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lunch998
07-03-2005, 12:58 AM
Jefferson Airplane

Band (by 1967):
Jorma Kaukonen – Guitar
Grace Slick – Vocals
Marty Balin – Vocals
Paul Kantner – Vocals/Guitar
Jack Casady – Bass
Spencer Dryden – Drums

Ok, so Jefferson Airplane isn’t exactly an obscure classic rock band to start off my series, but they run deeper than commonly perceived and I felt it important to show that. You’ve most likely heard of them, or at least heard of their psychedelic masterpiece Surrealistic Pillow . While the band is a famous classic rock name for this album alone, the Airplane’s other contributions to music are often unnoticed and their national importance is generally underrated.

Jefferson Airplane formed in San Francisco in the mid 1960’s. In 1965 the band found itself playing in the local club scene amongst the many folk rock acts of the time, including The Byrds and Bob Dylan. Their style sparked interest from numerous record companies, but the band was hindered by personnel difficulties. Then drummer Skip Spence became a liability as his interest in drugs continually mounted (after being fired from the Airplane, Spence would later form the psychedelic San Francisco act Moby Grape). He was replaced by studio drummer Spencer Dryden who fit well with the band.

Shortly after this, Jefferson Airplane released their first LP, title Jefferson Airplane Takes Off . This album was recorded with original female vocalist Signe Anderson, who left shortly after because of family commitments. Grace Slick soon joined the band after her band The Great Society broke up around the same time. The album itself is an early document of the Airplane’s more folk-influenced sound, which would soon change with Slick singing. It is a solid debut album that laid the ground work for their later recordings.

The band wasted little time getting back in the studio after releasing this album. Through the fall the group recorded Surrealistic Pillow , the album they would become nationally recognized for. Released in February 1967, the psychedelic sound of this album was one of the first of its kind. Grace Slick also brought along her two best compositions in Somebody to Love and White Rabbit , which are probably Jefferson Airplane’s two biggest songs, and both of which did very well as singles. The album is great the whole way through, and (along with Grace Slick’s stunning looks) was the reason why the band gained fame all throughout the country. By July of that year, the album had gone gold.

The Airplane continued to tour, now attracting much larger audiences and playing much larger venues. In June 1967, the band played at the Monterey Pop Festival along many other psychedelic acts and bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Who. After undergoing a change somewhat in sound (the band moved away from the radio friendly tracks of Surrealistic Pillow and into more experimental suites) and recording, their third album was released in November of that year. After Bathing at Baxter’s expanded on the groups sound, but produced no radio hits and did not sell as well as their previous album. After struggling to find success in their next few singles, the group strayed away from their experimental recordings and produced more AM-friendly tunes on their next record, The Crown of Creation . The songs were much more concise and sparked resurgence in the band’s commercial success, eventually going gold.

By this point after the constant touring and shows, the Airplane decided to document their live sound and keep momentum going throughout the year. Their live album was titled Bless It’s Pointed Little Head and was a very strong document of the group’s sound that sold well. It also was the jump start of 1969 for the band, a year that would be their arguable climax. As you might have guessed by now, the Airplane performed at the Woodstock Festival in August of that year, along with countless other major classic rock groups. The group went to work recording their sixth album and the last of the decade, which would be Volunteers . Released in October 1969, this album is probably their strongest after Surrealistic Pillow .

Volunteers showed the group’s most mature efforts yet, far removed from the radio psychedelia or the experimental After Bathing at Baxter’s . The title track became a decent radio hit and remains to this day a gem of the 60’s generation, seemingly summing it up in two minutes. The album also features the excellent compositions Wooden Ships, Eskimo Blue Day, and Hey Frederick , all of which run strong at over six minutes. Kantner’s songwriting is excellent on this album, and Casady shines as he works between Kaukonen and Dryden almost flawlessly.

After this album, the band began to drift apart. Kaukonen and Casady were already working on their side project, a group titled Hot Tuna. Spencer Dryden was growing tired of the group, and was fired in 1970. The group released a compilation, titled The Worst of Jefferson Airplane in the same year. In August 1971 the band released Bark , which is generally seen as their most underrated album. However, it does not capture the magic they had in their late 60’s years. As band members became increasingly separated by side projects, they followed it up with Long John Silver in 1972. The group went out with a harder and heavier album than all their previous work.

After this, various live albums and compilations were released of the band in their prime years. And of course, Jefferson Starship and other side projects were formed and continued. While some material these have produced is unfortunate, it should not stain what the group did for music in the late 60’s era. They were incredibly influential in brining the San Francisco music scene to the front of national attention. While the Grateful Dead soon emerged after the Airplane and became the biggest band of the scene, Jefferson Airplane’s contributions were clearly felt in countless bands that emerged in psychedelia after Surrealistic Pillow . However the point of this article was largely to prove that the Airplane did more than that album alone. They were not a one-dimensional psychedelic band who died out with the 60’s; they’ve produced music that can stand up even to this day, and though they did not produce much, they certainly left their mark in classic rock.

Discography:
Jefferson Airplane Takes Off – 1966
Surrealistic Pillow - 1967
After Bathing At Baxter’s – 1967
Crown of Creation – 1968
Bless it’s Pointed Little Head - 1969
Volunteers – 1969
Bark – 1971
Long John Silver – 1972

Downloads:
Somebody to Love (http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2GP6CEMXNGP1W2VFLP6IU6XGDW)
White Rabbit (http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0DEMHPKCAV8CY3GB5IPBP9T7JO)
She Has Funny Cars (http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1AORUQ10V62S73GN4KKGWGAPNX)
We Can Be Together (http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3EJUTM6QQV9CD1KL9VZPB7GOSX )
Good Shepherd (http://s39.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=0K8J2Y8JI39LU39G7UCBOT5UZM)
Wooden Ships (http://s42.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2LZG9AZ6Y49I52C2CLABB74X83)
Volunteers (http://s39.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=3KCASLC7AVG3X1ICUOYKHAKIRY )

heavy metal kid
07-03-2005, 01:02 AM
of all the band introduction thread series, your thread name is the most original.

