JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – ” Takes Off ” Released 15th August 1966

Posted: August 15, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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There are three versions of the Jefferson Airplane’s debut LP, each with a dedicated mono and stereo mix. The “first” (and rarest) version is the 12-track uncensored version, which was originally released on August 15th, 1966. This version was quickly recalled and the track “Runnin’ Round This World” deleted off side 1 due to the line “the nights I’ve spent with you have been fantastic trips”. Very few of these original copies have survived, and they usually sell for an awful lot of money.

Jefferson Airplane “Takes Off” is the debut studio album by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released in August 1966 as RCA Victor LSP-3584 (stereo) and LPM-3584 (mono). The personnel differs from the later “classic” line up: Signe Toly Anderson was iniatally the female vocalist and Skip Spence played drums. But both soon left the group—Spence in May 1966, Anderson in October and were replaced by Spencer Dryden and Grace Slick, respectively.

RCA executives found some of the lyrics too sexually suggestive. They had the band change the lyrics in “Let Me In” from “I gotta get in, you know where” to “You shut your door, now it ain’t fair”, and “Don’t tell me you want money” to “Don’t tell me it’s so funny”. In “Run Around” they had the end of the line “Blinded by colours come flashing from flowers that sway as you lay under me” altered to “…that sway as you stay here by me”. With “Runnin’ ‘Round This World” the executives insisted that “trips” in the line “The nights I’ve spent with you have been fantastic trips” referred to taking LSD, though the band insisted it was merely common slang. Even replacing the word “trips” with a guitar arpeggio did not placate RCA’s concerns with the line’s sexual connotations and refused its inclusion on the album, and the recording remained unreleased for the next eight years.

The “second” version to appear of this album happens to be exactly the same as the first version minus “Runnin’ Round This World”. However, these copies were also soon recalled, and two tracks replaced for the “Third”, final, and most commonly found version of the LP. The two tracks “Let Me In” (with lines “Oh let me in, I wanna be there/I gotta get in you know where” and “Don’t tell me you want money”) and “Run Around” (having “… that sway as you lay under me”) were re-recorded with censored lyrics.

The ”first” US pressing of the debut by Jefferson Airplane has three versions, released in both mono and stereo, the first two of which are extremely rare: 
1) Six tracks on side A, the sixth being ”Runnin’ Round This World”. This contains the original versions of both ”Let Me In” (with the lyric ”Don’t tell me you want money”) and ”Run Around” (with the lyric ”That sway as you lay under me”). The backcover has no caption ”RE” in the top right hand corner.

2) Five tracks on side A, ”Runnin’ Round This World” is deleted. Still, the original versions of ”Let Me In” and ”Run Around” are included. The backcover does have the ”RE” caption.

3) Five tracks on side A. The re-recorded versions of ”Let Me In” and ”Run Around” are included with the offensive lyrics altered. Backcover identical to 2).

This second version has also become somewhat uncommon, and is discernible from the third version only by the etched matrix numbers or by listening to the record itself. Only the “third version” has been fully reissued on CD in both mixes, although a couple mediocre-sounding vinyl-sourced tracks appeared on the most recent remaster.

This transfer is from one of the 2nd version LPs (-12S / -3S) . I definitely prefer this original version, if for no other reason than it is clearly what the band intended to be released before they were censored by RCA Victor.

The album’s release drew little press attention at a time when mainstream newspapers did not normally cover rock releases and the rock press was yet in its infancy. Crawdaddy! magazine highlighted the album on the cover of its January 1967 issue, which included a three-page review by the magazine’s assistant editor, Tim Jurgens, who called the album “faulted” yet “the most important album of American rock” of 1966.

The Band:
Marty Balin – vocals, rhythm guitar
Signe Toly Anderson – vocals, percussion
Jorma Kaukonen – lead guitar
Paul Kantner – rhythm guitar, vocals
Jack Casady – bass guitar
Skip Spence – drums
Spencer Dryden – drums (on “Go to Her,” alternate version of “And I Like It,” and alternate version of “Chauffeur Blues”)

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