Sly & The Family Stone Classics Prepped For Reissue

Epic/Legacy will on March 20 unveil remastered editions of Sly & the Family Stone's first seven studio albums, each with several bonus tracks and new liner notes.

Epic/Legacy will on March 20 unveil remastered editions of Sly & the Family Stone's first seven studio albums, each with several bonus tracks and new liner notes. Not included in this batch are group leader Sly Stone's 1975 solo album "High on You" or the Family Stone's final studio set, 1979's "Back on the Right Track."

The group's 1967 debut, "A Whole New Thing," introduced its signature blend of R&B, soul and rock via such tracks as "Trip to Your Heart" and "Run, Run, Run." The album is expanded here with five rarities, including the previously unreleased instrumental version of "You Better Help Yourself" and the single edits of "Underdog" and "Let Me Hear It From You."

In May 1968, Sly and company released "Dance to the Music." Although it reached just No. 142 on The Billboard 200, the album spawned the group's first top 10 pop hit with the title cut. Bonus tracks include "Higher," which was intended to be the group's first single but was never released, a cover of Otis Redding's "I Can't Turn You Loose" and the previously unreleased original "We Love All."

Released just seven months later, "Life" barely cracked The Billboard 200 but cemented the Family Stone's genre-bending sound on tracks like opener "Dynamite!" and the biting "Jane Is a Groupee." The new edition includes the previously unreleased songs "Seven More Days" and "Pressure," an instrumental take of "Sorrow" and the single edit of "Dynamite!"

The group's commercial breakthrough came with 1969's "Stand!," which hit No. 13 on The Billboard 200 and spawned the evergreen hits "Everyday People," "I Want To Take You Higher," "Sing a Simple Song" and the title song. The album is augmented here with the previously unissued "Soul Clappin II," the instrumental "My Brain (Zig-Zag)" and the mono single version of "You Can Make It if You Try."

More than two years passed before the release of "There's a Riot Goin' On," by which point Sly & the Family Stone were amongst the biggest acts in pop. The album spent two weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 thanks in part to "Family Affair," the group's third No. 1 hit. The expanded edition will boast three previously unreleased instrumentals and the mono single version of "Runnin' Away."

"Fresh," released in 1973, continued the band's hit streak, reaching No. 7 on The Billboard 200; the single "If You Want Me To Stay" topped out at No. 12. But by this point, Stone's prodigious drug use and inter-band turmoil were taking their toll on the music. Among the bonus tracks on the new version are alternate mixes of "Let Me Have It All" and "Frisky" plus a previously unreleased alternate version of "Babies Makin' Babies."

July 1974 brought the release of "Small Talk," which failed to generate any charting singles. Still, it reached No. 15 on The Billboard 200, a distinction Sly & the Family Stone would never enjoy again. Bonus tracks include the previously unreleased "Crossword Puzzle," the instrumental "Positive" and alternate takes of "Time for Livin'" and "Loose Booty."

Stone, now 62, has not released an album since 1982's "Ain't But the One Way" and was last heard from on the 1986 soundtrack to the film "Soul Man." Over the years, he has battled drug addiction and been the subject of bizarre rumors about his personal life, but is understood to now be in better health and living in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Stone made his first major public appearance since his 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at last year's Grammy Awards.

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