Greatest Hits (Sly and the Family Stone album)

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Greatest Hits
Slyfam-ghits-1970.jpg
Greatest hits album by
ReleasedNovember 21, 1970
Recorded1967–69
GenrePsychedelic soul, funk, rock
Length39:56
LabelEpic
ProducerSly 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 compilation album by American recording group Sly and the Family Stone. It was first released on November 21, 1970, by Epic Records.[1] Comprising five singles and their b-sides along with one additional single and one album track, 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 versions on this compilation are not the single mixes in all cases; some songs appear here in their album lengths and mixes. Mixes sometimes have different timings and differences in vocals and or instrumentation.

Three tracks released as singles in 1969 appear on album for the first time here: "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.

Prior to the release of this album the artists were not able to make stereo mixes of three non-album singles: "Hot Fun in the Summertime", "Everybody is a Star" and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". Epic resorted to taking the mono single versions of these tracks and artificially "re-channelling" them for the stereo LP.

The entire album was also remixed for 4-channel quadraphonic sound. The quad album release appeared in the SQ format on LP. This system was also compatible with conventional 2-channel stereo playback systems. For many years the rather rare quadraphonic LP was the only source of "true stereo" versions of the three single tracks, although, technically these were not stereo mixes.

Normal stereo mixes of the three songs were finally done when the group's catalog was digitally remastered in the 1990s. The album was properly reissued in stereo by Epic/Legacy in 2007. The quadraphonic version was reissued as a hybrid SACD by Audio Fidelity in 2015. This edition also includes original mono single mixes in place of where the stereo recordings would ordinarily be.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
All Music Guide5/5 stars[3]
Christgau's Record GuideA+[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[5]
PopMatters8/10[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide5/5 stars[7]

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."[8] In Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), 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".[9]

In a review upon the album's reissue in 2007, Andrew Gilstrap from 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."[6] 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]

Sly and the Family Stone

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 February 24, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). "Sly & the Family Stone: Greatest Hits". In Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 370. ISBN 0879306270. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Christgau 1981, p. 358.
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Sly & the Family Stone". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857125958.
  6. ^ a b "Sly and the Family Stone: Greatest Hits". PopMatters. August 27, 2007. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Coleman et al. 2004, p. 746–7.
  8. ^ Landau, Jon (December 24, 1970). "Greatest Hits". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Christgau 1981, p. 359.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]