Tuesday, May 05, 2009

DJ Sly and the Family Stone

Sly of Sly and the Family Stone was a DJ on 1450 KSOL-AM. His career as a disc jockey was previous to his career as a singer. He was a great DJ, but his talent there was overshadowed by the four gold records and his later descent into a wack job strung out on PCP and cocaine. The upside is that his career self-destructed in before disco, leaving his catalog to end abruptly before funk itself was hopelessly corrupted by mirror balls and John Travolta.

...Anyway, his story is an interesting tale of transition. Sly Stewart had been to The Chris Borden School of Broadcasting in San Francisco. It was only a 3 month course, but it's more training than most DJs get. He had done some fill in at KEWB already. He was seasoned enough to be confident, and it made him a great on-air personality. After graduating high school in 1964 he started full time at KSOL, on the night shift Monday through Saturday. With his growing popularity Sly was moved off the night shift to afternoon drive.

Sly was already performing with bands and and producing records for Autumn records. In 1965 Sly started cutting his first demos with the Family Stone. Sly Stewart became Sly Stone and he developed a louder more outlandish personality that we later saw on stage. Then Sly did a 2 month stretch in 1967, across the bay in Oakland on 1310 KDIA-AM. He only left when Columbia records showed up with a recording contract.KSOL-AM has been known as KSAN-AM since 1939. John "Les" Malloy bought the station in 1964 from Norwood Patterson and changed the calls to KSOL to match the K-SOUL branding. Les had been a DJ on KSAN, in the 1940s and called himself the Midnight son and was then a TV host on KGO-TV. It was already a rhythm and blues station. It was Sly that started adding white artists to that very black playlist. Ray Charles sat along side the Rolling Stones. The R&B format lasted until 1970. Today KSOL is KEST-AM.

AIRCHEXX.com has a clip HERE
So does REEL Radio HERE