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Sly Stone memoir to be released through new Questlove imprint

NEW YORK -- Questlove has his own book imprint and is launching it with a memoir by one of the world's most influential and enigmatic musicians, Sly Stone, leader of Sly and the Family Stone.

Sly Stone performs at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, as seen in the documentary "Summer Of Soul (...Or, When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)."  Mass Distraction Media/Courtesy of Sundance Institute

"Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," named for the Sly and the Family Stone hit, will be released Oct. 17 through Questlove's AUWA Books imprint, part of Macmillan Publishers. The memoir is co-written by Ben Greenman and will track Stone's rise to the heights of stardom in the late 1960s to his long decline and virtual disappearance from the music scene.

"For as long as I can remember folks have been asking me to tell my story," the 80-year-old Stone, who was born Sylvester Stewart, said in a statement Wednesday. "I wasn't ready. I had to be in a new frame of mind to become Sylvester Stewart again to tell the true story of Sly Stone. It's been a wild ride and hopefully my fans enjoy it too."

Widely revered as one of the greatest bands to emerge from San Francisco during the '60s, Sly and the Family Stone broke new ground with its genre-breaking music and interracial line-up that also featured Stewart's sister Rose on keyboards and trumpet player Cynthia Robinson. The group had already notched several hit singles and established itself as a powerhouse live act by the time they released their landmark fourth album Stand! in 1969. 

The effort would become their most critically and commercially successful recording yet. Filled with radio smashes like "Sing a Simple Song," "I Want to Take You Higher" and "Stand!" that combined the band's celebratory vibe with a political and social message, the record hit stores just weeks before Sly and the Family Stone became one of the breakout stars at Woodstock. Stand! helped lay the blueprint for innumerable funk and soul disciples who would follow the lead of Sly and James Brown into the decade that followed. Stone and the group would also become a hugely influential sample source for hip-hop producers in the '80s and '90s.

Other books planned for the AUWA imprint include "Handbook for the Revolution: The Essential Guide for Workplace Organizing," by Amazon Labor Union activist Derrick Palmer and "Hip-Hop Is History," a chronology of hip-hop's first 50 years co-written by Questlove and Greenman.

"I have been writing books for over a decade, so it seemed like a natural step to publish them too," Questlove aka Ahmir Thompson said in a statement. A Grammy-winning musician as the drummer with hip-hop band the Roots and music director for "The Tonight Show," he directed the Oscar-winning documentary "Summer of Soul" -- a film that Sly and the Family Stone appeared in prominently. Questlove is also planning a film about Stone, whose other hits include "Dance to the Music" and "Everyday People."

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