Larry Graham

Larry Graham

Infobox musical artist

Name = Larry Graham
Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Larry Graham, Jr.
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1946|8|14
Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
Died =
Instrument = Bass
Genre = Funk
Occupation = Musician
Years_active = 1967 - Present
Label = Epic
Warner Bros.
Rhino Entertainment
Associated_acts = Sly & the Family Stone
Graham Central Station
URL = []
Notable_instruments = Fender Jazz Bass

Larry Graham, Jr. (born August 14, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas) is an American baritone singer, musician, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as both the bass guitar player in the popular and influential psychedelic soul/funk band Sly & the Family Stone, and as the founder and frontman of Graham Central Station. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass, although he himself refers to the technique as "Thumpin' and Pluckin'."


Graham played bass in the highly successful and influential funk band Sly & the Family Stone from 1967 to 1972. It is said that he pioneered the art of slap-pop playing on the electric bass, in part to provide percussive and rhythmic elements in addition to the notes of the bassline when his mother's band lacked a drummer (*see below); the slap of the thumb being used to emulate a bass drum and the pop of the index or middle finger as a snare drum. This style has become archetypical of modern funk. Slap-pop playing couples a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher strings, often in rhythmic alternation. The slap and pop technique incorporates a large ratio of muted (or 'ghost' tones) to normal notes, which adds to the rhythmic effect.

This "Slap" bass style was later used by such artists as Les Claypool, Bootsy Collins, Louis Johnson, Mark King, Flea, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, John Norwood Fisher, P-Nut, Danny McCormack, Matt Noveskey, Dirk Lance, and Kenny Franklin (of San Mateo).

Upon the Family Stone's disintegration due to lead singer Sly Stone's drug addiction, Graham formed his own band, Graham Central Station. The name is a pun on Grand Central Station, the train station located in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Graham Central Station had several hits in the 1970s, including "Hair."

In the mid-1970s, Larry Graham worked with Betty Davis, the former second wife of jazz legend Miles Davis. Betty Davis' band included members of the Tower of Power horns and the Pointer Sisters, and she recorded three albums to critical acclaim but limited commercial success.

In 1975, Graham became one of Jehovah's Witnesses ["Awake!" magazine, 22 February 1989, p.15] . In the early 1980s, Graham recorded five solo albums and had several solo hits. His biggest hit was "One in a Million, You", which reached number 9 on the Billboard chart in 1980.

He reformed Graham Central Station in the early 1990s and performed with the band for several years during which they released 2 live albums. One was recorded in Japan in 1992 and the other was recorded in London in 1996 (this last one had only 1000 copies printed and was exclusively sold at concerts).

In 1998, he recorded another solo album under the name Graham Central Station. The album, called GCS 2000, was actually a collaboration between Larry Graham & Prince: while Graham wrote all the songs (except for one which was co-written by Prince), the album was co-arranged and co-produced by Prince, and most of the instruments and vocals were recorded by both Graham & Prince. Graham also toured with Prince as his bassist in 1997-2000. He appeared in Prince's 1998 vhs Beautiful Strange and Prince's 1999 dvd Rave un2 the year 2000.

In 2007 he was invited to play in Minneapolis with the reformed Sly & the Family Stone, but declined because he was out of town. He did, however, appear onstage in Minneapolis on July 8th, 2007 with Prince at First Avenue.


with Graham Central Station

* Graham Central Station 1974, Warner Bros.
* Release Yourself 1974, Warner Bros.
* Ain't No 'Bout-A-Doubt It 1975, Warner Bros.
* Mirror 1976, Warner Bros.
* Now Do U Wanta Dance 1977, Warner Bros.
* My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me 1978, WEA
* Star Walk 1979, Warner Bros.
* Live In Japan, 1992
* Live In London, 1996
* The Best of Larry Graham and Graham Central Station, Vol. 1 1996, Warner Bros.
* The Jam: The Larry Graham & Graham Central Station Anthology 2001, Rhino Greatest Hits 2003, Rhino Flashback

Solo Albums

;All Warner Bros. releases.
*1980: "One in a Million You"
*1981: "Just Be My Lady"
*1982: "Sooner or Later"
*1983: "Victory"
*1985: "Fired Up"

;NPG Records release:
*1999: "GCS2000"


External links

* [,,437589,00.html?artist=Larry+Graham A bio from the Ultimate Band List]
* [ Larry Graham Radio Interview With Chris Comer Feb. 23 1999]
* [ "Release Yourself: From Sly Stone's roughhouse to the Artist's clubhouse, groundbreaking bassist Larry Graham finds new power in Minnesota"] City Pages, July 21, 1999


* Bass Player Magazine, May 2007 by Jimmy Leslie p. 31

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