Posts Tagged ‘The Great Society’

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it’s Hard to believe that Grace Barnett Wing was only four years younger than Elvis Presley! Yet she was one of the queens of the San Francisco Rock scene in the 1960s and 1970s. While Elvis was cranking out mediocre films, Slick was beginning to get noticed in a band called the Great Society with her then-husband Jerry Slick (drums), His brother Darby Slick (lead guitar), and David Miner (bass). It wasn’t long after the band made its debut at the Coffee Gallery in the City in October 1965 that Slick composed her signature song “White Rabbit.” about the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. The band’s popularity grew, and they recorded several tracks in late ’65 with Sylvester Stewart at the controls.

One single “Somebody to Love,” with Grace Slick on vocals, piano, and recorder was released. When Signe Anderson left the Jefferson Airplane to be with her daughter, Jack Casady invited Slick to join the band. The group’s musical focus shifted from folk-rock to a more psychedelic-oriented groove. and the landmark album “Surrealistic Pillow,”, was released in early 1967 and became an instant hit, landing at No3 on the Billboard Album Chart, with the singles “Someone to Love,’ and “White Rabbit,” also climbing to the Top 10 at the dawning of the Summer of Love. Suddenly the Airplane became one of the most popular bands in America, with Slick and the Airplane leading the charge for the psychedelic revolution that was in progress.

No less than George and Patti Harrison showed up in the Haight-Ashbury in August wondering what all the hoopla was about. Slick’s powerful vocals, political convictions, and outspokenness catapulted her to into prominence as a female Rock musician who was not afraid to speak her mind. On the Dick Cavett show in 1969, she dared to use a 12-letter word that George Carlin had proclaimed could not be said on television. Up against the wall indeed you ————! At the end of the 1960s after three more successful studio albums, a live album and a visit to Monterey and a trip to Woodstock, Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen departed the group. Slick responded by forming the Jefferson Starship with bandmate Paul Kantner, and others, recording: Bark,” (1971), “Long John Silver,” (1972), and a trio of solo albums: “Manhole,” (1974), “Dreams,” (1980), and “Welcome to the Wrecking Ball,” (1981). There was also an album “Sunfighter,” from 1981 with Paul Kantner.

The Jefferson Starship recorded eight albums, including the hugely successful “”Red Octopus,” which zoomed to #1 in 1975, and “Earth,” which went to #5 in 1978. Slick was the only original member of the now truncated band named Starship in the mid to late 80’s with the album “Knee Deep in the Hoopla,” (1985) Slick left the Starship in 1988. The last hurrah was the reunion of the Jefferson Airplane in 1989 including a well-received tour. Slick retired from the music business after the tour, citing that “All rock-and-rollers over 50 looked stupid and should retire.” After appearances with a revamped Kantner-led Jefferson Starship in 1995, and a Post 9/11 appearance, Grace Slick called it quits for good and began painting Although suffering some health issues in 2006, she has fully recovered. Her band the Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. Grace Slick is fondly remembered by those 1960s baby boomers who watched her trajectory from the Great Society to the top of the heap with the Airplane and the Starship and watched her perform at Winterland, the Fillmore, the Avalon, and Fillmore West. Those were the golden days of Rock in San Francisco, and Grace was there to help ignite the spark.