Sly Stone (born Sylvester Stewart on 15 March 1943, in Denton, Texas) is an American musician, songwriter, and record producer, most famous for his role as frontman for Sly & the Family Stone, a band which played a critical role in the development of soul, funk and psychedelia in the 1960s and 1970s. Sly & the Family Stone was started in San Francisco, California.
Sylvester Stewart was the second of 5 children raised in Vallejo, in the northern San Francisco Bay Area. After the family moved from Denton, Texas to Vallejo, he and his brother Freddie and their sisters Rose and Vaetta formed "The Stewart Four" as children, performing gospel music in the Church of God in Christ and even recording a single in 1952. All of the Stewart children except oldest sister Loretta would later adopt the surname "Stone" and become members of Sly & the Family Stone.
Sylvester learned to play a number of instruments, settling primarily with the guitar, and joined a number of high school bands. One of these was The Viscaynes, a doo-wop group which, excepting Sylvester and his Filipino friend, Frank Arelano, was all-white. The fact that the group was integrated made the Viscaynes "hip" in the eyes of their audiences, and would later inspire Sylvester's idea of a multicultural Family Stone. The Viscaynes released a few local singles, including "Yellow Moon" and "Stop What You Are"; during the same period, Sylvester also recorded a few solo singles under the name "Danny Stewart".