Everyday People

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"Everyday People"
Single by Sly and the Family Stone
from the album Stand!
B-side "Sing a Simple Song"
Released November 1968
Format 7" single
Recorded 1968
Genre Psychedelic soul, funk
Length 2:22
Label Epic
5-10407
Writer(s) Sly Stone
Producer(s) Sly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone singles chronology
"Life"/"M'Lady"
(1968)
"Everyday People"/"Sing a Simple Song"
(1968)
"Stand!"/"I Want to Take You Higher"
(1969)
Music sample

"Everyday People" is a 1968 song by Sly and the Family Stone. It was the first single by the band to go to number one on the Soul singles chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.[1] It held that position, on the Hot 100, for four weeks from February 15, 1969, until March 14, 1969, and is remembered as a popular song of the 1960s. As with most of Sly & the Family Stone's songs, Sly Stone was credited as the sole songwriter.

Overview[edit]

The song is one of Sly Stone's pleas for peace and equality between differing races and social groups, a major theme and focus for the band. The Family Stone featured Caucasians Greg Errico and Jerry Martini in its lineup, as well as females Rose Stone and Cynthia Robinson; making it the first major integrated band in rock history. Sly & the Family Stone's message was about peace and equality through music, and this song reflects the same.

Unlike the band's more typically funky and psychedelic records, "Everyday People" is a mid-tempo number with a more mainstream pop feel. Sly, singing the main verses for the song, explains that he is "no better / and neither are you / we are the same / whatever we do."

Sly's sister Rose Stone sings bridging sections that mock the futility of people hating each other for being tall, short, fat, skinny, white, black, or anything else. The bridges of the song contain the line "different strokes for different folks," which became a popular catchphrase in 1969 (and inspired the name of the later television series, Diff'rent Strokes).

During the chorus, all of the singing members of the band (Sly, Rosie, Larry Graham, and Sly's brother Freddie Stone) proclaim that "I am everyday people," meaning that each of them (and each listener as well) should consider himself or herself as parts of one whole, not of smaller, specialized factions.

Bassist Larry Graham contends that the track featured the first instance of the "slap bass" technique, which would become a staple of funk and other genres. The technique involves striking a string with the thumb of the right hand (or left hand, for a left-handed player) so that the string collides with the frets, producing a metallic "clunk" at the beginning of the note. Later slap bass songs – for example, Graham's performance on "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)" – expanded on the technique, incorporating a complementary "pull" or "pop" component.

"Everyday People" was included on the band's classic album Stand! (1969), which sold over three million copies. It is one of the most covered songs in the band's repertoire, with versions by The Winstons, Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, William Bell, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, The Supremes & The Four Tops, Peggy Lee, Belle & Sebastian, Pearl Jam, and Nicole C. Mullen, Ta Mara and the Seen among many others. Hip-hop group Arrested Development used the song as the basis of their 1992 hit, "People Everyday," which reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart and #8 on the Hot 100. Dolly Parton's previously unreleased 1980 cover of the song was included as a bonus track on the 2009 reissue of her 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs album. It was also prominently featured in a series of television commercials for Toyota automobiles in the late 1990s and most recently for Smarties candy in 2008. Rolling Stone ranked "Everyday People" as #145 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Everyday People" is prominently featured in the opening sequence of the 2008 romantic comedy film Definitely, Maybe. The lead character, Will Hayes (played by Ryan Reynolds), calls it his "perfect song" for that particular day. It can also be heard in the film Purple Haze.

Notable Versions[edit]

On the 2005 Sly & the Family Stone tribute album Different Strokes by Different Folks, Maroon 5 performs a cover of "Everyday People", accompanied by samples from the original.

Son's of Anarchy episode 3 in season six featured a cover version by The Forest Rangers in the closing scenes.

A unique instrumental rendition of "Everyday People" is featured on the 1998 album Combustication by jazz fusion trio Medeski Martin & Wood.

Personnel[edit]

  • Written and produced by Sly Stone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 54. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James & the Shondells
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 15, 1969 - March 14, 1969 (four weeks)
Succeeded by
"Dizzy" by Tommy Roe
Preceded by
"Can I Change My Mind" by Tyrone Davis
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
February 22, 1969 – March 1, 1969 (two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" by James Brown