Formed in 1966, the group's music synthesized a variety of disparate musical genres to help pioneer the emerging "psychedelic soul" sound. They soon found commercial success, recording a series of Top 10 Billboard Hot 100 hits such as "Dance to the Music" (1968), "Everyday People" (1968), and "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" (1969), as well critically acclaimed albums such as Stand! (1969), which combined pop sensibility with social commentary. In the 1970s, Sly and the Family Stone transitioned into a darker and less commercial funk sound that would result in releases such as There's a Riot Goin' On (1971) and Fresh (1973), proving as influential as their early work. By 1975, drug problems and interpersonal clashes led to the group's dissolution, though Sly Stone continued to record and tour with a new rotating lineup under the name "Sly and the Family Stone" until drug problems forced his effective retirement in 1987.
The work of Sly and the Family Stone greatly influenced the sound of subsequent American pop, soul, R&B, funk, and hip hop music. Music critic Joel Selvin sums up the importance of Sly and the Family Stone's influence on African American music by stating "there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone". In 2010, they were ranked 43rd in Rolling Stone list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time," and three of their albums are included in the Rolling Stone list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.