Larry Graham
photo from Wikimedia Commons

Larry Graham, Jr. (b. August 14, 1946)  is the originator of the 'slap-funk' bass-playing style that helped to define the genre of funk. He was born in Texas, but raised in Oakland.

Larry began playing music at an early age, and eventually played piano, drums, harmonica, guitar, and bass. In junior high he joined the school band playing drums, which he played through high school at Castlemont High School.

While playing in a local music trio, "The Dell Graham Trio" with his mother, the breakdown of the organ at a nightclub caused him to rent a bass and learn to play it. Then according to his website:

"Larry’s mother decided to change their trio into a duo, just bass and piano. So Larry compensated for not having a bass drum by “thumping” the strings and made up for not having a snare drum by “plucking” them. He wasn’t concerned with playing the so called “correct” over hand style method of playing the bass since this was only temporary until the organ could be repaired. As it turned out, it was beyond repair… and the rest is history!" 1

Larry later played with Sly and the Family Stone. In 1993 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Sly and the Family Stone. He created Graham Central Station. These days he works a lot with Prince. He is a Jehovah's Witness 1 as is Prince. 2

Additional links