At this concert they were supported by a local folk-rock group, the Great Societywhich featured Grace Slick as lead singer and it was here that Kantner met Slick for the first time.
On December 10,the Airplane played at the first Bill Graham-promoted show at the Fillmore Auditorium, supported by the Great Society and others. Dryden had previously played with a Los Angeles group called the Ashes, who later became the Peanut Butter Conspiracy. Original manager Matthew Katz was fired in August, sparking a long-running legal battle that continued untiland Balin's friend and roommate Bill Thompson was installed as road manager and temporary band manager.
It was Thompson, a friend and staunch supporter of the band and a former Chronicle staffer, who had convinced reviewers Ralph Gleason and John Wasserman to see the band at the Longshoreman's Hall. The folk-music-influenced album included John D. Despite the fact that the group had neither performed outside the Bay Area nor appeared on TV, the album garnered considerable attention in the United States and sold well enough to earn a gold record award.
RCA Victor initially pressed only 15, copies, but it sold more than 10, in San Francisco alone, prompting the label to reprint it. For the re-pressing, the company deleted "Runnin' Round This World" which had appeared on early mono pressingsbecause executives objected to the word "trip" in the lyrics.
Signe Anderson gave birth to her daughter in May and in October she announced her departure from the band. Her final performance with the Airplane took place at the Fillmore on October 15, The following night, Anderson's replacement Grace Slick made her first appearance. Slick was already well known to the band—she had attended the Airplane's debut gig at the Matrix in and her previous group, the Great Society, had often supported the Airplane in concert.
Slick's recruitment proved pivotal to the Airplane's commercial breakthrough—she possessed a powerful and supple contralto voice that complemented Balin's and was well-suited to the group's amplified psychedelic music, and, a former model, her good looks and stage presence greatly enhanced the group's live impact. The first album Slick recorded with Jefferson Airplane was Surrealistic Pillowand Slick provided two songs from her previous group: her own " White Rabbit " and "Somebody to Love", written by her brother-in-law Darby Slick.
Both songs became breakout successes for Jefferson Airplane and have ever since been associated with that band. It reportedly took more than 50 takes to achieve a satisfactory rendition. The Great Society decided to split up in late and played its last show on September In DecemberJefferson Airplane was featured in a Newsweek article about the booming San Francisco music scene, one of the first in a welter of similar media reports that prompted a massive influx of young people to the city and contributed to the commercialization of the hippie culture.
Around the beginning of Bill Graham Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (CD over from Bill Thompson as manager. In January the group made their first visit to the East Coast.
During this period the band gained their first international recognition when rising British pop star Donovanwho saw them during his stint on the U. Released in Februarythe LP entered the Billboard album chart on March 25 and remained there for over a year, peaking at No.
It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. A reminder of their earlier folk incarnation was Kaukonen's solo acoustic guitar tour de force" Embryonic Journey " his first compositionwhich referenced contemporary acoustic guitar masters such as John Fahey and helped to establish the popular genre exemplified by acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke. The first single from the album, Spence's "My Best Friend", failed to chart, but the next two singles rocketed the group to prominence.
By late the Airplane were national and international stars and had become one of the hottest groups in America. Grace Slick biographer Barbara Rowes called the album "a declaration of independence from the establishment [-] What Airplane originated was a romanticism for the electronic age.
Unlike the highly homogenized harmonies of the Beach BoysAirplane never strived for a synthesis of its divergent sensibilities. Through [-] each song, there remain strains of the individual styles of the musicians [creating] unusual breadth and original interplay within each structure". This phase of the Airplane's career peaked with their famous performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June Monterey showcased leading bands from several major music "scenes" including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the United Kingdom, and the resulting TV and film coverage gave national and international exposure to groups that had previously had only regional fame.
Two songs from the Airplane's set were subsequently included in the D. Pennebaker film documentary of the event. The Airplane's famous appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour performing "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" was videotaped in color and augmented by developments in video techniques.
It has been frequently re-screened and is notable for its pioneering use of the Chroma key process to simulate the Airplane's psychedelic light show. After Surrealistic Pillowthe group's music underwent a significant transformation.
Key influences on the group's new direction were the popularity and success of Jimi Hendrix and the British supergroup Creamwhich prompted the Airplane like many other groups to adopt a "heavier" sound and to place a greater emphasis on improvisation.
Its famous cover, drawn by renowned artist and cartoonist Ron Cobbdepicts a Heath Robinson -inspired flying machine constructed around an idealised version of a typical Haight-Ashbury district house soaring above the chaos of American commercial culture. Recorded over a period of more than four months, with little input from nominal producer Al Schmittthe new album demonstrated the group's growing engagement with psychedelic rock.
Baxter's also marked the ascendency of Kantner and Slick as the band's chief composers and the concurrent decline in the influence and involvement of founder Marty Balin.
The other members, gravitating toward a harder-edged style, openly criticized Balin for his ballad-oriented compositions. Balin was also reportedly becoming increasingly disenchanted with the "star trips" and inflated egos generated by the band's runaway commercial success. Baxter's also marked the end of the Airplane's brief run of success on the singles chart. Both singles reached the Top 40 in Cash Box.
None of the band's subsequent singles reached the Billboard Top 40 and several failed to chart at all. AM Top 40 radio became wary of a group that had scored a hit with a song that contained thinly veiled drug references and whose singles were often deemed too controversial, so Jefferson Airplane never again enjoyed the kind of widespread AM radio support that served as a prerequisite for Top Ten hits. Bill Laudner was hired as road manager. In mid, the group was photographed for a Life magazine story on "The New Rock", appearing on the cover of the June 28, edition.
They undertook their first major tour of Europe in August—Septemberplaying alongside the Doors in the NetherlandsEnglandGermanyand Sweden. As the group played faster and faster, Morrison spun around wildly until he finally fell senseless on the stage at Marty Balin's feet. Morrison was unable to perform his set with the Doors and was hospitalized while keyboardist Ray Manzarek Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (CD forced to sing all the vocals.
Grace Slick's " Lather ", which opens the album, is said to be about her affair with drummer Spencer Dryden and his 30th birthday. The Airplane's appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the fall of that year caused a minor stir when Grace Slick appeared in blackface she claimed she simply wanted to wear all the makeup she saw in her dressing room and raised her fist in the Black Panther Party 's salute after singing "Crown of Creation".
It was filmed for D. Pennebaker movie 1 PM. The concert was stopped by the police just like the Beatles ' famous rooftop concert about two months later, as depicted in the documentary Let It Be. It became the Airplane's fourth Top 20 album, peaking at No. Hot Tuna began during a break in Jefferson Airplane's touring schedule in early while Grace Slick recovered from throat node surgery that left her unable to perform.
In addition, Casady and Kaukonen played as a duo under the moniker with Kaukonen on acoustic guitar and Casady on electric bass.
From October to NovemberHot Tuna also including Balin and, following Kantner's departure, a dedicated rhythm guitarist in their electric performances until November performed as the opening act to Jefferson Airplane with a combination of both electric and acoustic sets.
In Aprilsessions began for their next album, Volunteersusing new track facilities at the Wally Heider Studio in San Francisco. This proved to be the last album by the "classic" lineup of the group. The album's release was delayed when the band ran into conflict with their label over the content of songs such as "We Can Be Together" and the planned title of the album, Volunteers of Amerika. A few days after the band headlined at a free concert in New York's Central Park in Augustthey performed in what Grace Slick characterized as the "morning maniac music" slot at the Woodstock Festivalfor which the group was joined by noted British session keyboard player Nicky Hopkins.
When interviewed about Woodstock by Jeff Tamarkin inPaul Kantner still recalled it with fondness, whereas Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden had less than rosy memories. Immediately after their Woodstock performance, the band appeared on The Dick Cavett Show and played a few songs.
It was their most political venture, showcasing the group's vocal opposition to the Vietnam War and documenting their reaction to the changing political atmosphere in the United States. RCA raised objections to the phrase "up against the wall, motherfucker" in the lyrics of Kantner's "We Can Be Together", but the group managed to prevent it from being censored on the album, pointing out that RCA had already allowed the offending word to be included on the cast album of the rock musical Hair.
In addition, the song had the line "in order to survive, we steal, cheat, lie, forge, fuck, hide, and deal", which was also kept on the album and which they sang on broadcast TV during their Dick Cavett appearance.
For the single versions of "We Can Be Together," "motherfucker" was changed to a long, drawn out "Ma," and "fuck" was changed to "fred. In SeptemberKaukonen and Casady played a week of acoustic-based concerts at the New Orleans House in Berkeley, Californiaas Hot Tuna; recordings culled from this engagement were released as the band's eponymous debut album in This initial Hot Tuna album was remarkably successful, reaching No.
Over the next two years, the various configurations of Hot Tuna began to occupy more and more of Casady's and Kaukonen's time, contributing to the growing divisions within Jefferson Airplane that came to a head in Following the Grateful Dead's withdrawal from the program,  they became the only band to perform at all three of the iconic rock festivals of the s—Altamont, Monterey Popand Woodstock.
Headlined by The Rolling Stonesthe concert was marred by violence. Marty Balin was knocked out during a scuffle with Hells Angels members who had been hired to act as "security. This incident was the centerpiece of the documentary film Gimme Shelter.
Spencer Dryden was dismissed from the band in February by a unanimous vote of the other members. It looked more like sepia-toned Hieronymus Bosch. Dryden was replaced by Hot Tuna drummer Joey Covington, who had already contributed additional percussion to Volunteers and performed select engagements with the Airplane as a touring second drummer in Later that year, the band was further augmented by the addition of veteran jazz violinist Papa John Creacha friend of Covington who officially joined Hot Tuna and Jefferson Airplane for their fall tour in October Slick's "Mexico" was an attack on President Richard Nixon 's Operation Interceptwhich had been implemented to curtail the flow of marijuana into the United States.
Blows Against the Empire peaked at No. Jefferson Airplane ended with their traditional Thanksgiving Day engagement at the Fillmore East marking the final performances of the short-lived Creach-era septet and the release of their first compilation album, The Worst of Jefferson Airplanewhich continued their unbroken run of post chart success, reaching No.
In AprilMarty Balin officially left Jefferson Airplane after disassociating himself from the group following the fall tour. Following the traumatic death of Janis Joplin, he began to pursue a healthier lifestyle; Balin's study of yoga and abstention from drugs and alcohol further distanced him from the other members of the group, whose drug intake continued unabated.
On May 13,Grace Slick was injured in a near-fatal automobile crash when her car slammed into a wall in a tunnel near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The accident happened while she was drag racing with Jorma Kaukonen; both were driving at over miles per hour, and Kaukonen claims that he "saved her life" by pulling her from the car. In SeptemberBark was released. The single "Pretty As You Feel", excerpted from a longer jam with members of Santana and featuring lead vocals by Joey Covington, its principal composer, was the last Jefferson Airplane chart hit, peaking at No.
The album rose to No. These problems continued to be exacerbated by the band's escalating cocaine use and Slick's alcohol use disorder. Consequently, while the band played several dates in August in support of Bark including two concerts in the New York metropolitan area and a show apiece in Detroit and Philadelphiano tour was planned.
Jefferson Airplane held together long enough to record one more album, entitled Long John Silverbegun in April and released in July. By this time the various members were thoroughly engaged with their various solo projects. Following the release of Kantner and Slick's Sunfighter in November and Creach's eponymous solo debut in DecemberHot Tuna released their first studio album and third opus Burgers in February ; meanwhile, Joey Covington immersed himself in various Grunt Records projects, including his own solo album Fat Fandangoreleased in Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (CD the sessions for Black Kangaroo's debut album led by multi-instrumentalist Peter KaukonenJorma's younger brother.
However, Covington was either dismissed from the band or left of his own volition shortly after the sessions commenced. Long John Silver is notable for its cover, which folded out into a humidor, which the inner photo depicted as storing cigars which may have been filled with marijuana. Despite middling reviews, the album rose to No. The band began a proper national tour to promote Long John Silver in the summer oftheir first in nearly two years. Shortly before the tour commenced, David Freiberg who had recently completed a prison sentence for marijuana possession after leaving Quicksilver Messenger Service joined as a belated replacement for Balin.
The East Coast leg of the tour included a major free concert in Central Park that drew over 50, attendees. The tour culminated in two shows at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco September 21—22both of which were recorded. Later that year, Kaukonen and Casady decided to focus on Hot Tuna as a full-time endeavor, effectively leaving the band; however, no official announcement was ever released. By DecemberRCA had terminated the band's salaries, resulting in Freiberg being forced to draw unemployment to maintain his house payments.
They appropriated the name from Kantner's Blows Against the Empirewith Bill Thompson convincing the group that maintaining the connection was prudent from a business standpoint. Inthe classic lineup of Jefferson Airplane reunited with the exception of drummer Spencer Dryden for a tour and album. The self-titled album was released by Epic  to modest sales but the accompanying tour was considered a success.
Grace Slick was absent, as she was unable to travel for medical reasons. Spencer Dryden died of colon Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (CD on January 11, They were joined by G.
Marty Balin died on September 27, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with Jefferson Starship. American rock band.
A cropped version of this photo was used for the front cover of Surrealistic Pillow. Psychedelic rock acid rock folk rock garage rock. White Rabbit. Main articles: Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. Main article: List of Jefferson Airplane members. Paul Kantner — rhythm guitarvocals —,; died Jorma Kaukonen — lead guitarvocals —,Marty Balin — vocals, rhythm guitar, Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (CD, percussion —,; died Signe Toly Anderson — vocals —; died Bob Harvey — double bass Jerry Peloquin — drums Skip Spence — drums, percussion —; died Jack Casady — bassrhythm guitar —,Grace Slick — vocals, pianokeyboards —, Spencer Dryden — drums, percussion —, ; died Joey Covington — drums, percussion —; died Papa John Creach — violinvocals —; died John Barbata — drums, percussion David Freiberg — vocals, rhythm guitar Main article: Jefferson Airplane discography.
Archived from the original on November 30, Retrieved October 27, Rolling Stone. April 7, Not every song became radio staples but the whole album is cohesive and well-balanced. The music is varied and diverse and yet each one is great in its own way.
She Has Funny Cars sets the tone with its rhythm, thunderous drums, and guitars. Then comes one of their greatest musical achievements, Somebody to Love. Today is a beautiful ballad with exquisite vocal harmonies. White Rabbit is as trippy as it can get. It may be about Alice in Wonderland or about an acid trip. Just fantastical. The psychedelic closing track Plastic Fantastic Lover is bouncy and addicting.
And the guitar playing is glorious.
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