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50 Essential Albums of 1967

From the Doors' debut to Aretha Franklin's first smash

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Jefferson Airplane, 'After Bathing at Baxter's'
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Jefferson Airplane, 'After Bathing at Baxter's'27/50

Jefferson Airplane, 'After Bathing at Baxter's'

Singer Marty Balin was so alienated by the acid-fueled indulgence of the sessions for the Airplane's third album – four months in Los Angeles, where the band stayed in a mansion that once housed the Beatles – that he co-wrote only one song, "Young Girl Sunday Blues." Yet Baxter's was the Airplane at their most defiantly psychedelic, exploring outer limits of despair and song form in the dark urgency of "The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil," Grace Slick's "Rejoyce" – a protest-cabaret adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses – and the nine-minute instrumental improvisation "Spare Chaynge." The raw challenge of Baxter's was also a requiem for the Day-Glo life promised a few months earlier by the Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow. In the closing medley, "Won't You Try/Saturday Afternoon," Paul Kantner looked back in longing at the Human Be-In of January '67, a new dawn that already seemed a lifetime ago.

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