Sly Stone: Lessons in What Life is Really About


If you’ve ever wanted to be rich, this story will give you reason to be a whole lot happier with where you are right now in life.

They say that money cannot buy happiness. In the case of Sly Stone, the popular musician from the 1960s and 70s – money not only failed to buy happiness, it ended up buying him a life of substance abuse and eventual poverty. Today, this once great songwriter and record producer is reportedly living his days in a parked van, largely forgotten.

The Good Old Days

Sylvester Stewart was his real name, but in the mid-1960s, working as a radio disc jockey, Sly adopted the stage named “Sly Stone.” His love of music led him to create a band ironically called “The Stoners”, then another band called “Sly and the Family Stone” which produced a series of huge hits.

The first hit song was “Dance to the Music” in 1967, followed by “Everyday People” in 1969.

Sly was on fire – at the top of the charts, making money and receiving praise from everyone in the music industry.

How Much is Money Worth?

When you make it big and have nowhere else to go but down, what do you do?

For many in the music business, the approval from the crowd is like a drug. But when you’re off stage, the approval is gone – so Sly Stone, and many who came before and after him – turned to drugs. Heavy drugs.

As a result – for much of the early 1970s, Sly and his band were so high, they would often not show up for performances. And when they did – he, or a band member, would collapse on stage, or leave a performance right in the middle of it.

Money didn’t really mean anything. Its only purpose was to buy more drugs.

It couldn’t buy any of the things we truly value in this life.

Lessons Learned

Too many of us are chasing the wrong dream. The false idea that money will make everything right.

It was the late great Johnny Carson who said the only thing money can give you is the ability not to worry about money. That’s it. It cannot give you a loving family, true friends who appreciate you for who you are, a good reputation and life-long contentment.

It cannot do any of those things.

Our definition of success is slowly changing as people realize what really counts in this life.

Where A Lot of Money Can Get You

Today, Sly Stone is reportedly living his days in a van – penniless. Some reports say he’s in the van by choice – others say he’s there because he has no other place to go.

Last year, Stone sued his former managers for holding back on paying royalties and was awarded $5 million. But a judge recently said Stone was not entitled to any of the money because he had once signed off his royalties to a production company.

In 2008, Sly Stone did a performance in California when he suddenly stopped and reportedly told the crowd “I gotta go take a piss.”

He never returned.

In his heyday, Sly was called the most talented musician alive.

Money, fame and excess will never beat love, caring and gratitude for what we have.

Love the life you’ve got.

Now it’s time to dance to the music. The year is 1968 and Sly Stone is in top form.  

Footnote: Various documentaries are now coming out about the life of Sly Stone.

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