Greatest Hits (Sly and the Family Stone album)

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Greatest Hits
Greatest hits album by Sly and the Family Stone
Released November 21, 1970
Recorded 1967–69
Genre Psychedelic soul, funk, rock
Length 39:56
Label Epic
Producer Sly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone chronology
Stand!
(1969)
Greatest Hits
(1970)
There's a Riot Goin' On
(1971)
Singles from Greatest Hits
  1. "Hot Fun in the Summertime" / "Fun"
    Released: August 1969
  2. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" / "Everybody Is a Star"
    Released: December 1969

Greatest Hits is a greatest hits album by American recording group Sly and the Family Stone, released on November 21, 1970, by Epic Records.[1] It includes all of the singles from the albums Dance to the Music (1968), Life (1968), and Stand! (1969), and all of their charting b-sides. The album also includes one non-charting album track, "You Can Make It If You Try" from Stand!, and three non-album singles from 1969: "Hot Fun in the Summertime", "Everybody Is a Star", and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)".

Greatest Hits was certified quintuple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), having shipped five million copies in the United States.[1] In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 60 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[2]

History[edit]

Released in the midst of an eighteen-month stretch from late 1969 to late 1971, during which Sly & the Family Stone released no new material, Greatest Hits was designed by Epic Records to appease consumer demand and keep the band's name and music in the public's eye. Greatest Hits peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200, and was the band's most successful album sales-wise.

The songs from this album were remixed into Quadraphonic format in 1970 - Once as a test mix, and then again for proper release. Both the Test mixes and released mixes contain different running times and alternate or missing vocals/instrumentation to the original versions. Sly Stone and his engineers never got around to making standard stereo mixes of the three non-album singles. Epic had to resort to taking the mono versions and making simulated stereo versions by electronically rechannelling the mono mixes' frequencies for the stereo LP. For years, the Quadraphonic LP of this album was the only way to find stereo mixes of "Hot Fun in the Summertime", "Everybody is a Star" and "Thank You". True stereo mixes of these three songs were finally done when the Sly & the Family Stone catalog was digitally remastered in the 1990s. The album was properly reissued by Epic/Legacy in 2007.

The surround sound information on the QUAD LP can be extracted by today's audio-video receivers using the DOLBY PRO LOGIC setting.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau A+[4]
PopMatters 8/10[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[6]

In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone, music critic Jon Landau said that Sly Stone's style is "so infinite and revolves around so many crucial aspects that it has only come together perfectly on a handful of his singles", the best of which are compiled on Greatest Hits. Although he found occasionally "trite" music and lyrics, Landau felt that most of the songs "alone stand as a tribute to one of the most original and creative rock musicians."[7] Music journalist Robert Christgau said that, although he has "doubts" about the band's studio albums, Greatest Hits is "among the greatest rock and roll LPs of all time", with "only one cut ('Fun')" wherein the lyrics are "merely competent". He said that Stone's political songs are "uplifting but never simplistic or sentimental", and found the rhythms particularly exceptional, calling them "inspirational, good-humored, and trenchant throughout".[4] Christgau asserted that the music's flashy stereo separations, vocal sounds, and register alterations made Greatest Hits "the toughest commercial experiments in rock and roll history".[8]

In a review upon the album's reissue in 2007, Andrew Gilstrap of PopMatters said that, although it is not comprehensive, the "slapped-together feel" may be "part of what makes Greatest Hits work so well, as if it was put together with the same freewheeling spirit that characterized the band."[5] Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that the album is "one of the greatest party records of all time", with music that is "rarely as vivacious, vigorous, and vibrant as this", and claimed that greatest hits albums "don't come better than this — in fact, music rarely does."[3]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Sylvester Stewart, and produced and arranged by Sly Stone for Stone Flower Productions. Superscripts denote original album sources, referenced below.

Side one
  1. "I Want to Take You Higher" – 5:22 c
  2. "Everybody is a Star" – 3:00
  3. "Stand!" – 3:08 c
  4. "Life" – 2:58 b
  5. "Fun" – 2:20 b
  6. "You Can Make It If You Try" – 3:39 c
Side two
  1. "Dance To The Music" – 2:58 a
  2. "Everyday People" – 2:20 c
  3. "Hot Fun in the Summertime" – 2:37
  4. "M'Lady" – 2:44 b
  5. "Sing a Simple Song" – 3:55 c
  6. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" – 4:47
Notes

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Title Information
"Hot Fun in the Summertime"
  • Epic single 10450, 1969
  • B-side: "Fun"
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/
"Everybody Is a Star"
  • Epic single 10555 , 1969
  • Double A-sided single
Name Chart (1969 - 1970) Peak
position
Greatest Hits U.S. Billboard Pop Albums 2
Greatest Hits U.S. Top R&B Albums 1
"Hot Fun in the Summertime" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 2
"Hot Fun in the Summertime" U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 3
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/
"Everybody Is a Star"
U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 1
"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/
"Everybody Is a Star"
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 1

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "American album certifications – Sly & the Family Stone". Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "60) Greatest Hits". Rolling Stone (New York). November 1, 2003. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Greatest Hits - Sly & the Family Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Christgau 1990, p. 358.
  5. ^ a b "Sly and the Family Stone: Greatest Hits". PopMatters. August 27, 2007. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ Coleman et al. 2004, p. 746–7.
  7. ^ Landau, Jon (December 24, 1970). "Greatest Hits". Rolling Stone (New York). Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ Christgau 1990, p. 359.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]