This week’s Monday Magick comes courtesy of Sly & The Family Stone, a band not necessarily known for their occult leanings. The band, which hailed from the California Bay Area and broke on the scene in 1967, was probably better known for pioneering the popularity of Psychedelic Rock and Funk, as well as being the first big-time American Rock act to have a racially and sexually integrated lineup. But in December 1969 the band released the song “Thank You (Falettingme Be Mice Elf Agin)” as a single, and it’s the song that graced that singles b-side, “Everybody is a Star”, which made their music a bit more “magickal”.
In 1904 the phrase “Every man and every woman is a star” was written by none other than Aleister Crowley in ‘Liber AL vel Legis’ or ‘The Book of the Law’. This of course is the very same law which can be summed up in the much ballyhooed anarchical phrase “Do what thou wilt”. While I can’t draw a direct connection between Crowley and Sylvester “Sly Stone” Stewart, it is worth noting that the Thelemic Law which instructs us to “Do what thou wilt” and declares that “Love is the law, love under will”, shares much in common with The Family Stone’s music, including songs like “Every Day People”, the aforementioned “Thank You”, “Stand”, and others, which was largely concerned with topics of individualism, love, unity, and standing up for oneself and ones beliefs. These themes all culminate in a really remarkable way in the anthemic “Everybody is a Star”.
Oddly enough, the album “Everybody is a Star” was originally recorded for was never finished and the song ended up on the band’s ‘Greatest Hits’ collection. This was the last record the Family Stone recorded with their original lineup intact. This marked a palpable change in the groups output that coincided with Stewart’s move to Los Angeles and descent into addiction. Despite the drugs, he continued recording, releasing the decidedly darker but definitely classic albums ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’ and ‘Fresh’ with a revolving team of musicians, before dissolving the band outright. A 2011 report claimed Stewart is now homeless, living in a van in South Central Los Angeles.
Music is magick.