In 1966, Stewart formed the group Sly & the Stoners, while his younger brother Freddie led his own band, Freddie & the Stone Souls; soon the siblings merged the two acts, and with bassist Larry Graham, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, saxophonist Jerry Martini, and drummer Greg Errico, Sly & the Family Stone were born.
As the group's chief vocalist, songwriter, and producer, Stone pushed the envelope further with each successive release; and with the 1970 chart-topper "Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin," he essentially created the sonic blueprint for the funk and disco that dominated the decade to follow via a percussive groove propelled by Graham's pop-and-slap bassline.
However, as the utopian ideals of the 1960s gave way to the paranoia and corruption of the 1970s, the celebratory sound that once epitomized Sly & the Family Stone gave way to the bleakly unsettling There's a Riot Goin' On, a dark, militant masterpiece that yielded the hits "Family Affair" and "Running Away."
Released in 1973, Fresh was Sly & the Family Stone's last truly great album, and after issuing Small Talk the band unraveled, with 1975's High on You credited to Stone alone.
Sly & the Family Stone were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
(Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide)