Jefferson Airplane & Family


Lyrics available on MusicGraffiti website:
Takes Off,
Surrealistic Pillow, After Bathing At Baxter's, Crown Of Creation, Bless Its Pointed Little Head, VolunteersBark, Long John Silver / Blows against the Empire, Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun, Sunfighter, Manhole, Quah


The group led by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and Marty Balin was the standard-bearer of alternative rock style "West Coast", starting from their first album Takes Off (1966) and the the participation at the first rock festivals, with the apex at Woodstock in 1969. The Californian group has been able to combine experimentation, tradition, protest and opposition to the logic of the market, with great success, especially in the United States. Formed around Kantner and Balin, with the significant alliance of the duo of virtuoso guitar and electric bass Kaukonen and Casady, keepers of the blues tradition, and supported by drummer Spencer Dryden, a lover of country roots, the Jefferson Airplane have been focused on a front-woman, that in the first album was the singer of Scandinavian origin Signe Anderson. The still valid Anderson, however, was replaced since the second album by singer, pianist and composer Grace Slick, who was also of foreign origin (Finland) and already in force to another group, the Great Society. She had everything: beauty, power of voice, musical ability, stage presence, free-spirited and rebellious.

Already in February 1967, a crucial year for the world of music, Slick signed one of the classics of the group, White Rabbitt, inserted into the second album Surrealistic Pillow, which also contained their first smash-hit, Somebody To Love (composed by Slick, too) which made them the number 1 in the "summer of love" hippie and psychedelic of San Francisco that year. Grace Slick became then the companion of Kantner and they formed one of the two musical poles of the group (the other was formed by Kaukonen and Casady, Balin soon passed to a lateral position).
In 1969 another landmark album, Volunteers, but especially the extent and involvement of the group to became a true extended musical family, involving all the main musdicians of the Californian scene, from David Crosby to The Quicksilver Messenger Service, Gerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, and The Jefferson Airplane interpreted some of the best songs of Crosby, like Wooden Ships and Triad.

Typical album of this phase are the absolute masterpiece of Crosby "If I Could Only Remember My Name" and the album came out in 1973 on behalf of Kantner, Slick, and Freiberg of Quicksilver, "Baron Von Toolbooth & The Chrome Nun". It's also remarkable the disc dedicated by the two leaders to their newborn daughter, China: "Sunfighter."
The experimental phase culminated in 1970 with "Blows Against Empire" in which the airplane became definitely a spaceship (from Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship), producing other good jobs but that was the prelude to the separation, with Kaukonen and Casady embracing the root electric blues with their Hot Tuna band and the remaining Jeffersons around Kantner, Slick and Balin starting a new life as a very successful group of rock FM USA, with the new name Jefferson Starship.
During the 80s Grace Slick left the group, put out of action by the excesses of his youthful years, and came to an end the most creative phase of one of the most interesting and inovative band of American rock music.


Essential Discography


Takes Off (1966)
Surrealistic Pillow (1967, febbraio)
After Bathing At Baxter's (1967, dicembre)
Crown Of Creation (1968)
Bless Its Pointed Little Head (live, 1969)
Volunteers (1969)
Blows against the Empire, (1970) - Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship
Bark (1970)
The Worst Of  Jefferson Airplane (anthology, 1970)
Sunfighter (1971) - Paul Kantner & Grace Slick
Long John Silver (1972)
Thirty Seconds Over Winterland (live, 1973)
Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun (1973) - Kantner, Slick, Freiberg
Manhole (1974) - Grace Slick
Quah (1974) - Jorma Kaukonen

See also: Complete Discography


Alberto Maurizio Truffi. Contact / Music-Graffiti 2013