White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane

THIS DAY IN MUSIC……………………………………on July 1st of 1967 Jefferson Airplane’s psychedelic masterpiece “White Rabbit” entered the Billboard chart, where it eventually reached #8. The song became one of the first records to sneak drug references past radio censors. Written by Grace Slick, who based the lyrics on Lewis Carroll’s book Alice In Wonderland. Like many young musicians in San Francisco, Slick did a lot of drugs, and she saw a surfeit of drug references in Carroll’s book, including the pills, the smoking caterpillar, the mushroom, and lots of other images that are pretty trippy. She noticed that many children’s stories involve a substance of some kind that alters reality, and felt it was time to write a song about it. Slick got the idea for this song after taking LSD and spending hours listening to the Miles Davis album Sketches Of Spain. The Spanish beat she came up with was also influenced by Ravel’s “Bolero.” Slick wrote this song and performed it when she was in a band called The Great Society with her first husband, Jerry Slick. The Great Society made inroads in the San Francisco music scene, but released just one single, “Somebody To Love” (written by their guitarist, Jerry’s brother Darby Slick), before calling it quits in 1966. Grace moved on to Jefferson Airplane, and the group recorded both “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” for their first album with her, Surrealistic Pillow. The songs were the breakout hits for the band, with “Somebody To Love” reaching #5 US and “White Rabbit” following at #8. The song capped off Jefferson Airplane’s set at Woodstock in 1969. They took the stage at 8 a.m. on the third day, following a performance by The Who that started at 3 a.m. The UK version of the album didn’t include this track and the song was not released in the UK.