Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Sly and The Family Stone

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"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" - Sly and The Family Stone (1969)

"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" by Sly and The Family Stone is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential funk songs of all time. It was first real funk song - up to this, there was only proto-funk- not nearly as hard, funky, or ambitious as this one was.

The track was interpreted as a summation of both the career of Sly and the Family Stone as of 1969 when it was recorded,  as well as a portrait of the era at the transition from the 1960s into the 1970s. The third verse contains specific references to the group's previous hit songs, "Dance To The Music" "Everyday People", "Sing a Simple Song", and "You Can Make It If You Try".

Sly Stone wrote the song because he was upset that people were not listening to the messages in his songs even though the band was more popular then ever. He was leading  an integrated band and tried to spread the message of racial harmony, but Stone thought that message was getting lost. The lyrics are scathing and mostly directed at Sly himself, but once again, many people lost the message in the powerful groove. The title is a funky way of spelling "Thank you for letting me be myself again."

The song is probably the harshest riff Stone ever devised. To guarantee that nobody would miss the fierceness of his alienation, he didn't sweeten the groove with extraneous harmony or melody. The lyrics are delivered with deadpan flatness, but most listeners missed the point anyway. It eluded us that, because he was suddenly free from the shackles of pretense, Stone was telling everybody to go to hell and then sincerely thanking us for letting him be himself again. Stone wasn't being remarkably selfish; he was only ahead of his time. Within a few years, this attitude would dominate the mind-set of the entire nation.

Larry Graham played the innovative bass line using a technique where thumped the strings. He learned this technique when he was playing in a duo with his mother, who played the organ. He thumped the strings to make up for a lack of drummer. This bass style became very popular on Funk records for years to come, and was a big influence on artists like Prince and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Sly Stone was not interested in being marketed solely as a black act, so the band developed a style that reflected its diverse membership. Sly & The Family Stone combined equal parts of rock, soul, and psychedelia, added some doo-wop and gospel for spice, and then stirred it up in a giant cauldron for a blend that was thoroughly unlike anything else at the time. Over time, their music would have a profound impact on such later artists as War; George Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic family of groups; Earth, Wind, and Fire; Prince; and Arrested Development. In their own time, they were unique and trendsetting.

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