I think i have some LP's of Jefferson Airplane here.
Pretty awesome band, for what i heard.
Good Job.

lunch998
07-03-2005, 01:04 AM
of all the band introduction thread series, your thread name is the most original.

I think i have some LP's of Jefferson Airplane here.
Pretty awesome band, for what i heard.
Good Job.

I didn't even make that part up, that was Dr. Jake Destructo's idea...but thanks anyway.

Steerpike
07-03-2005, 01:05 AM
Well done, Lunch. I'll be working on those downloads soon.

Sadly, thinking of Jefferson Airplane causes me to think of Jefferson Starship which causes me to think of the Star Wars Holiday Special. I'm going to have wipe that from my mind.

RCA
07-03-2005, 01:08 AM
Great thread man! I've never heard anything by JA, but I will now. :thumb:

thickasabrick
07-03-2005, 01:27 AM
Way to go Lunch. I'm a Jefferson Airplane fan, not so much a Jefferson Starship fan. I personally think there are much better tracks on Surrealistic Pillow than Somebody to Love. My band can do a pretty cool rendition of White Rabbit. They were a great band.

Det_Nosnip
07-03-2005, 01:29 AM
J. Airplane were great! I especially love the song "Today." The rest of Surrealistic Pillow aside from "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" is very underappreciated, iMO.

Apocalyptic Raids
07-03-2005, 01:35 AM
:lol: at thread title.

Nice write up.

I still have to get the rest of the uploads from Steerpike's thread too. :(

Glitterati
07-03-2005, 02:14 AM
I love you lunch. One of my all-time favorite bands, and you did them justice.

Mad kudos.

lunch998
07-03-2005, 03:13 PM
J. Airplane were great! I especially love the song "Today." The rest of Surrealistic Pillow aside from "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" is very underappreciated, iMO.

Agreed, I was just trying to give being who weren't familiar with the band their basic material first.

But I still like Somebody to Love and White Rabbit.

Dried Muffin Remnants
07-03-2005, 03:17 PM
My parents are huge 'acid rock' fans. They said they never called it that, but their parents did.

Oh yes, and very clever title.

Dr. Jake Destructo
07-03-2005, 03:34 PM
Wow man, you sure did do that quick! Great content as well. It's nice to see so many people pitching in with these great threads to make up for the influx of n00bs nowadays. Oh, and thanks for giving me credit on the name. :cool:

13% on Somebody To Love.

lunch998
07-03-2005, 03:36 PM
Your name>my thread.

IAJP
07-03-2005, 03:45 PM
Volunteers is my favourite Jefferson Airplane song.
I'm a huge fan of these guys and always have been :D.


Darn, your thread name blows mine out the water, I'm gonna be thinking of a witty thread title for my future ones... :p

Jude
07-03-2005, 04:58 PM
Embryonic Journey = Sex.

Walrus Gumboot
07-03-2005, 05:54 PM
This thread title made me laugh more than the name of a topic on an Internet forum ever should do. :upset:

123

That was really interesting, Lunch, I look forward to further installments :thumb:

metal sh*t
04-10-2006, 05:03 PM
Superb band mate.

JonG
04-10-2006, 05:24 PM
Really good band, I have 4 of their albums.

Good ol' San Francisco bands.

Lunch
04-10-2006, 09:25 PM
Whoa, random bump. Thanks guys.

Volunteers (the song) is absolutely amazing. I can't think of anything else thaqt sums up a whole decade with so much power in such little time.

pigonthewing82
04-10-2006, 09:33 PM
Whoa, random bump. Thanks guys.

Volunteers (the song) is absolutely amazing. I can't think of anything else thaqt sums up a whole decade with so much power in such little time.

Thats the song that really got my into Jefferson Airplane.

Does anybody know any good live albums by them. I have a 3 or 4 song extention of their preformance at Woodstock and its great I would love to hear more live stuff from the group.

Lunch
04-10-2006, 09:49 PM
Their album Bless Its Pointed Little Head is live, although I've not heard it yet. The live bonus cuts at the end of the Volunteers remastered CD are pretty solid, so I might check out BIPLH soon.

pigonthewing82
04-10-2006, 10:09 PM
Their album Bless Its Pointed Little Head is live, although I've not heard it yet. The live bonus cuts at the end of the Volunteers remastered CD are pretty solid, so I might check out BIPLH soon.

Thanks I'll have to pick it up. God the last thing I needed was cd to add to my LONG list of cds to pick up.

Funny story about Jefferson Airplane my dad told me. He said Grace Slick went to a very good collage and they were having some kind of gathering at the White House. They were going to get to meet Nixon before he went on air for a press confrernce. Grace Slick was going to try to tab Nixon's drink with LSD before he went on. Unfortuently she was never able to get near his drink, but if there was live footage of Nixion tripping there would be no need for TV after that point as nothing could ever beat that.

King B
04-10-2006, 11:52 PM
I loved hearing about when they played in germany and grace totally ranted about WW2 and the holocaust being their fault. That's pretty fuckin rad to piss off a huge crowd of germans like that.