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Thread: Turn It Up! - The Jefferson Airplane/Starship

  1. #1
    Sydney Nova Scotia

    Default Turn It Up! - The Jefferson Airplane/Starship

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    "Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
    Turn it up, that's enough, so you know it's got soul
    Radio, radio turn it up...
    - Van Morrison

    The average length of the 45 rpm single is 3 minutes and 30 seconds...

    If you can't say what needs to be said in 3 minutes and 30 seconds then it probably isn't worth saying...

    "Turn It Up!" is a series about those classic tunes played on radio stations the world over that still live on over the airwaves of our memories and the artists who created them...

    The Jefferson Airplane - (1966 - 1974) -

    Jefferson Airplane, a rock band based in San Francisco, California, was one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock.

    Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Area to achieve international commercial success.

    They were headliners at the three most famous American rock festivals of the 1960s—Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969) and Altamont (1969)—and the first Isle of Wight Festival (1968) in England.

    Their 1967 break-out album "Surrealistic Pillow" ranks on the short list of the most significant recordings of the "Summer of Love". Two songs from that album, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit", are among Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

    The "classic" lineup of Jefferson Airplane, from October 1966 to February 1970, was Marty Balin (vocals), Paul Kantner (guitar, vocals), Grace Slick (vocals), Jorma Kaukonen (lead guitar, vocals), Jack Casady (bass), and Spencer Dryden (drums). Marty Balin left the band in 1971.

    After 1972, Jefferson Airplane effectively split into two groups. Kaukonen and Casady moved on full-time to their own band, Hot Tuna. Slick, Kantner, and the remaining members of Jefferson Airplane recruited new members and regrouped as Jefferson Starship in 1974, with Marty Balin eventually joining them.

    Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and was presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

    After "Surrealistic Pillow", the 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 Cream, which prompted the Airplane (like many other groups) to adopt a "heavier" sound and to place a greater emphasis on improvisation.

    The band's third LP, "After Bathing at Baxter's", was released on November 27, 1967, and eventually peaked in the charts at No. 17.

    Recorded over a period of more than four months, with little input from nominal producer Al Schmitt, the new album demonstrated the group's growing engagement with psychedelic rock. Where the previous LP had consisted entirely of "standard-length" pop songs, Baxter's was dominated by long multi-part suites, while "A Small Package of Value Will Come To You Shortly" was a musique concrete-style audio collage inspired by Frank Zappa's contemporaneous work.

    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. In contrast to "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love", "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil" only peaked at No. 43 and "Watch Her Ride" stalled at No. 61. (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.

    In April 1971, Marty Balin officially left Jefferson Airplane after disassociating himself from the group following the fall 1970 tour. Although he had remained a key part of live performances after the band's creative direction shifted from the brooding love songs that he specialized in, the evolution of the polarized Kantner/Slick and Kaukonen/Casady cliques—compounded by an emerging drinking problem—had finally left him the odd man out.

    The Jefferson Starship - (1974 - 1984)

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    Following the commercially unsuccessful Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun (1973; credited to Kantner, Slick and Freiberg) and Manhole (1974; credited to Slick), Jefferson Airplane evolved into Jefferson Starship in January 1974.

    The initial lineup consisted of the remaining members of Jefferson Airplane (Kantner, Slick, Freiberg, Barbata, Creach); bassist Peter Kaukonen (soon replaced by British multi-instrumentalist Pete Sears, a veteran of Creach's debut solo album and Manhole); and lead guitarist Craig Chaquico, a member of Grunt Records band Jack Traylor and Steelwind who contributed to the Kantner/Slick solo albums beginning with Sunfighter.

    They appropriated the name from Kantner's Blows Against the Empire, with Bill Thompson convincing the group that maintaining the connection was prudent from a business standpoint. Reflecting the transition, the album "Dragon Fly", released in September 1974, was credited to Slick, Kantner and Jefferson Starship.

    In 1970, while Jefferson Airplane was on break from touring, singer-guitarist Paul Kantner recorded "Blows Against the Empire". This was a concept album featuring an ad hoc group of musicians (centered on Kantner, Grace Slick, Joey Covington, and Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane; David Crosby & Graham Nash; and members of Grateful Dead and Santana) credited on the LP as "Paul Kantner & Jefferson Starship", marking the first use of that name. This agglomeration was informally known as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, a moniker later used on a Kantner album in the early 1980s.

    In 1974, after touring as "Jefferson Starship," Kantner, Slick, Freiberg, Chaquico, Pete Sears, Papa John Creach, and John Barbata recorded the album "Dragon Fly".

    Their follow up album, 1975’s "Red Octopus" had even greater success. Marty Balin, who had contributed and sung the ballad "Caroline" on the previous album, officially returned to the Jefferson fold as a full-time member in January 1975 and stayed with the group for nearly the remainder of the decade.

    The Balin penned single "Miracles” peaked at #3 on the chart, and along with the single “Play on Love” (#49 US Billboard Chart), helped to propel the album to eventual multiple-platinum status and topping the Billboard 200 chart. It would be the biggest selling album of the band's career. Creach quietly left the group soon after in August 1975 to pursue a solo career.

    Balin's reluctance to tour had kept the band off the road for over a year, and Slick's alcoholism increasingly became a problem, which led to two consecutive nights of disastrous concerts in West Germany in June 1978. Kantner subsequently asked for Slick's resignation from the band, and she left the group at this time.

