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Rock Hall Anniversary: Sly Stone’s Madison Square Garden Wedding

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A concert and a wedding are usually two different events, and not normally expected to be merged. But in 1974, that is exactly what happened, and it would be one of the most shocking moments in music history.

It was June of that year that Sly Stone married his girlfriend actress/model Kathy Silva, during a Family Stone concert at Madison Square Garden. As it was mentioned in a 2001 VH1 special counting down the most shocking moments in rock ‘n’ roll, the ceremony was presided by Soul Train host Don Cornelius, and the show was attended by over ten thousand people.

Also according to the VH-1 special, the idea to merge the two events began when ticket sales for Sly & the Family Stone’s upcoming show at Madison Square Show were slow. When it was learned that Sly Stone was getting married around the same time, he and the band’s manager decided to merge the two events together, and after an appearance on the Mike Douglas show, ticket sales picked up.

One month after the June 1974 show, Stone, Silva and their son Sylvester Jr. posed together on the cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s next album Small Talk. But marriage bliss was brief, as Silva would file for divorce, after just five months of marriage. Yet, the Sly Stone concert/wedding remains as one of the most surprising moments in the histories of both Madison Square Garden, as well as music in general.

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