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The Essential Jefferson Airplane

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Album Review

RCA/Legacy's 32-track Jefferson Airplane retrospective focuses on the influential psychedelic rock collective's late-'60s/early-'70s heydays. From 1966 (Jefferson Airplane Takes Off) through 1972 (Thirty Seconds Over Winterland), the group released nine albums that effectively shadowed the era, blending social themes with drugs, paranoia, and youthful rebellion/revolution. Essential may be a bit much for the casual fan, as its two discs delve deep into the group's eclectic catalog, stacking lost gems like "Eskimo Blue Day" and "Third Week in the Chelsea" alongside radio staples like "Somebody to Love," "White Rabbit," and "Volunteers," but those who are willing to take the plunge will be rewarded with the band's most thorough, informative, and thoughtfully paced anthology to date.

Customer Reviews

Wow, "First Reviewer", huh?

Kind of a shame really; Jefferson Airplane is probably one of my favorite bands that features Grace Slick, and this is probably one of, if not the, best Jefferson Airplane compilations available. What sets this compilation apart from others like it, such as 'The Worst of Jefferson Airplane', is the fact that is searches deep into the band's history and salvages for its absolute best from all of its history. As you would expect, most of the songs on the album are from 'Surrealistic Pillow', Jefferson Airplane's most defining album, from the super-hits "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" to a live version of the lesser-known "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds." It also features some of the best lesser-known singles and album tracks in the the band's history, such as the non-album single "Mexico" and the forgotten "Have You Seen the Saucers?" It lacks "Today", one of the best songs on 'Surrealistic Pillow', and "Bringing Me Down", an essential single from 'Takes Off', but with those two songs in addition to these "essential" songs, and you have pretty much everything a casual hardcore fan of Jefferson Airplane needs. Needless to say, this is one of the few "Essential" compilations that actually lives up to its name.

The Best Band of The Psycedelic Era.

Grace Slick and Marty Balin had the best voices of their time or todays. Grace had power and a sense of when and how to use it, and Marty Balin: sang Miracles,maybe the greatest song ever... what more can you say? It may be one of the 10 best songs ever recorded. The Airplane, not Starship, got back together several years ago, and I saw them in St. Louis at the Fox Theater. I took my teenage son, who is now 34, who plays guitar, well, and has been lead singer with several bands that were well received in St. Louis. He was blown away by the band and by Grace and Marty. Grace and Marty were as good as ever and the rest of the band, including Paul Kantner were rockin'. Back to this album, I was in the Air Force when the album came out and I immediately bought it and played it over and over in a barracks with no walls, and no one ever complained. I played it loud! It is as good a compilation as was ever recorded! It holds up, and the number of great songs on it is unbelievable!

Essential Jefferson Airplane

Their music and especially the lyrics are SO true even to this day!


Formed: 1965 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Jefferson Airplane was the first of the San Francisco psychedelic rock groups of the 1960s to achieve national recognition. Although the Grateful Dead ultimately proved more long-lived and popular, Jefferson Airplane defined the San Francisco sound in the 1960s, with the acid rock guitar playing of Jorma Kaukonen and the soaring twin vocals of Grace Slick and Marty Balin, scoring hit singles and looking out from the covers of national magazines. They epitomized the drug-taking hippie ethos as well...
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