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Report: Sly Stone at the Grammys?

Rumors are flying about reclusive musician

Stand
Sly and the Family Stone's "Stand!" is one of the landmark albums in pop music history.

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(CNN) -- According to a press release from the Grammy Awards, there's going to be a special tribute to Sly and the Family Stone at the February 8 awards.

And according to a report in Friday's Washington Post, the tribute may include the reclusive Sly Stone himself, along with the original band members.

Ron Roecker, a spokesman for the Recording Academy -- the organization that oversees the Grammys -- wouldn't confirm for the Post that the reunion is on the Grammy-night schedule. "The facts are what we put in the press release," Roecker said. "As far as anything else, it's all just rumor. But we do believe that he is attending the Grammy Awards."

He added: "It seems like the right time for him. We're thrilled that we'll be able to do this."

The Post could not reach either Stone's manager, Jerry Goldstein, or Stone himself for comment. Stone, born Sylvester Stewart, hasn't spoken to the press in about 20 years.

However, sources told the Post that rehearsals are scheduled to begin next week -- though nobody was willing to say how things would pan out.

Sly and the Family Stone, one of the most influential bands in pop music history, broke up in the mid-'70s after several years of coping with drug problems and its leader's erratic behavior. Stone became known as much for missing concerts and poor behavior as he was for his groundbreaking combination of rock, soul, psychedelia and funk, exemplified in songs such as "Stand!," "Dance to the Music," "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and "Family Affair."

"I heard 'Stand!,' and it was like: Man, forget it! That band was perfect. And Sly was like all the Beatles and all of Motown in one. He was the baddest thing around," funk legend George Clinton told the Post.

Motown copied Stone -- the Temptations' 1969-70 hits, such as "I Can't Get Next to You" and "Ball of Confusion," are obviously influenced by him -- and his sound can be heard today in everyone from Lenny Kravitz to Michael Jackson.

Will he be at the Grammys? That's still anyone's guess.

"I don't think Sly has been hurting from his underground status -- I think he likes the mystique," Rickey Vincent, author of "Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One" and host of a funk radio show in the San Francisco Bay area, told the Post. "But it would be nice to see him make a triumphant return."

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