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Red Octopus (Bonus Track Versión)

Jefferson Starship

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Album Review

Technically speaking, Red Octopus was the first album credited to Jefferson Starship, though practically the same lineup made Dragon Fly, credited to Grace Slick/Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship. The difference, however, was crucial: Marty Balin was once again a fully integrated bandmember, writing or co-writing five of the ten tracks. And there can be little doubt that it was Balin's irresistible ballad "Miracles," the biggest hit single in the Jefferson Whatever catalog, that propelled Red Octopus to the top of the charts; the only Jefferson album to chart that high; and the best-selling album in their collective lives. This must have been sweet vindication for Balin, who founded Jefferson Airplane but then drifted away from the group as it veered away from his musical vision. Now, the collective was incorporating his taste without quite integrating it: "Miracles," with its strings and sax solo by non-bandmember Irv Cox, was hardly a characteristic Airplane/Starship track. But then, neither exactly was Papa John Creach's showcase, "Git Fiddler," or bassist Pete Sears' instrumental "Sandalphon," which sounded like something from an early Procol Harum album. Slick has three strong songs, among them the second single "Play on Love." Like Dragon Fly, Red Octopus reflected a multiplicity of musical tastes; there were ten credited songwriters, seven of whom were in the band. If there is any consistency in this material, it is in subject matter (love songs). The album is more ballad-heavy and melodic than the Airplane albums, which made it more accessible to the broader audience it reached, though "Sweeter Than Honey" is as tough a rocker as the band ever played. [The 2005 reissue of Red Octopus contains four bonus tracks including the single version of "Miracles" and songs recorded live at Winterland in 1975.]

Biography

Formed: 1974 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jefferson Starship was among the most successful arena rock bands of the 1970s and early '80s, an even greater commercial entity than its predecessor, Jefferson Airplane, the band out of which it evolved. Many Jefferson Airplane fans decried the group's new, more mainstream musical direction, especially after Airplane singers Grace Slick and Marty Balin departed in 1978. But with shifting personnel, Jefferson Starship managed to please its new fans and...
Full bio
Red Octopus (Bonus Track Versión), Jefferson Starship
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