On this day in music history: December 4, 1971…

On this day in music history: December 4, 1971 – “Family Affair” by Sly & The Family Stone hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on the same date. Written and produced by Sly Stone, it is the third and final chart topping single for the San Francisco, CA based R&B/Funk band. Recorded at a time of much turmoil and upheaval in the once harmonious band, “Family Affair” expresses the ups and downs that one often has with their family. The breakdown of relationships within the band brought on clashing egos, money, drug abuse, and pressure to maintain their success exacts a heavy toll on all concerned. It takes Sly nearly a year and a half to complete “There’s A Riot Goin’ On”, working mostly on his own, with an ever rotating cast of musician friends as well as some contributions from the other band members. On “Family Affair”, Sly and his sister Rosie are the only members of the band to appear on the single. Billy Preston (keyboards) and Bobby Womack (guitar) provide additional instrumental support. “Family Affair” (like much of the album) utilizes the Maestro Rhythm King, one of the earliest drum machines to come on the market. The single is an immediate smash upon its release on October 15, 1971. Entering the Hot 100 at #50 on November 6, 1971, it leaps to the top of the chart just four weeks later. Over the years, “Family Affair” is covered by numerous artists including Tyrone Davis, Bunny Wailer, Shabba Ranks featuring Patra and Terri & Monica and Roachford. Another cover by John Legend, Joss Stone and Van Hunt recorded for the Sly & The Family Stone tribute/remix album “Different Strokes By Different Folks” wins a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals in 2007. Sly & Family Stone’s original recording is also sampled by Janet Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Trife & Cappadonna Featuring Sun God, Kid Frost, N’Sync, Angie Stone, Pizzicato Five, Digital Underground and Chaka Demus & Pliers. The original recording is also remixed by Mark Brydon, and later by Tom Moulton. “Family Affair” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.