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Larry Graham



Born:     August 14, 1946

Birthplace:    Beaumont, TX  

Zodiac Sign:  Leo

Larry Graham Jr. is an American bassist and singer, both with the psychedelic soul/funk band Sly and the Family Stone and as the founder and front-man of Graham Central Station. In 1980, he released the single "One in a Million You," which reached the top ten on the US Billboard Hot 100. He is credited with the invention of the slapping technique on the electric bass guitar, which radically expanded the tonal palette of the bass. However, he refers to the method as "thumping and plucking . " 


In 1993, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Sly and the Family Stone member.

Born in Beaumont, Texas, to successful musicians, Graham played bass in the funk band Sly and 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 bass line when his mother decided to no longer have a drummer in her band, while Graham also admits in a BBC documentary on funk music that he is unsure if it was done on economic grounds; 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 archetypal of modern funk. Slap-pop plays couples a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher lines, often in rhythmic alternation. The slap and pop technique incorporates a large ratio of muted or "dead" notes to everyday notes, which adds to the rhythmic effect.

Such artists later used this "slap" bass style as Bootsy Collins (P-Funk), Les Claypool (Primus), Bernard Edwards (Chic), Louis Johnson, Mark King, Keni Burke, Victor Wooten, Kim Clarke of Defunkt, Marcus Miller, and Stanley Clarke.


After Sly and the Family Stone, Graham formed his band, Graham Central Station. The name is a pun on Grand Central Station, the train station located in Manhattan, 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 second ex-wife of jazz musician 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. Eventually, he was credited with introducing Prince to the faith. In the early 1980s, Graham recorded five solo albums and had several solo hits on the R&B chart. His most significant impact was "One in a Million You," a crossover hit that reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980.


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

In 1998, he recorded a solo album Graham Central Station GCS 2000. It was a collaboration between Larry Graham and Prince. While Graham wrote all the songs, except one 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 and Prince. Graham also played bass on tours with Prince from 1997 to 2000. He appeared in Prince's 1998 VHS Beautiful Strange and 1999 DVD Rave Un2 the Year 2000. He has since appeared with Prince at various international venues.


Graham is the father of singer-songwriter and producer Darric Graham. He is also brothers with Dennis Graham, making Larry Graham the uncle of Canadian rapper and actor Drake.


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