Sylvester Stewart was born in 1943 in America and is the frontman of Sly & The Family Stone, playing a critical role in the development of funk with his pioneering fusion of soul, rock, psychedelia, and gospel in the 1960s and 1970s.
Sylvester was identified as a musical prodigy. By the time he was seven, Sylvester had already become proficient on the keyboards, and by the age of eleven, he had mastered the guitar, bass, and drums as well.
The nickname Sly was a common one for Sylvester throughout his years in grade school. Early on, a classmate misspelled his name "Slyvester," and ever since, the nickname followed him.
In the mid-1960s, Stone worked as a disc jockey for San Francisco, California, soul radio station KSOL. Stone was influential in guiding KSOL-AM into soul music and started calling the station K-SOUL. While still providing "music for your mind, body, and your soul" on KSOL, Sly Stone played keyboard for dozens of major performers including Dionne Warwick, Righteous Brothers, Ronettes, Bobby Freeman, Marvin Gaye, Jan & Dean, Gene Chandler, and many more, including at least one of the three Twist Party concerts by then chart topper Chubby Checker held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1962 and 1963.
Along with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone were pioneers of late 1960s and early '70s funk. Their fusion of R&B rhythms, infectious melodies, and psychedelia created a new pop/soul/rock hybrid, the impact of which has proven lasting and widespread. The pioneering precedent of Stone's racial, sexual, and stylistic mix, had a major influence in the 1980s on artists such as Prince and Rick James. Legions of artists from the 1990s forward – including Public Enemy, Fatboy Slim, Beck, Beastie Boys and LL Cool J's popular "Mama Said Knock You Out" along with many others – mined Stone's seminal back catalog for hook-laden samples.
"The most talented musician I know is Sly Stone," Bootsy Collins said in an interview with Mojo. "He's more talented than anybody I ever have seen – he's amazing.”