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Studio album by
ReleasedMay 3, 1969
StudioPacific High Recording Studios, San Francisco, California
GenreFunk, psychedelic soul[1]
ProducerSly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone chronology
Greatest Hits
Singles from Stand!
  1. "Everyday People" / "Sing a Simple Song"
    Released: 1968
  2. "Stand!" / "I Want to Take You Higher"
    Released: 1969

Stand! is the fourth album by soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, released on May 3, 1969. Written and produced by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, Stand! is considered an artistic high-point of the band's career. Released by Epic Records, just before the group's celebrated performance at the Woodstock festival, it became the band's most commercially successful album to date.[1] It includes several well-known songs, among them hit singles, such as "Sing a Simple Song", "I Want to Take You Higher", "Stand!", and "Everyday People". The album was reissued in 1990 on compact disc and vinyl, and again in 2007 as a remastered numbered edition digipack CD with bonus tracks and, in the UK, as only a CD with bonus tracks.

The album sold 500,000 copies in 1969 and was certified gold in sales by the RIAA on December 4th of that year. By 1986 it had sold well over 1 million copies and was certified platinum in sales by the RIAA on November 26 of that same year.[2] It then went on to sell over three million copies, becoming one of the most successful albums of the 1960s.[3] In 2003 the album was ranked number 118 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[4] In 2015, the album was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for inclusion in the National Recording Registry.[5]


Stand! was recorded after Life, a commercially unsuccessful album. Although the Family Stone's single "Dance to the Music" was a top ten hit in early 1968, none of the band's first three albums reached above 100 on the Billboard 200. Stand! reached number thirteen and launched Sly Stone and his bandmates Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, Rose Stone, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico into the pop music mainstream.

Much of the album was recorded in the San Francisco area at Pacific High Recording Studios. The band’s A&R director and photographer Stephen Paley recalled how "together" Sly Stone was while working on Stand!, constantly referring to Walter Piston's Orchestration text-book,[6] unlike his erratic behavior and work after he became dependent upon cocaine within a year of the album's success.[7]


Stand! begins with the title track on which Sly sings lead on "Stand", a mid-tempo number launching into a gospel break for its final forty-nine seconds.[6] Most of the Family Stone was unavailable for the session at which this coda was recorded: Sly, drummer Gregg Errico and horn players Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini were augmented by session players instead. Errico recalls that many liked the gospel extension more than they did the song proper, and that; "People would always ask, 'why didn't you go there and let that be the song?'"[6] The second track, titled "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey", has few lyrics save for the chorus Don't call me "nigger", whitey/Don't call me "whitey", nigger and a single verse sung by Rose Stone. On "I Want to Take You Higher" Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, Rose Stone, and Sly Stone take turns delivering the lead vocal and all seven band-members deliver the shouted backing vocals. Sly Stone, Robinson, Freddie Stone, Graham, and Martini all play instrumental solos.

On "Somebody's Watching You" Sly Stone, Graham, Freddie Stone, and Rose Stone deliver the vocal in unison. The song's slightly pessimistic tone would be expanded upon later in the band's career with "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and the There's a Riot Goin' On LP,[8] and would be a hit for the Family Stone's vocal group Little Sister, the first Top 40 single to use a drum machine.[9] "Sing a Simple Song" urges the audience to "try a little do re mi fa so la ti do". Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Temptations and The Jackson 5 all recorded it, and the song's guitar riff is heard on Ike & Tina Turner's "Bold Soul Sister" (from The Hunter, 1969), Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys (1970) and Miles Davis' A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1971).

"Everyday People", already a number-one hit single in the United States by the time of the album's release, opens Side B. The most familiar selection on the album, "Everyday People" popularized the expression "different strokes for different folks".[10] Sly Stone, Rose Stone and Cynthia Robinson sing lead and Larry Graham introduces the slap-pop style of bass he expanded on "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". "Sex Machine" is a thirteen-minute jam that features Sly scatting through amplified distortion and allows each band member a solo. Gregg Errico's drum solo closes the song and the band members are heard bursting into laughter during the final seconds. Stand! concludes with "You Can Make It If You Try", sung by Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, and Larry Graham. Sly Stone instead of Larry Graham played the bass.[11]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars [1]
Austin Chronicle4/5 stars [12]
BBC Music(favorable) [13]
The Guardian4/5 stars [14]
PopMatters(10/10) [15]
Q5/5 stars [16]
Rolling Stone(favorable) [17]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars [18]
StylusA [19]
Uncut5/5 stars [20]


Rapper Ice-T, Body Count, and Jane's Addiction performed "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" during the 1991 Lollapalooza tour and in the 1993 Perry Farrell film Gift.[21]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written, produced and arranged by Sly Stone for Stone Flower Productions.

Side one

  1. "Stand!" – 3:08
  2. "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" – 5:58
  3. "I Want to Take You Higher" – 5:22
  4. "Somebody's Watching You" – 3:20
  5. "Sing a Simple Song" – 3:56

Side two

  1. "Everyday People" – 2:21
  2. "Sex Machine" – 13:45
  3. "You Can Make It If You Try" – 3:37

2007 limited edition CD reissue bonus tracks:

  • "Stand!" (mono single version)
  • "I Want to Take You Higher" (mono single version)
  • "You Can Make It If You Try" (mono single version)
  • "Soul Clappin' II" (previously unreleased)
  • "My Brain (Zig-Zag)" (previously unreleased instrumental)


Sly and the Family Stone
  • Don Puluse, Brian Ross-Myring, Phil Macey – engineering

Chart history[edit]


Name Chart (1969–1970) Peak
Stand! U.S. Billboard Pop Albums 13
Stand! U.S. Top R&B Albums 3
"Everyday People" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 1
"Everyday People" U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 1
"Sing a Simple Song" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 89
"Sing a Simple Song" U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 28
"Stand!" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 22
"Stand!" U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 14
"I Want to Take You Higher" U.S. Billboard Pop Singles 38
"I Want to Take You Higher" U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 24



  1. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Stand! at AllMusic. Retrieved 18 Jan 2005.
  2. ^ RIAA Searchable Database Archived 2007-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2008-08-16.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Sly & the Family Stone biography". AllMusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  4. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "118 | Stand! - Sly and the Family Stone". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 69–71
  7. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 113–115
  8. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. Review for "Somebody's Watching You" by Sly & the Family Stone. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
  9. ^ Stewart, Vaetta. "Introduction to Sly's Lil Sis Site". Sly's Lil Sis/Little Sister Website. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  10. ^ Kaliss, Jeff. "Sly and the Family Stone: 'Different strokes for different folks.' Archived 2006-02-12 at the Wayback Machine" Retrieved on 2007-01-18
  11. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 132
  12. ^ Austin Chronicle review
  13. ^ BBC Music review
  14. ^ The Guardian review
  15. ^ PopMatters review
  16. ^ Q review
  17. ^ Dubro, Alec (26 July 1969). "Sly & the Family Stone Stand!". Rolling Stone. San Francisco: Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (38): 37. Archived from the original on 2 October 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  18. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 3, 2007). "Extended Family". Rolling Stone (1025/1026). p. 151. Retrieved 16 Aug 2008.
  19. ^ Stouthall, Nick. "Sly & The Family Stone". Stylus Magazine. Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ Uncut review
  21. ^ Nolan, Joe (25 June 2013). "Perry Farrell's film Gift". Disinformation. Retrieved 8 October 2013.


External links[edit]