Sly & The Family Stone – Everybody Is A Star

I’ve always liked Sly Stone’s music…most of the radio hits were positive like this one and Everyday People. He was huge during his heyday but has been neglected since.

This was released as a double-A-side single with “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).” The single peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1970, the chart position is attributed to both songs combined.

All together Sly Stone put 17 songs in the Billboard 100, 5 top 10 hits and 3 number 1 songs all between 1968 and 1975.

From Songfacts

This song is about how everyone is equal and how people try to change themselves to be what the media wants them to be. For black individuals, it can be about how we try to change ourselves to “act white” but in the end the system brings us down, yet we bring ourselves back up with the help of our people. 

Like many Sly & the Family Stone songs of this era – “Everyday People” and “Stand!” among them – “Everybody Is A Star” has a message of togetherness and self-worth. These songs were set against joyful melodies that kept them from sounding preachy. They went over very well at live shows where a sense of community formed.

The nonsense chorus (“ba pa-pa-pa ba…”) actually makes a lot of sense – it’s about the power of music, which can speak without words. In this case, the rhythmic syllables play against horn lines in a very similar fashion to Otis Redding’s 1966 track “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).”

Everybody Is A Star

Everybody is a star
Who the rain, chase the dust away
Everybody wants to shine
Ooh, come out on a cloudy day
‘Til the sun that loves you proud
When the system tries to bring you down
Every hand to shine tonight
You don’t need darkness to do what you think is right, hee hee

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh,

Everybody is a star
I can feel it when you shine on me
I love you for who you are
Not the one you feel you need to be
Ever catch a falling star
Ain’t no stopping ’til it’s in the ground
Everybody is a star
One big circle going round and round

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, shine, shine, shine, shine

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, shine, shine, shine, shine

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

Ba pa-pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba pa-pa ba ba ba,
Ba-pa ba-pa ba ba, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh