A #1 record on this day in 1971 and #138 on Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs of all time. 40 years later it’s just as fresh and relevant as ever. The beauty of music, particularly music with a message, is that it’s interpretation is subjective — and always timely. Here’s what Sly had to say about the meaning behind the song:

“Well, I’ll tell ya,” Stone said, “they may be trying to tear me apart; I don’t feel it. Song’s not about that. Song’s about a family affair, whether it’s a result of genetic processes or a situation in the environment.”

“You can’t leave, ’cause your heart is there
But you can’t stay, ’cause you been somewhere else
You can’t cry, ’cause you’ll look broke down
But you’re cryin’ anyway ’cause you’re all broke down!
It’s a family affair”

Can you dig it?