Studio album by Sly and the Family Stone
Released May 3, 1969
Recorded 1968–1969
Pacific High Recording Studios
(San Francisco, California)
Genre Rock, funk, Soul
Length 41:27
Label Epic
BN 26456
Producer Sly Stone
Sly and the Family Stone chronology
There's a Riot Goin' On
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Austin Chronicle 4/5 stars[2]
BBC Music (favorable)[3]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[4]
PopMatters (10/10)[5]
Q 5/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[7]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[8]
Stylus (A)[9]
Uncut 5/5 stars[10]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

Stand! is the fourth studio album by soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone, released May 3, 1969 on Epic Records. Written and produced by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, Stand! was the band's breakout album.[1] It went on to sell over three million copies and become one of the most successful albums of the 1960s.[11] The album sold over 500,000 copies in the year of its release and was certified gold in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America on December 4, 1969. By 1986, it had sold well over 1 million copies and had been certified platinum in sales by the RIAA on November 26 of that same year.[12] Stand! is considered one of the artistic high-points of the band's career and includes several landmark songs, among them hit singles, such as "Sing a Simple Song", "I Want to Take You Higher", "Stand!", and "Everyday People". In 2003, the album was ranked number 118 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[13]

This album published in UK only as reissued CD in 2007 with bonus tracks.

This album published in US as LP record with gatefold cover in 1969, and as reissued LP record and CD in 1990. In 2007 it was reissued as remastered numbered edition digipack CD with bonus tracks.




Stand! was recorded after Life, a commercially unsuccessful album. Despite the Family Stone's early 1968 single "Dance to the Music" being a top ten hit in the United States, none of the band's first three albums charted above 100 on the Billboard 200. Stand! broke this trend, reaching number thirteen on the Billboard 200, and launching 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 studios such as Pacific High Recording Studios. The band’s A&R director and photographer Stephen Paley recalled how "together" Sly Stone was while working on Stand!, down to his constant referencing of Orchestration, a how-to book on orchestral arrangement by Walter Piston.[14] Stone's attitude while working on the album would contrast sharply with the erratic behavior and work ethic he would develop after becoming dependent upon cocaine within a year of the release of Stand! [15]


Stand! begins with the title track. Sly Stone sings lead on "Stand", which plays out as a mid-tempo number for two minutes before launching into a gospel break for the final forty-nine seconds of the song.[14] Most of the Family Stone was unavailable for the session where Sly recorded the final version of the gospel extension, and he, drummer Gregg Errico, and horn players Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini used session players instead. Errico recalls that many liked the gospel extension more than they did the song proper: "People would always ask, 'why didn't you go there and let that be the song?'"[14] The second track on the album is "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey", a criticism of racism. The song has very few lyrics, save for a verse by Rose Stone and the song's chorus: Don't call me "nigger", whitey./Don't call me "whitey", nigger. Once "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" concludes, the album launches into the high-tempo "I Want to Take You Higher". Freddie Stone, Larry Graham, Rose Stone, and Sly Stone each take turns delivering the lead vocal. All seven members of the band deliver the shouted backing vocals on the recording, and Sly Stone, Robinson, Freddie Stone, Graham, and Martini are all given instrumental solos.

"Somebody's Watching You" follows "I Want to Take You Higher", and is a somber number about paranoia. Sly Stone, Graham, Freddie Stone, and Rose Stone deliver the song's lead vocal in unison, with the song lyrics reflecting the constant need for a successful person to always have to watch his back. 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.[16] "Somebody's Watching You" would be covered as a Top 40 hit for the Family Stone's background vocal group, Little Sister, whose version was the first Top 40 single to feature use of a drum machine.[17] Side A concludes with "Sing a Simple Song", which urges the audience to "sing a simple song" and "try a little do re mi fa so la ti do". Motown artists such as Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Temptations, and The Jackson 5 recorded covers of "Sing a Simple Song", and the song's guitar riff can be heard on the recordings of Ike & Tina Turner ("Bold Soul Sister" from The Hunter, 1969), Jimi Hendrix (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" criticises racism and prejudice, and popularized the expression "different strokes for different folks".[18] Sly Stone, Rose Stone, and Cynthia Robinson sing lead on the song, and Larry Graham introduced the beginnings of the slap-pop style of bass playing he would later expand upon for "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)". The second track on Side B is "Sex Machine", a thirteen-minute jam, which features Sly again scatting through a vocoder, and allowing each band member an extended solo. Gregg Errico's solo closes out the song; while he was recording his solo, the other band members were apparently standing around him and making fun of him, which is why they are all heard bursting into laughter during the final seconds of the track. Stand! concludes with "You Can Make It If You Try", sung by Sly Stone, Freddie Stone, and Larry Graham. For this track, Sly Stone played the bass instead of Larry Graham.[14]


Stand! is among the most sampled recordings in popular music history; late 20th century hip hop producers were particularly fond of sampling Gregg Errico's drum lines from "Sing a Simple Song" and "You Can Make It If You Try", and either looping the tracks or chopping them up and using the drum sounds. The drums from these two tracks can be found on literally hundreds of hip-hop and contemporary R&B songs, by artists such as LL Cool J, The Jungle Brothers, Digital Underground, Ice Cube, TLC, Jodeci, and many more.[19] Arrested Development, an act heavily influenced by Sly & the Family Stone, borrowed from some of the tracks on Stand! for various tracks on their 1992 debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of.... Several 3 Years, 5 Months... tracks contain samples of Stand! tracks, most prominently the vocals samples from the end of "Sing a Simple Song" included in Arrested Development's "Mr. Wendel", their "People Everyday" borrows the chorus from "Everyday People", and the coda of "Fishin' For Religion" mirrors the gospel ending of "Stand".[19]

Track listing

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

CD bonus tracks

Added for 2007 limited edition compact disc reissue:

  • "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)


Chart history


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


Later samples


  1. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Stand! at Allmusic. Retrieved 18 Jan 2005.
  2. ^ Austin Chronicle review
  3. ^ BBC Music review
  4. ^ The Guardian review
  5. ^ PopMatters review
  6. ^ Q review
  7. ^ Dubro, Alec (July 26, 1969). "Sly & the Family Stone Stand! > Album Review". Rolling Stone (38). Archived from the original on 2 Oct 2007. Retrieved 27 Jul 2006. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 3, 2007). "Extended Family". Rolling Stone (1025/1026): p. 151. Retrieved 16 Aug 2008. 
  9. ^ Stylus review
  10. ^ Uncut review
  11. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas . "Sly & the Family Stone". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  12. ^ RIAA Searchable Database. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2008-08-16.
  13. ^ 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 1932958614. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  14. ^ a b c d Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 69–71
  15. ^ Selvin, Joel (1998), pp. 113–115
  16. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. Review for "Somebody's Watching You" by Sly & the Family Stone. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2007-02-05.
  17. ^ Stewart, Vaetta. "Introduction to Sly's Lil Sis Site". Sly's Lil Sis/Little Sister Website. Retrieved on 2007-01-18.
  18. ^ Kaliss, Jeff. "Sly and the Family Stone: 'Different strokes for different folks.'" Retrieved on 2007-01-18
  19. ^ a b (2008). Listing for Stand by Sly & the Family Stone. Retrieved March 2, 2008.


  • Selvin, Joel (1998). For the Record: Sly and the Family Stone: An Oral History. New York: Quill Publishing. ISBN 0-380-79377-6.

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