Well, we begin our story with a consideration of Sly Stone and Sly and the Family Stone. When we think about the people who are most important in helping shape the way black pop developed over the course of the 1970s, there are two names that really begin our study. James Brown is one, and we'll deal with James' music a little bit later, in a couple of lectures. For now, I want to focus on the important role of Sly Stone and his group, Sly and the Family Stone, and how that lead to a kind of rise of funk in black pop in the first half of the 1970s. Sly Stone is an interesting guy because he comes out of the primarily white rock scene in San Francisco at the end of the 1960s. So, Sly is in that same scene with people like the Grateful Dead, and the Jefferson Airplane, and many of the groups that we talked about in week seven of part one of this course. And so his group really rises out of that, though isn't really thought of as a San Francisco band. I don't think most people would think of them in the same breath as the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane and the rest of them, Janis Joplin, groups like that. But in fact he was really a part of that scene. The style that he's responsible for, primarily, is called Psychedelic Soul and the key features of that are an emphasis on groove that is setting up a repeated rhythmic kind of feel that is often laid down between the bass and the drums and then the other instruments play. It's not so much like melodic or harmonic instruments, sometimes, as much as like every instrument in the band is kind of a percussion instrument. It sets up an intricate and hip interlocking of different parts to create a kind of a groove. So rather than the music taking advantage of a lot of interesting and complicated chord progressions or various kinds of things like that, it really sets up a groove and then all the music rides on top of that. There are catchy hooks in the lyrics, phrases and things like that that come back, that catch the listener's ear, and some great horn arrangements that go along with all this and ride along the top of that. So that sound is really developed by Sly Stone and was extremely influential in the artists came after him. A good example of early Sly would be Dance to the Music, a number nine R&B hit, already in 1968. There's a double A-sided single Stand and I Want to Take You Higher, from 1969. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) was number one on both the R&B and the pop charts in 1970. And what's interesting about Sly is that he was marketed across racial lines, so it was really quite possible, if you were listening to FM rock, to hear something by Sly and the Family Stone, when mostly, as I'll say during the course of these lectures this week, most of the music that we're talking about did not get heard so much on FM rock radio. Sly Stone was one of the important exceptions. And so that crossover really did a lot to define, for white audiences, what they thought black music must be sounding like, though they weren't hearing a whole lot of it. The group was also interesting because it was integrated both in terms of race, both black and white members, and in terms of gender, both men and women in the group. Well, so then there's a whole series of groups that really pick up what Sly gets started and work that style to continue to develop it here into the 1970s. So we can start with a group from Dayton, Ohio, called the Ohio Players. These guys were formed first as Robert Ward and the Untouchables all the way back in 1959. They quickly became the Ohio Untouchables and then finally the Ohio Players. They first broke through in 1973 with kind of a novelty record called the Funky Worm, kind of a funny lyric and vocal that went with it, and then kind of a synthesizer sound that was supposed to be the sound of the worm dancing, or whatever, or moving, or grooving, or whatever it was. It was one of those kinds of catchy AM novelty record kinds of things that really brought these guys to the top of the charts. Number one on the R&B charts, number 15 on the pop charts, and they followed with tunes that were a lot more in the Sly Stone kind of style. A big tune that was number one on both the R&B and the pop charts in 1974 called Fire, and then another number one hit in 1975 called Love Rollercoaster. Kool and the Gang, coming from Jersey City, New Jersey, were formed as a jazz group called the Jazziacs in 1964, while some of the members of the group were still in high school, led by a fellow named Robert Bell. He's the bass player, and he's Kool in Kool and the Gang, after they were the Jazziacs, they changed their name to Kool and the Flames, and then eventually became Kool and the Gang. Their big breakthrough came in 1973 With an album called Wild and Peaceful and a track called Jungle Boogie, number four on the pop charts, number two on the R and B charts. Following up with Hollywood Swinging. During the disco years, Kool and the Gang had a couple of really, really big hits. That is, later in the 70s, and we'll come back to that as we get to the end of this week's lectures. In 1979, Ladies Night. And in 1980, Celebration. So, for those of us who live in the United States, if you’ve been to a wedding reception at any time since 1980, you’ve probably heard the band play Celebration. It’s one of those kinds of staple tunes that gets played all the time, at least it did, I may be dating myself a little bit by saying that. Anyway, Kool