If You Want Me To Stay – Sly & The Family Stone | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#12) and R&B (#3); 1973

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

While San Francisco is best remembered for the Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead, in early 1967 a third group was signed to a major label that couldn’t have been musically more remote from Summer Of Love hippie-dom, Sly & The Family Stone.

As a budding record producer for Autumn Records, Sylvester Stewart had helmed hits by the likes of soul singer Bobby Freeman (C’mon And Swim #5; 1964) and the British Invasion-styled Beau Brummels (Laugh, Laugh #15 and Just A Little #8; 1965).

In 1966 he formed the Stoners which morphed into Sly & The Family Stone. Sly’s blend of psychedelia and R&B on recordings such as Dance To The Music and Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Again) graced airwaves and turntables across America.

However, with fame and fortune came increasingly erratic behavior from Sly, and his career began to falter. His last major hit was the smooth groove classic If You Want Me To Stay.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Sly Stone

Lyrics Written by:

  • Sly Stone