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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow

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Surrealistic Pillow

Jefferson Airplane

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The second album by Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow was a groundbreaking piece of folk-rock-based psychedelia, and it hit like a shot heard round the world; where the later efforts from bands like the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and especially, the Charlatans, were initially not too much more than cult successes, Surrealistic Pillow rode the pop charts for most of 1967, soaring into that rarefied Top Five region occupied by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and so on, to which few American rock acts apart from the Byrds had been able to lay claim since 1964. And decades later the album still comes off as strong as any of those artists' best work. From the Top Ten singles "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" to the sublime "Embryonic Journey," the sensibilities are fierce, the material manages to be both melodic and complex (and it rocks, too), and the performances, sparked by new member Grace Slick on most of the lead vocals, are inspired, helped along by Jerry Garcia (serving as spiritual and musical advisor and sometimes guitarist). Every song is a perfectly cut diamond, too perfect in the eyes of the bandmembers, who felt that following the direction of producer Rick Jarrard and working within three- and four-minute running times, and delivering carefully sung accompaniments and succinct solos, resulted in a record that didn't represent their real sound. Regardless, they did wonderful things with the music within that framework, and the only pity is that RCA didn't record for official release any of the group's shows from the same era, when this material made up the bulk of their repertory. That way the live versions, with the band's creativity unrestricted, could be compared and contrasted with the record. The songwriting was spread around between Marty Balin, Slick, Paul Kantner, and Jorma Kaukonen, and Slick and Balin (who never had a prettier song than "Today," which he'd actually written for Tony Bennett) shared the vocals; the whole album was resplendent in a happy balance of all of these creative elements, before excessive experimentation (musical and chemical) began affecting the band's ability to do a straightforward song. The group never made a better album, and few artists from the era ever did.
© Bruce Eder /TiVo

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Surrealistic Pillow

Jefferson Airplane

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1
She Has Funny Cars
00:03:08

Ria, Art Director - Balin, Vocal - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Guitar - Spencer Dryden, Drums - Grace Slick, Vocal - Jack Casady, Bass - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Stephen Marcussen, Mastering Engineer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer - Paul Kantner, Vocal - Paul Kantner, Guitar - Jefferson Airplane, Performer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

2
Somebody To Love (Pop #5/chart debut: 4/1/67)
00:02:54

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Darby Slick, Lyricist - Darby Slick, Composer - Rick Jarrard, Producer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
My Best Friend
00:02:59

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Skip Spence, Composer - Skip Spence, Lyricist

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

4
Today
00:02:57

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Comin' Back to Me
00:05:15

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

6
3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
00:03:40

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

7
D. C. B. A.-25
00:02:35

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

8
How Do You Feel
00:03:28

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Tom Mastin, Composer - Tom Mastin, Lyricist - Rick Jarrard, Producer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

9
Embryonic Journey
00:01:52

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

10
White Rabbit
00:02:30

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Grace Slick, Composer - Grace Slick, Lyricist - Rick Jarrard, Producer

Originally released 1966. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

11
Plastic Fantastic Lover
00:02:33

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Marty Balin, Lyricist - Marty Balin, Composer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

12
In The Morning
00:06:20

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Jorma Kaukonen, Composer - Jorma Kaukonen, Lyricist

(P) 1974 BMG Music

13
J. P. P. Mc Step B. Blues
00:02:36

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Alex Spence, Composer - Alex Spence, Lyricist - Rick Jarrard, Producer

(P) 1974 BMG Music

14
Go To Her
00:04:01

Paul Kantner, Composer - Paul Kantner, Lyricist - Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Irving Estes, Composer - Irving Estes, Lyricist

(P) 1974 BMG Music

15
Come Back Baby
00:02:55

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Rick Jarrard, Producer - Traditional, Composer - Traditional, Lyricist - Jorma Kaukonen, Arranger

(P) 1992 BMG Music

16
Somebody To Love (mono single version)
00:02:58

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Darby Slick, Lyricist - Darby Slick, Composer - Rick Jarrard, Producer

Originally Recorded 1966. All rights reserved by BMG Music

17
White Rabbit (mono single version)
00:05:20

Jefferson Airplane, Performer - Grace Slick, Composer - Grace Slick, Lyricist - Tommy Oliver, Producer - Matthew Katz, Producer

Originally released 1967. All rights reserved by RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

The second album by Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow was a groundbreaking piece of folk-rock-based psychedelia, and it hit like a shot heard round the world; where the later efforts from bands like the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and especially, the Charlatans, were initially not too much more than cult successes, Surrealistic Pillow rode the pop charts for most of 1967, soaring into that rarefied Top Five region occupied by the likes of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and so on, to which few American rock acts apart from the Byrds had been able to lay claim since 1964. And decades later the album still comes off as strong as any of those artists' best work. From the Top Ten singles "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love" to the sublime "Embryonic Journey," the sensibilities are fierce, the material manages to be both melodic and complex (and it rocks, too), and the performances, sparked by new member Grace Slick on most of the lead vocals, are inspired, helped along by Jerry Garcia (serving as spiritual and musical advisor and sometimes guitarist). Every song is a perfectly cut diamond, too perfect in the eyes of the bandmembers, who felt that following the direction of producer Rick Jarrard and working within three- and four-minute running times, and delivering carefully sung accompaniments and succinct solos, resulted in a record that didn't represent their real sound. Regardless, they did wonderful things with the music within that framework, and the only pity is that RCA didn't record for official release any of the group's shows from the same era, when this material made up the bulk of their repertory. That way the live versions, with the band's creativity unrestricted, could be compared and contrasted with the record. The songwriting was spread around between Marty Balin, Slick, Paul Kantner, and Jorma Kaukonen, and Slick and Balin (who never had a prettier song than "Today," which he'd actually written for Tony Bennett) shared the vocals; the whole album was resplendent in a happy balance of all of these creative elements, before excessive experimentation (musical and chemical) began affecting the band's ability to do a straightforward song. The group never made a better album, and few artists from the era ever did.
© Bruce Eder /TiVo

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