Larry Graham was born on August, 14, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas and raised in Oakland, California. By his teens he was adept not only on bass but also guitar, harmonica and drums, and at the age of 15 he began performing with the Dell Graham Trio, his mother's lounge act. While attending college, he served as a supporting musician with the likes of John Lee Hooker, Jackie Wilson and the Drifters.
In 1968, he joined Sly & the Family Stone, the first fully integrated rock band that fused soul, rock, rhythm and blues, psychedelia and funk. The band showcased Graham’s revolutionary pop-and-slap bass guitar and his flamboyant showmanship. In fact, his style was largely responsible for originating the percussive groove which typified the progressive funk sound of the 1970s. Graham can be heard in such classic albums as Stand! and There's a Riot Goin' On, as well as smash singles like "Dance to the Music" and "Everybody Is a Star," both of which prominently feature Graham's cavernous baritone in addition to his enormously influential thumping bass.
In the wake of behind-the-scenes turmoil, Graham exited the group in 1972. After six years the disintegration of the original Family Stone left the door open for Graham to form his own group Graham Central Station. The debut Graham Central album released in 1974, proved highly successful, launching a minor pop hit with "Can You Handle It." Another hit, "Feel the Need," emerged from Release Yourself, issued later that same year. The third GCS LP in 1975 Ain't No Bout-A-Doubt It, yielded the single "Your Love," a Top 40 pop hit which also topped the R&B charts. Mirror followed a year later.
With 1977’s Now Do U Wanta Dance, GCS scored another R&B smash with the title track. After My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me (1978) and Star Walk (1979), the group disbanded. Graham then turned solo, moving from funk to soulful ballads. In 1980, his debut effort One in a Million You, reached the Top 30, the title track becoming a Top Ten hit. 1981's Just Be My Lady yielded another hit with its own title cut, while 1982's Sooner or Later was also successful. However, after 1983's Victory, Graham's career took a downward turn, with 1985's Fired Up released solely in Japan.
Aside from 1987's "If You Need My Love Tonight," a minor hit duet with Aretha Franklin, he was largely out of the public eye in the years to follow, working instead as a songwriter and sideman. By the early '90s, Graham was leading Psychedelic Psoul, a nine-piece band which toured with comedian/singer Eddie Murphy and also toured with the Crusaders. Following Sly and the Family Stone's 1993 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he re-formed Graham Central Station, eventually bringing into the fold former Family Stone bandmates Cynthia Robinson on trumpet and Jerry Martini on saxophone.
Throughout Graham's lean years, one of his most vocal supporters was Prince, who readily acknowledged the influence of GCS not only on his music but also on his flamboyant stage show. By 1997, Graham Central Station was ensconced as the regular supporting act on Prince's extended Jam of the Year tour. This in turn led to sessions at Prince’s Minneapolis Paisley Park Studios which yielded the release of GCS 2000 in 1998.
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