♫ Everyday People ♫ (Redux)

It was just over two years ago when I played this, and today I really think we need to hear it again, need to absorb the message behind the music.


Most often, I just like the song for the music … the tune, the singer(s), the rhythm, and there is no real rhyme nor reason … I just like what I like.  But there are a few songs that I also like for the message, and Everyday People is one of those.

The meaning in this song isn’t deep, mysterious or cryptic … it is quite simple:  we are all the same … everyday people.  Nobody is better than another.  Personally, I think this song should be required to be played in every church, synagogue and mosque throughout the world, for it gets down to the basics of what religion ought to be about.  You get this message down, then the rest follows naturally.

The song was originally released by Sly and the Family Stone in 1968 and was the first single by the band to go to #1.

milk.h1The song was used in the movie Milk, about gay rights activist Harvey Milk who, in 1977 when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, became the first openly gay elected official in the United States.  Less than one year later, on November 27, 1978, Milk was gunned down along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone.  The shooter was Supervisor Dan White, a conservative board member who had campaigned on a platform of law and order, civic pride, and family values.  The movie is worth a watch, if you haven’t seen it.milk shootingSly & the Family Stone was a mash up of musical styles with band members of different genders and ethnic backgrounds — they lived the message they sang about.  And now, I’ve chattered enough … just listen …

Everyday People
Sly & the Family Stone

Sometimes I’m right and I can be wrong
My own beliefs are in my song
The butcher, the banker, the drummer and then
Makes no difference what group I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a blue one who can’t accept the green one
For living with a fat one trying to be a skinny one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

Oh sha sha we got to live together

I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me you know me and then
You can’t figure out the bag I’m in

I am everyday people, yeah yeah

There is a long hair that doesn’t like the short hair
For bein’ such a rich one that will not help the poor one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

Oh sha sha we got to live together

There is a yellow one that won’t accept the black one
That won’t accept the red one that won’t accept the white one
And different strokes for different folks
And so on and so on and scooby dooby doo

I am everyday people

Songwriters: Sylvester Stewart
Everyday People (from Milk) (Re-Recorded / Remastered) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

19 thoughts on “♫ Everyday People ♫ (Redux)

  1. This is why I listen to the words before I commit to liking a song. A pleasant melody or catchy chorus cannot overcomes songs of hatred or cruelty for me. Sly and the Family Stone were way ahead of their time, but really they were long overdue. The hippie movement was long overdue. But those who opposed us won out in the end. Power rules, even over peace and love. Trump is proof of that.
    If the human race doesn’t get it soon, maybe they never will. ..

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  2. Jill, this is a great song. What is great about this band is not just the music, but the diversity early on, at a time when it was frowned on. I remember Harry Belafonte being asked to not have black and white dancers behind him when he sang on TV. He stuck to his guns and it was fine, but the fact he had push back is unreal now. So, Sly was a trend setter. There is a great Ed Sullivan appearance, where his singers went up in the audience. Keith

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    • Thanks, Keith! I agree … it is a great song … pleasing to the ear, and the lyrics are the best advice ever. And yes, their diversity proves the point of this song, doesn’t it? I didn’t know that Belafonte had been asked that, but good for him for sticking to his guns and doing the right thing. I’ll see if I can find a clip from that Ed Sullivan show you mention … thanks!

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      • Jill, after I wrote this, it may have been on the Mike Douglas Show. He would have a week long co-host on his show and I remember Sly Stone being one of them. He also had John Lennon as a co-host. Keith

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  3. It’s really too bad that this song has to be heard 50 years later to understand its message and meaning. Instead of taking steps toward acceptance, it feels like we’ve gone backward. I don’t know what it’s going to take, but we have to find a way to love one another no matter what – no justifications, skewed Bible scripture or exceptions.

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    • It’s too bad that people don’t heed the message. Our society has become greedy and arrogant, and yes, it very much feels as if we have gone backward in so many areas, especially civil rights. I don’t know if there is anything that can bring us together again … I thought the pandemic might give us a common enemy and bring us all together, but it has done the opposite. Sigh.

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    • John Lennon’s Imagine is another such song. People hear the song but they don’t listen to it. Simple songs that could change the world, if only people would heed their messages.

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  4. Sly and the Family Stone is one of the few American bands that I have ever seen live, and even that was an accident, since I happened to be in Madison, Wisconsin, during a week when they were performing at a club there in 1969.

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