Sly and the Family Stone's Greatest Hits was one of the most played albums I'd ever owned. While I no longer have the record or a turntable to play it on, it remains, in my opinion, a perfect album, and served as one of the soundtracks of my childhood with lyrics like this: "Everybody is a star. I can feel it when you shine on me. I love you for who you are. Not the one you feel you need to be."
Long after Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart faded from public life, his songs have remained vibrant and many still relevant. I've longed for updates on this reclusive man who has shown up in public only a handful of times. His drug use and financial troubles were well known. And now, finally and unexpectedly, there is an autobiography to learn more.
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin): A Memoir is the artist's recollections of his life. Written with Ben Greenman and in collaboration with his manager Arlene Hirschkowitz, Stone goes back to his earliest days and what inspired him to devote himself to music. His years leading up to and experiencing early success with Sly and the Family Stone makes this book a must-read for fans of Stone as well as those intrigued by the band's groundbreaking combination of funk, rock, R&B and soul. Stone's accounts of his appearances at the 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and at a 2006 Grammy Awards tribute were fascinating. There are details of Stone's life that are very sad but much of his troubles were self-induced. Stone's non-musical stories and anecdotes of his years on drugs, losing everything, were difficult to read. He is straightforward and unapologetic. And his treatment of the women in his life was often inexcusable. The fact that Hirschkowitz, a former girlfriend, has stood by him all these years is quite remarkable.
I read a digital version of the book and also listened to the audio version. Narrator Dion Graham did a fine job. Many times, I either stopped to play some of my favorite Sly and the Family Stone songs or watched clips on YouTube of some of the television appearances mentioned. It helped complete the book for me. Published by Questlove, who also wrote the introduction, The Roots musician is also working on a documentary on Sly. Something to look forward to.
I encourage fans to check this book out. But if it's not for you, simply listen to Sly Stone's music. Or as the song goes, "dance to the music".
Rated 4 out of 5 stars.
Nonfiction: Autobiography / Memoir. Publication Date: October 17, 2023.
Please "like" this post if Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin): A Memoir sounds like a book you might like to read. I'd love to know. Scroll below the photo and click on the red outlined heart on the lower right-hand side of the page. Comments can also be left below.