Hot Fun In The Summertime - Sly and The Family Stone
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"Hot Fun In The Summertime" - Sly and The Family Stone (1969)
Coming off their high-profile and very popular appearance at the Woodstock music festival, Sly and the Family Stone released "Hot Fun in the Summertime" in late 1969 which greatly expanded their fan base.
While the group was is known for its politically charged composition, this number two hit went in the other direction as a simple celebration of the lazy days of summer. From the fun of visiting a country fair under the sun to the freedom of being out of school, this summer anthem sums it up: "End of the spring and here she comes back…"
This song was supposed to be part of a new studio album by Sly and the Family Stone. However, due to Sly's drug problems and CBS Records demands for a new Sly album, this and two other tracks were released on the band's first bestselling Greatest Hits album.
Genesis vocalist and drummer Phil Collins cited the song as one of the musical inspirations for "Misunderstanding" while the soft-rock band Toto said it was an inspiration for their hit, "Hold the Line".
On the surface, this is a song dedicated to summer and all the fun memories accompanying it. However, if studied further, the song reveals an undercurrent of sadness regarding the race riots of 1969, or of Sly's wish for those innocent days when all people could live freely without the social conditions that breed ignorance and hatred. Maybe his soul knew and desired that place of freedom, innocence, creativity, vulnerability and justice for all.
Music critic Carlo Wolff writes:
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