On this day in 1946, Greg Errico, drummer for the psychedelic soul and funk band Sly & The Family Stone, was born in San Francisco, California.

In addition to Family Stone, Errico has performed/recorded with David Bowie, Santana, The Grateful Dead, Betty Davis, Weather Report, The Jerry Garcia Band, and many others.

Errico’s monstro groove and pared-down pulse helped make him a pioneer in the funk, jazz, and psychedelic sound worlds.

As Bob Doerschuk described Errico’s influence in “The 10 Best Rhythm Sections Of All Time”:

[Errico’s] dramatic snare rolls in “Dynamite” (1968) interrupt rather than enhance the groove. … He does start “Stand!” with a massive roll but only to set up the initial punch of the beat. His only elaboration comes when he opens his hi-hat for each chorus, pounding it on the 2 and 4 or on all four beats before snapping it shut as the verse returns. [Bassist Larry] Graham, meanwhile, does little throbs the tonic note on the and between all four beats. It can’t get simpler—or more irresistible—than that.

For more than five minutes they mercilessly drove the beat on “I Want To Take You Higher,” with Errico again adding a few open hi-hat hits while Graham prowled restlessly around the root of the chord. In 1970 he blew countless bassists’ minds with his pioneering string pops on “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” forever changing how his instrument would be used, especially in funk, and making a clear case for being one-half of the most influential rhythm sections of any era.

Enjoy the following Sly & The Family Stone essentials, including “Dance To The Music” (above).

“Sing a Simple Song”

“You Can Make It If You Try”


“Everyday People”