Sly Stone, the elusive soul icon behind Sly and the Family Stone, has announced his memoir. Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) is out October 17 via new imprint Questlove in the US and White Rabbit Books in the UK. The book will include a foreword by Questlove and was written with Ben Greenman, who previously wrote memoirs with George Clinton and Brian Wilson.
“For as long as I can remember, people have been asking me to tell my story, I wasn’t ready,” Stone said in a statement. “I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It’s been a wild ride and I hope my fans enjoy it too.”
Sly and the Family Stone had multiple hits in the late ’60s, including “Dance to the Music,” “Everyday People,” and the song behind the new book’s title, “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” In 1971, the band released what is considered their dark masterpiece, There’s a riot going on. Their sound was a hybrid of funk, soul, psychedelic rock, and pop.
The news of his memoir may come as a shock to fans who have waited decades for tidbits of news about Stone’s whereabouts and well-being. For years, he largely withdrew from the public eye after earning a reputation for using substances, sometimes arriving late or not showing up for concerts. He made a late entry for the band’s 1993 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech. Just as Rose Stone said, “As usual, it’s just us,” Sly took the stage and delivered a 15-second speech, culminating in a “see you soon.” He briefly performed at the 2006 Grammys with Aerosmith, sporting a giant mohawk. In 2010, Sly and the Family Stone reunited at Coachella for an hours-late performance in which Stone interrupted songs to discuss his legal troubles. It was later reported that he lived in a trailer.
After the band was featured prominently in summer of the soul, Questlove revealed that it was working on a documentary focused solely on Stone. On the Oscars red carpet, Questlove said: “Sly was a genius from the Bay Area who completely transformed music, and we’re going to dig into people’s state of mind, when they’re successful, why the temptation to screw it up? come to play. He’s going to resonate with all of us.”
White Rabbit editor Lee Brackstone said: “I fell in love with Sly Stone as a teenager and have been obsessed with his music and his mysterious life story ever since. Publishing his memoir in White Rabbit Books is a great honor. There simply isn’t anything bigger or more exciting than this: a bona fide genius, funk visionary who reset the dial in the late ’60s and, in doing so, anticipated the hip-hop revolution to come. This book delivers and then continues.”