The Pop Song Pantheon, Vol. 14
"If You Want Me to Stay" by Sly and the Family Stone (1973)
A few years removed from the Family Stone's hit parade pinnacle, this is, in my mind, Sly's greatest vocal performance: understated, growly, unapologetic. He rides a slow groove into the night, offering an assertive statement about the brash inflexibility of his character. Want him to stay? Well, gotta put up with the man's business. Deliciously funky and indispensable.