Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Larry Graham, Jr. (born 14 August, 1946 in Beaumont, Texas) is an African-American 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 instrument. He invented this technique to fill the gap when his band was lacking a drummer.
Although bassplayers for decades, indeed into antiquity, had been "slapping" their basses with their thumbs using a rotation of the wrist, Larry Graham pioneered the art of slap-POP playing on the electric bass guitar. The slap-pop style, archetypical of modern funk, couples a percussive thumb-slapping technique of the lower strings with an aggressive finger-snap of the higher strings, often in rhythmic alternation. So-called "Machine-gun bass" (As exemplified by Mark King, Flea, Stanley Clarke, P-Nut, Dirk Lance, Norwood Fisher, relies on the slap-pop technique, incorporating a large ratio of mute/ghost tones to normal tones.
Graham played bass in the highly successful and influential funk band Sly & the Family Stone from 1967 to 1972. Upon the band's disintegration due to lead singer Sly Stone's drug addiction, Graham formed his own band, Graham Central Station. The name is a pun of "Grand Central Station", a famous train station located in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Graham Central Station had several hits in the 1970s, including "Hair."
He recorded another album in the late 1990s, with a new band using the Graham Central Station name. Two of the new Grand Central Station members were former Family Stone bandmates Cynthia Robinson and Jerry Martini. He also toured with Prince and his band as his bassist in 2000.
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