50 Essential Albums of 1967

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

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Jefferson Airplane, 'Surrealistic Pillow'
Jefferson Airplane - SURREALISTIC PILLOW Album Cover28/50

Jefferson Airplane, 'Surrealistic Pillow'

When vocalist Grace Slick joined Jefferson Airplane in the fall of 1966, she came with two songs from her old band, the Great Society – "Somebody to Love," written by her brother-in-law Darby, and "White Rabbit," her psychedelic translation of Alice in Wonderland – that became Top 10 hits in the Airplane's grip, dosing America with San Francisco Utopia. The rest of this second album is a definitive catalog of the Airplane's acid-rock dynamics and rare composing gifts: Jorma Kaukonen's metallic-snarl guitar and Jack Casady's grumbling-funk bass; the beautiful agony of singer Marty Balin's ballads (he wrote "Today" with Tony Bennett in mind); the weave-and-soar interplay of Balin, Slick and singer-guitarist Paul Kantner. The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia attended the Los Angeles sessions as a "musical and spiritual advisor," suggesting arrangements, playing the delicate acoustic leads in "Comin' Back to Me" and coining the album's title when he remarked, "This is as surrealistic as a pillow."

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