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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Underplayed Vinyl: Jefferson Airplane

For the longest time, perhaps into the early 1980s, I thought Surrealistic Pillow was the first JA album. Not so; Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, with Signe Anderson as the female vocalist, got all the way to #128 in the Billboard charts in late 1966. But it was the second album, with Grace Slick, formerly of the group The Great Society, that created the required alchemy. Here's a bunch of YouTube clips - some are performance videos, others pastiches.
1. She Has Funny Cars

2. Somebody To Love (a #5 single in 1967)
3. My Best Friend
4. Today
5. Comin' Back To Me
6. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
7. D.C.B.A.
8. How Do You Feel
9. Embryonic Journey (used on the last episode of Friends, I understand)
10. White Rabbit - went to #8 on the charts

11. Plastic Fantastic Lover

The album went to #3 and spent 56 weeks on the charts. I always thought the strength of this album, and of the group generally, was the strength of the various vocalists/songwriters: Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen.

Grace Slick turns 58 today.


Anonymous said...

Did Mark d'Atillo ever play with the early Jefferson Airplane...
He passed away in 1967 but stories about him say he did
Michael Balarama

Roger Green said...

Michael- Don't know. Does anyone out there?

BTW, the usually reliable Joel Whitburn Billboard books ( have left Signe Anderson off the list of JA members. She sang on the original album, The Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. They'll correct this in future editions.

Also, a weird thing: I was listening to We Can Be Together, the first track on the compilation CD 2400 Fulton, playing it on iTunes. It goes: "Up against the wall, mf. Tear down..." then just stopped. It played OK on Windows media. It was as though the iTunes player was censoring what I was listening to. Bizarre.