If You Want Me to Stay
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|"If You Want Me to Stay"|
|Single by Sly and the Family Stone|
|from the album Fresh|
|Length||3:01 / 2:40 (alternate take)|
|Sly and the Family Stone singles chronology|
"If You Want Me to Stay" is a 1973 hit single by Sly and the Family Stone, from their album Fresh. The single was the band's final Top 20 pop hit, and is the best-known of its post-There's a Riot Goin' On recordings.
Stone recorded the song without much input from the rest of the band; by the early 1970s, he had begun crafting most of his material by himself. An alternate version of "If You Want Me to Stay", as well as most of the rest of the Fresh album, was completed before Stone decided to scrap the masters and re-record the album. These alternate versions have surfaced in underground markets, online auctions, and specialty shops. However, in Epic's 2007 reissue of Fresh, five bonus tracks are included, all of which are directly from the alternate mix of the album.
The lyrics of "If You Want Me to Stay" feature frontman Sly Stone informing his lover that she has to let him be himself, otherwise he feels that he would have to leave. The composition has its origins in an apology Stone wrote to his future wife, Kathleen Silva, after a fight.
- Vocals, guitar, keyboards by Sly Stone
- Drums by Andy Newmark
- Bass by Rustee Allen
- Trumpet by Cynthia Robinson
- Saxophones by Jerry Martini and Pat Rizzo.
Note: A transcription of the bass part for this song appears in the October 2006 issue of Bass Player magazine (pages 78–81). According to the article accompanying the transcription, written by Chris Jisi:
"The ambitiously named 'Fresh' hit the streets in early July. A stripped-down, more raw outing than previous Sly albums, the 11-track set was boosted by the bass waves of Graham's hand-picked replacement, Rustee Allen. Sly himself laid down some of the album's bass tracks, but it was Rustee whose lilting line drove "If You Want Me To Stay," the disc's hit single (No. 12 on the Pop charts, No. 3 on R & B)"
The song has been covered extensively since its introduction, by artists including Etta James, Eric Benet, Mercury Rev, Victor Wooten, Soulive, Pama International, Ronny, and Kermit Ruffins. The song has also been featured in the movies Made in Heaven, Talk to Me, Dead Presidents, and Money Talks.
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The song was used in the closing minutes of the series finale of the TV show Medium as the actors said their goodbyes to the camera.
It was also featured in the opening scene of the ER episode "John Carter, M.D."
The song can also be heard in the 1995 film Dead Presidents.
It was also featured in the 2014 film Tammy.
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