written for the group are kept by the label head. After high school, Stone became a DJ at KSOL, and then started producing songs for a number of artists, including Grace Slick and the Great Society and Billy Preston.
But more than anything else, Stone wanted a band. After a few years, Sly and the Family Stone was born. “The band had a concept—white and black together, male and female both, women not just singing but playing instruments.” After “Dance to the Music” rocketed to the top of the charts in 1968, Sly and the Family Stone released one album after another, riding high with their music and live performances until the mid-1970s. During this time, The Roots drummer and frontman (and author, filmmaker, actor and record producer) Questlove writes in the book’s foreword, Sly was “cooler than anything around him by a factor of infinity.” (Thank You is also the inaugural title of Questlove’s new imprint, AUWA.)
As quickly as the band ascended into the rock stratosphere, it descended into a stasis marked by drug addiction and internal disharmony. By 1975, the Family Stone was over. Despite Stone’s personal struggles holding him back from attaining the level of stardom he had reached with the Family Stone, he nevertheless continued to have one goal: He wanted his music to “elevate whoever heard it.” Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) takes fans on the tour of Stone’s life they’ve been waiting for.