and the Gang, an important extension of the Sly Stone style and approach. Earth, Wind, and Fire, another group that was kind of an extension of what Sly got going. Started by, formed by Maurice White, who was a drummer, kind of a jazz drummer and a studio drummer in the Chicago area, played as a studio drummer for Chess Records in the 60s, played drums with the Ramsey Lewis trio for a while. But then he moved to LA in 1969, met Phillip Bailey who became the lead vocalist for the group and formed this group Earth, Wind, and Fire, known for their sort of sophisticated and intricate horn arrangements in addition to catchy melodies that rode on top of these great grooves. Some important recordings from them. The big one for them was a big number one album called, That's the Way of the World, in 1975, features the songs, Shining Star, which was a number one hit and the title track, That's the Way of the World, which got to number 12 in the pop charts, number five in the R&B charts. It was written for the movie of the same name, That's the Way of the World, that was a movie about the record business which featured Harvey Keitel and the band members in the group actually make some cameos. That's not the only time we're going to talk about Earth, Wind, and Fire and music from movies, but I don't want to anticipate my story too much. If I would give you one Earth, Wind, and Fire track to check out, I would say that for me, the one that I enjoy the most is their version of the Beatles, Got To Get You Into My Life, they did it in 1978, it was the number nine pop hit, number one R&B hit. But, it's a fantastic arrangement that really highlights all the things that are hippest about Earth, Wind, and Fire, I think, in many ways. It was recorded for a Sgt. Pepper movie, and in this Sgt. Pepper movie the four Beatles were played by the three Bee Gees, plus Peter Frampton. Now, in 1978, you have to understand, the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton were the biggest names in the pop music business. So, they put this movie together around Sgt. Pepper. Actually, I don't think really a very good movie, but anyway, Earth, Wind, and Fire did their Beatles song, and that was Got To Get You Into My Life. Steve Martin actually was also in that movie. Another group that really had a fantastic horn section was Tower of Power coming out of Oakland, California. In fact, that group, the horn section was so hot and had such a great reputation in the business in the 1970s that they appeared on albums by all kinds of other artists notable for us rock historians. Albums by Elton John, Rod Stewart and The Rolling Stones. It was a multi-racial group featuring both black, white, and Latino members. Maybe the big breakthrough album for them comes in 1973 with their album Tower of Power, and if I was going to ask you to listen to one Tower of Power track to really get an idea of what it is these guys did best, I would ask you to check out the tune What Is Hip?, which has got all the groove things and the more sophisticated, almost in some ways sounding a little like jazz in a lot of kinds of ways. And then finally, in our discussion of groups that extend the Sly and the Family Stone idea of funk into the 1970s, we think about the group called War, which formed in Los Angeles, California. Now the guys in War were originally in a group called The Nightriders, and they were playing around, actually got a gig to back a football player in this country by the name of Deacon Jones. As I recall, Deacon Jones played for the Los Angeles Rams, back when that NFL team was in Los Angeles. And he was going to, like a lot of players do, try to create a career in music. And so he got these guys, The Nightriders, together and I guess he did an album. You can look it up on the internet and see exactly how that worked out. But anyway, while that was all happening, Eric Burdon, who had sung with the Animals during the 60s, you know, House of the Rising Sun, We Gotta Get Out of This Place. That Eric Burdon saw this group and decided they were so fantastic, he'd like to have them back him, and so he formed a group, they called it Eric Burdon and War. They released an album in 1970 called Eric Burdon Declares War, they had a hit with the single "Spill the Wine", and then Eric Burdon left the group, went onto other things. But the group continued together without Eric Burdon and had tremendous success, almost more success without Eric Burdon than they did with him, blending Latin feels together with an R&B approach and funk. The big album for them was probably The World is a Ghetto from 1972, number one on both the pop, and the R&B charts. The title track was a number seven hit on the pop charts and Cisco Kid was even bigger, a number two hit on the pop charts, number one on the R&B charts. And then Low Rider, from a couple years later, from 1975, was a number seven hit for them, number one on the rhythm and blues charts, and number 12 in the UK. And so those groups together, the Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Tower of Power, War, they're all, in many ways, a clear extension of what Sly and the Family Stone got rolling at the end of the 1960s. And then Sly falls out of the picture in the early 1970s, these other groups take that sound, refine it, and turn it into what is one of the mainstream sounds of black pop in the 1970s, the sound of funk. Now we move on, in the next video, to talk about what was happening at Motown in the 1970s.