Note: I wanted to post something to test out the blog, so I am re-posting this note that I originally published on Facebook in 2008.
My good friend and college classmate Cheryl asked the Facebook universe if it was true that Sly Stone had dated Doris Day, and that contention over this played a role in the bust-up of the Graham/Sly partnership in Sly and the Family Stone. Just a quick answer to Cheryl’s question about these items. So far, I have only been able to get my hands on one source, but here it is. This info is from Jeff Kaliss, I Want to Take You Higher: The Life and Times of Sly and the Family Stone 2008.
The cover [Que Sera, Sera”] had been facilitated by Sly’s good-time Hollywood hang partner and Doris’s son, Terry Melcher. The friends didn’t anticipate that they were spawning an urban legend, persisting for decades that Sly Stone had slept with Doris Day.
It was probably a collective projection of sexual fantasies about the perky singer-turned-actress Doris, common among American males of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Today, David Kapralik and Steve Paley are both ready to put the myth to rest. “I was Terry Melcher’s mentor at Columbia [Records- AJ], and we became good friends and remained so through the years,” says David. “I introduced Sly to Terry, and several times Terry joined me at Sly’s recording sessions. I often visited with Terry and Doris at their home in Beverly Hills, and one day I brought Sly with me to hang out with Terry.” Sly was mainly interested in buying one of her cars,” Steve continues. “Sly did go to Doris’s house, but only to see the car in question, and that’s when Terry introduced him to his mother.”
“They had a brief conversation, and then Doris went into the kitchen,” David goes on. “While she was out of the room, Sly went to the piano in the living room and began to play ‘Que Sera, Sera.’ Then Doris came out of the kitchen, on her way elsewhere in the house, and with Sly accompanying her, she sang a few bars of the song.” Steve describes their rendition as “a gospel version,” not unlike its delivery on Fresh. “To the best of my knowledge, that is the first and last time Sly and Doris met,” attests David, “despite the false and scurrilous tabloid reports that appeared subsequently.” “After the song came out, that stupid Sly-Doris Day rumor started,” concludes Steve. “It amused Sly at the time, but irritated Doris. Part of the reason this rumor took hold was because Doris was supposedly having an affair with Maury Wills, a black L.A. Dodgers baseball player,” an item attested to in Wills’s 1991 autobiography. (Kaliss: 115-116)
As for the breakup with Larry Graham, skskks describes friction form the first day between Sly and Graham; insubordination on Graham’s part, insecurity about Graham’s prominence on Sly’s part. The incident he describes as the breaking point was a physical showdown between Sly and Graham’s own posses of “bodyguards” in 1972 in L.A.’s Cavalier Hotel. Graham managed to get out of town, and that was the end of his involvement with the band. (Kaliss: 111-112)Sly Stone