Larry Graham

Born: August 14, 1946                           Beaumont, Texas

Larry Graham was born in Beaumont, Texas.  Both of his parents were accomplished musicians.  He pioneered the art of slap-pop playing on the electric bass to provide percussive and rhythmic elements in addition to the notes of the bass line when his mother decided she would no longer include a drummer in her band.  The slap of the thumb was used to emulate a bass drum and the pop of the index or middle finger a snare drum. This style has become archetypal of modern funk.
 
Graham played bass in the highly successful and influential funk band Sly and the Family Stone from 1966 to 1972, exposing the world to his slap-pop playing technique. In the wake of behind-the-scenes turmoil, Graham exited Sly and the Family Stone in 1972 and formed Graham Central Station. His debut album in 1974 launched the pop hit "Can You Handle It?" and "Feel the Need" emerged later that same year. In 1975 "Your Love" reached the Top 40, followed by "Now Do U Wanta Dance" (1977), "My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me" (1978), and "Star Walk" (1979). Prince readily acknowledged the influence of Graham on his music and his flamboyant stage show. Larry Graham was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Sly and the Family Stone in 1993 and is also a member of the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Music Hall of Fame.  

Graham Central Station performs "Can You Handle It?"
Tex Ritter Portrait