    In October 1978, Marty Balin left the group, leaving the band without a lead singer. Mickey Thomas (who had sung lead on Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around and Fell in Love") was invited to audition and then joined the group in April 1979. Barbata had been seriously injured in a car accident in October 1978 and in January 1979 was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar, who had previously played with Journey.

    In early 1981, Grace Slick returned to the band.

    While Marty and Grace had come and gone over the years, in June 1984, after the release of Nuclear Furniture, Kantner, the last remaining founding member of Jefferson Airplane, left the band due to disputes over the group's artistic direction. "I think we would be terrible failures trying to write pop songs all the time. … The band became more mundane and not quite as challenging and not quite as much of a thing to be proud of", said Kantner.

    In October 1984, Paul Kantner took legal action over money he claimed he was owed and to prevent the remaining members from continuing to use the name Jefferson Starship. The lawsuit was settled in March 1985. Kantner received a cash settlement, the name Jefferson Starship became the property of Grace Slick (51%) and Bill Thompson (49%), and all parties agreed to not use the name "Jefferson" going forward.

    The remaining members renamed themselves Starship, and continued to tour and record music. David Freiberg was dismissed from the band shortly after the lawsuit was settled. Pete Sears departed in 1987.

    Grace Slick left Starship in early 1988, going on to join the reformed Jefferson Airplane for an album and tour in 1989. Craig Chaquico departed in 1990. The band has been billed as "Starship featuring Mickey Thomas" since 1992.

    The Jefferson Airplane -

    "It's No Secret" - 1966 -

    "Somebody To Love" - 1967

    "White Rabbit" - 1967 -

    "Today" - 1967 -

    The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil” - 1967 -

    "Watch Her Ride" - 1967 -

    Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon” - 1967 -

    "Crown of Creation" - 1968 -

    "We Can Be Together" - 1969 -

    "Wooden Ships" - 1969 -

    "Volunteers" - 1969 -

    "Mexico" - 1970 -

    The Jefferson Starship -

    "Ride The Tiger" - 1974 -

    "Caroline" - 1974 -

    "Miracles" - 1975 -

    "Play On Love" - 1976 -

    "St. Charles" - 1976 -

    "With Your Love" - 1976 -

    "Count On Me" - 1978 -

    "Runaway" - 1978 -

    "Jane" - 1979 -

    "Find Your Way Back" - 1981 -

    "Save Your Love" - 1981 -

    "Stranger" - 1981 -

    "Be My Lady" - 1982 -

    "Winds of Change" - 1983 -

    "No Way Out" - 1984 -

    "Layin' It On The Line" - 1984


    "We Built This City" - 1985 -

    "Sara" - 1985 -

    "Tomorrow Doesn't Matter Tonight" - 1986 -

    "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" - 1986 -

    "It's Not Over ('Til It's Over)" - 1987 -

    "It's Not Enough" - 1989 -


    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Oct-02-2018 at 21:09.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Room2201974's Avatar
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    Thanks SNS for sparing us from We Built This City.
    "He who makes songs without feeling spoils both his words and his music. " ~ Guillaume de Machaut

    "Music that is born complex is not inherently better or worse than music that is born simple." ~ Aaron Copland.

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  5. #3
    Sydney Nova Scotia


    Quote Originally Posted by Room2201974 View Post
    Thanks SNS for sparing us from We Built This City.
    My pleasure, Room2201974... I was so impressed by your post about your experiences with the Jefferson Airplane in that other thread that I decided to wait until after you read this thread before going back to edit it and add the missing Starship tunes.

    Out of a sense of profound respect for you I left off that which you wanted no part of and I'm glad that you appreciated the gesture that I made on your behalf however the entire story must be told from beginning to end and thus the missing Starship tracks (which are all MTV-era videos by the way) are now back in their rightful place within the group's history and so you might want to avoid making a return visit to this thread from this point forward.

    Everyone else who is not in fact Room2201974 do not tell him that I actually forgot to add the Starship tracks and would not have even known that they were missing until he had tipped me off.

    Thanks -

    - Syd
    Last edited by Sydney Nova Scotia; Oct-02-2018 at 19:09.

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  7. #4
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    The "Strange Magic of" thread on Jefferson Starship......

    The Strange Magic of: Jefferson Starship

    I'd definitely add to the J. Starship list of songs: Caroline, St. Charles, Save Your Love and several more....
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Oct-03-2018 at 03:38.

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  9. #5
    Sydney Nova Scotia


    Quote Originally Posted by Strange Magic View Post
    The "Strange Magic of" thread on Jefferson Starship......

    The Strange Magic of: Jefferson Starship

    I'd definitely add to the J. Starship list of songs: Caroline, St. Charles, Save Your Love and several more....
    I added "Caroline", "St. Charles", and "Save Your Love" as requested. It is now the equivalent of a 34 track anthology album.

    If you would like to add additional tracks to the thread feel free to do so as I have to defer to your expertise on this one...

    - Syd

  10. #6
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I always thought Jane was Starship's finest hour. Great track. I like a lot of the Airplane stuff (esp Somebody to Love, Volunteers and Wooden Ships). If i never hear 'We Built this City on Sausage Rolls' again I'll die a happy man.
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-02-2018 at 21:15.

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