After busting down doors with
uplifting songs like "Everybody Is A Star",
"Hot Fun In The Summertime", "Dance To The Music" ,
Sly took a step towards the dark side of funk
with "Thank You (Falletinme Be Mice Elf)"
and "Family Affair". Sylvester was 25 years old
and the pressure of stardom wore heavy on him.
The sudden fame was difficult to deal with
and he began to suffer the symptoms of a
bleeding ulcer, which never matured, but
developed a dependency on cocaine. He also
began buying into the rich and famous scene
accumulating cars, jewelry, expensive homes,
private planes and an assortment of female
companions. He was constantly busy being the star
and began to lose sight of his business and musical
responsibilities. He began showing up late for concerts,
if he bothered to show up at all and the concertgoers
weer having none of that and rioted in the venues.
His musical operation was bleeding money all over the
place and there was nothing to staunch the flow since
he had become so self involved. Lawsuits, management
battles and the lack of new music hurt the organization
terribly along with many missed concert dates and
group infighting. He finally put together a new album,
"There's A Riot Going On" and the centerpiece single
of "Family Affair" that seemed to sum up his life at the time.
Debuting at #50, the highest new single that week,
moving swiftly to #1 where it stayed for three weeks.
The distinctive bass line was played by Sly himself,
ex band member Larry Graham relates, "he used to
play with a pick". This was their last smash, but their
first using a primitive drum machine.
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