Little Sister (band)

Little Sister (band)

Little Sister was an American all-female vocal harmony group, which served primarily as the background vocalists for the influential rock/funk band Sly & the Family Stone in concert and on record. Originally a gospel music group called The Heavenly Tones, Little Sister was composed of Vet Stone (Family Stone frontman Sly Stone's "little sister"), Mary McCreary, and Elva Mouton, and became a recording act of its own for a brief period in 1970-1971.



While still in high school, Vaetta Stewart and her friends Mary McCreary and Elva Mouton had a gospel group called "The Heavenly Tones" and performed at various venues around the Oakland/San Francisco area. When Vaetta's older brother Sylvester took on the name Sly Stone and formed Sly & the Family Stone with their brother Freddie, and friends Larry Graham, Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini, and Greg Errico, The Heavenly Tones were recruited directly out of high school to become "Little Sister", Sly & the Family Stone's background vocalists.

The group performed background vocals on a number of the Family Stone's biggest early hits, including "Everyday People" and "Stand!" Besides Little Sister's background vocals, Sly, Freddie, Larry Graham, and middle sister Rose Stone were heard singing backgrounds on the tracks as well.

Hit singles

During the interim period between the releases of the Family Stone albums "Stand!" and "There's a Riot Goin' On", Sly Stone negotiated a production deal with Atlantic Records, resulting in his own imprint, Stone Flower. Stone Flower released four singles, including one by R&B artist Joe Hicks, one by 6IX, and two by Little Sister: "You're The One" and "Somebody's Watching You", a cover of a song from "Stand!". The Little Sister version of "Somebody's Watching You" was the first major record to have a rhythm track created with a drum machine.

Both Little Sister 45s reached the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 and the Billboard R&B Top 10:

* "You're the One", part 1/"You're The One, part 2" made it to #4 R&B and #22 pop (2/28/70),
* "Somebody's Watching You"/"Stanga" made it to #8 R&B and #32 pop (11/28/70),

but for unclear reasons Sly ceased production of further Little Sister recordings, and Little Sister were relegated to background vocal work for the rest of its existence. Atlantic flipped the 2nd single over and reserviced it and it charted, as well;

* "Stanga"/"Somebody's Watching You" made it to #44 R&B but did not chart again on the pop chart (2/19/72).

Later period

During the post-1971 period of Sly & the Family Stone, Little Sister began singing nearly all of the background vocals itself, as Sly began singing nearly all of the lead vocals himself.

Little Sister was dissolved when the Family Stone did, in 1975, after the band's fortunes slowly fell due to Sly Stone's drug abuse problems. After the group's dissolution, Mary McCreary married singer/songwriter Leon Russell.


* Vet Stone
* Mary McCreary
* Elva Mouton



* 1970: "You're The One [Part 1] " b/w "You're The One [Part 2] " (US #22, R&B #4)
* 1970: "Somebody's Watching You" b/w "Stanga" (US #32, R&B #8)
* 1972: "Stanga" b/w "Stanga" (radio promo release only) (US #44 R&B)


External links

* [ Little Sister] at Allmusic.
* [ Vet Stone's official Little Sister/Stone Family website]

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