There’s no runnin’ away from it: The Opus is back. To kick off Season 17 of the Consequence Podcast Network and Sony’s music history podcast, we’re exploring how Sly and the Family Stone’s iconic There’s a Riot Goin On was at the vanguard of a soul revolution.
When it was released in 1971, the album ushered in a more mature sound for soul music. It served as the link between the late-’60s psychedelic movement and the burgeoning aggressive turn in funk, a sound that would become popularized throughout the decade.
Sly and the Family Stone’s arrangements adopted a more liberal use of rhythm and horns, moving soul into a heavier, funkier space. The vocals were some of the most unique of anything happening in pop at the time, and the musicians were experimenting with new effects as well. This creative shift would inspire the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock to enter the jazz-funk crossover periods of their careers.
In Episode 1 of The Opus: There’s a Riot Goin On, host Jill Hopkins and her guests Carlos Santana, Summer of Soul producer Joseph Patel, and music journalist Steve Huey discuss the cultural change the album instigated and how it contributed to the funky stylings that would become a signature of the era.
Take a listen above, and make sure to like and subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts to keep up with all new episodes of The Opus Season 17. Plus, you can enter to win a Sly and the Family Stone prize pack that includes There’s a Riot Goin On and the Summer of Soul soundtrack on vinyl, along with a brand new Sony sound system.
Fans of the series can also snag an official Opus hoodie or T-shirt at the Consequence Shop or via the buy-now buttons below. In celebration of the new season, both items are on sale for 25% off! Use the code OPUS25.
Original music by Tony Piazza.