Song: “Everyday People” by Sly & The Family Stone
Reached #1: February 15, 1969 (their first, 4 weeks)
Man, do we need this song today.
In an America thisclose to being shredded on class lines (many of which are fueled by racial and gender divide), we all need a reminder that we’re just everyday people.
The irony, of course, is that Sly Stone was anything but an everyday person.
He took his stage name from one of his early bands, The Stoners. Indeed, Stone was – and is – dogged by addiction problems. Ironically, the most recent headline on the family website is that Sly was released from rehab in January 2012. Some things never change.
Stone’s work was generally more trippy and eclectic than this simple, understated request that “we got to live together” – a request the band lived with their very unusual (for their day) lineup that included blacks and whites, men and women. It’s been said that the Black Panthers pressured Stone to drop the white musicians… he didn’t, of course, and clearly, the Panthers missed the message of “Everyday People”. Then again, so have a lot of people over the years.
Maybe someday we’ll get it. I’m not holding my breath.
Oddball sidebar: yes, the line “and so on, and so on, scooby doobie doo” is believed to have inspired a certain cartoon dog’s name (and, perhaps, the era inspired that dog’s stoned human sidekick – and please don’t tell me that Shaggy wasn’t comfortably numb).
Tomorrow, a song that was a solo hit in the UK, but a group hit in the USA, because the record label didn’t think the lead singer was well-known enough.
Other songs that reached #1 on February 15:
1975 – “You’re No Good” by Linda Ronstadt (her first, 1 week)
1986 – “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston (her second, 2 weeks)