The music of Sly & The Family Stone is celebrated with a new 4-CD box set, Higher!, available everywhere August 27th through Epic/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. Released in celebration of Sly Stone’s 70th birthday, Higher! is the first career-spanning anthology to celebrate the musician whose funk has influenced everyone from Miles Davis and Michael Jackson to Public Enemy and the Roots. Housed in a colorful slipcase with a lavishly-illustrated 104-page book, the box set will feature 77 tracks, 17 of them previously unreleased.
Spotlighted throughout the first three CDs of Higher! are rare mono single masters of every classic Sly & The Family Stone signature hit like they’ve never been heard before in the digital era. Paying homage to the golden age of transistor radios are mono versions of “Dance To the Music,” “Everyday People,” “Stand!,” “I Want To Take You Higher,” “Hot Fun In the Summertime,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again),” and many others, more than 30 mono single masters and mono album cuts that were a call-out to get up and dance, dance, dance. Decades after the chart debut of Sly & The Family Stone with the game-changing “Dance To The Music,” fans and newcomers will have the opportunity to dig into this far-reaching anthology, covering the recording career of Sylvester Stewart starting in 1964, and the band he masterminded from 1966 to 1977 on Epic Records.
Higher! pays tribute to the unique style of Sly & The Family Stone with its innovative ten-inch square package design, which houses the CDs in its interior pockets. The middle compartment contains a painstakingly detailed 104-page book featuring a liner notes essay, a beautifully-illustrated timeline of Sly’s career, track-by-track annotations, rare and uncirculated photography, 45 rpm label and picture sleeve repros, eye-popping vintage concert posters and ticket stubs from Sly & The Family Stone shows, and more.
Sly & The Family Stone laid down a template that not only inspired an era of youthful rebellion and independence as the ’60s turned into the ’70s, but also had (and continues to have) a potent effect on the course of modern music in general. Sly’s DNA is traceable to every cell of the musical stratosphere.
“Sly Stone’s music is relevant because he was able to take from all the influencing genres before him and along side him, and combine it like gumbo,” said Public Enemy frontman Chuck D. ”Then inside the band, having women, having it mixed race and ethnic background − I mean, come on now. You really couldn’t point and say ‘well, this is the reason why it’s funky,’ it’s all this together like gumbo that’s making this happen. And Sly & The Family Stone was the epitome of a group playing the music, saying the lyrics, and also backing with the words.”
Sly & The Family Stone have been inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the Grammy Hall Of Fame, and have received the R&B Foundation Pioneer Award, among many other recognitions of their importance and enduring influence.
Higher! is a tribute to the far-reaching horizons of Sly & The Family Stone. Their repertoire, every composition penned by Sylvester Stewart aka Sly Stone, kept the Pop and R&B charts jumping for seven glorious years from 1968 to 1975. There are the three career-defining RIAA gold Billboard #1 Pop/#1 R&B hits, “Everyday People,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again)” and “Family Affair.” Their signature Top 40 hits began with “Dance To the Music” and went on to include “Stand!,” “I Want To Take You Higher,” “Hot Fun In the Summertime,” “Runnin’ Away,” “If You Want Me To Stay,” “Time For Livin’,” and more. Their top-charted RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums include Stand! (1969), Greatest Hits (1970), There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971), and Fresh (1973), every one a must-have.