|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 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. 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. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song of 1969. As with most of Sly & the Family Stone's songs, Sly Stone was credited as the sole songwriter.
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, 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 forth, and Scooby Dooby Doo"
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, for Smarties candy in 2008, and for Farxiga in 2015. 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 and uses in popular culture
The song's title is mentioned in the hit song by Sly and the Family Stone's, "Thank You" (For lettin me be myself again") in the Third Verse, along with their other hit "Dance to the Music".
"Everyday People" by Ta Mara and the Seen was a minor hit in the Philippines in 1988.
The original version of the song was used in the film, Definitely, Maybe.
The song came out in November 1969, two months after the cartoon Scooby-Doo premiered. Despite this, the line "and so on and so on / it's scooby-dooby-doo-by" is not related to the cartoon. Frank Sinatra scats a similar line at the end of Strangers in the Night, three years before in 1966.
- Lead Vocals by Sly Stone and Rose Stone
- Background Vocals by Rose Stone, Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, and Little Sister (Vet Stone, Mary McCreary, Elva Mouton)
- Piano by Rose Stone
- Guitar by Freddie Stone
- Bass by Larry Graham
- Drums by Greg Errico
- Horns by Jerry Martini (tenor saxophone) and Cynthia Robinson (trumpet)
- engineered by Don Puluse
- Written and produced by Sly Stone
"Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James & the Shondells
|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
February 15, 1969 - March 14, 1969 (four weeks)
"Dizzy" by Tommy Roe
"Can I Change My Mind" by Tyrone Davis
|Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
February 22, 1969 – March 1, 1969 (two weeks)
"Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" by James Brown