Sly and the Family Stone: Thank you

This tune by Sly and the Family Stone from 1970 marked a turning point in music. The band had played inspirational pop songs in the 1960s, but then after 1970 things got very funky.

“Funky” has many meanings: earthy, soulful, natural, unconventional. But originally it meant stinky, anxious and fearful, without style. Today funk is dance music, but like the word itself, the music carries meaning.

Writing the title “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” instead of “for lettin’ me be myself again” was dark and ironic. The optimism of the 60s was over. Sly and the Family Stone were creating a style with a message that said “We don’t believe you anymore, we’re going to do our own thing.” They had a major impact on everyone from Miles Davis to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Lookin’ at the devil
Grinnin’ at his gun
Fingers start shakin’
I begin to run
Bullets start chasin’
I begin to stop
We begin to wrestle
I was on the top

I want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

Git me by the collar
They struck me in the face
Chit chat chatter tryin’
They shoved me in the place
Thank you for the party
But I could never stay
Many things is on my mind
Words in the way

I want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

Dance to the music
All night long
Everyday people
Sing a simple song
Mama’s so unhappy
Mama starts to cry
Papa’s still singin’
You can make it if you try

I want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin

Flamin’ eyes of people fear
Burnin’ into you
Many men are missin’ much
Hatin’ what they do
Youth and truth are makin’ love
Dig it for a starter
Dyin’ young is hard to take
Sellin’ out is harder

I want to thank you falettinme be mice elf agin


Translations

  • Many things on my mind, words in the way:
    Mir geht viel durch den Kopf, Worte nur im Weg
  • Papa’s still singin’ “You can make it if you try”:
    Pappa singt noch “Du schaffst es wenn du dich anstrengst”
  • Dig it for a starter: dyin’ young is hard to take, sellin’ out is harder:
    Versteh doch: jung zu sterben ist hart, aber die eigenen Träume aufgeben/verraten ist noch härter

learning english with songs  :-)   englischlernen mit liedern

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Anne

Teaching English for business communication skills, writing online for learners, translating, sailing whenever I can, from Washington, D.C.

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