|Single by Sly and the Family Stone|
|from the album Stand!|
|B-side||"Sing a Simple Song"|
|Sly and the Family Stone singles chronology|
"Everyday People" is a 1968 song composed by Sly Stone and first recorded by his band, 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. It held that position on the Hot 100 for four weeks, from February 9 to March 8, 1969, and is remembered as one of the most popular songs of the 1960s. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song of 1969.
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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 second major integrated band in rock history after Los Angeles' Love. Sly and 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 (using the cadence of the "na-na na-na boo-boo" children's taunt) that mock the futility of people hating each other for being tall, short, rich, poor, 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). Rose's singing ends each part of the bridge with the words: "And so on, and so on, and scooby dooby doo". The children's animated TV series Scooby-Doo (often featuring the phrase "scooby dooby doo") also launched in 1969.
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 and the Four Tops, Peggy Lee, Belle & Sebastian, Pearl Jam, and Nicole C. Mullen, Ta Mara and the Seen and many others. Hip-hop group Arrested Development used the song as the basis of their 1992 hit, "People Everyday", which reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 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. Rolling Stone ranked "Everyday People" as No. 145 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. "Everyday People" was prominently featured in a series of Toyota commercials in the late 1990s as part of their "Everyday" slogan campaign.
The third verse of Sly and the Family Stone's 1969 "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)", a No. 1 hit by February 1970, references the titles of "Everyday People" and several of the band's other successful songs.
"Everyday People" by Ta Mara and the Seen was a minor hit in the Philippines in 1988.
The Staple Singers released a version on their 1970 album We'll Get Over.
- Sly Stone: vocals
- Rose Stone: vocals, piano
- Freddie Stone: vocals, guitar
- Larry Graham: vocals, bass guitar
- Greg Errico: drums, background vocals
- Jerry Martini: saxophone, background vocals
- Cynthia Robinson: trumpet, vocal ad-libs
- Engineered by Don Puluse
- Written and produced by Sly Stone
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 54.
- "Top Records of 1969" (PDF). Billboard. Cincinnati, Ohio: Billboard Publications, Inc. December 27, 1969. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1969-02-17. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
- Flavour of New Zealand, 7 March 1972
- "SLY & THE FAMILY STONE".
- "Sly the Family Stone Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
- "Sly the Family Stone Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
- "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.