Surrealistic Pillow is the second album by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, released by RCA Victor on February 1, 1967. It is the first album by the band with vocalist Grace Slick and drummer Spencer Dryden. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard album chart and has been certified Platinum by the RIAA. The album is considered to be one of the quintessential works of the early psychedelic rock and 1960s counterculture eras."My Best Friend" was released as the first single in January 1967, but reached only #103 on the Billboard Bubbling Under chart. Two singles were released later in the year; "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" peaked respectively at number five and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and are the band's only Top 40 hits on that chart. "Today" was not released as a single but was played often on college radio and rock stations and remains one of their most popular songs. It was also recorded by jazz saxophonist Tom Scott for his 1967 album The Honeysuckle Breeze; this version was sampled in the song "They Reminisce Over You" by Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth.Wikipedia
“Surrealistic Pillow” by Jefferson Airplane (1967) This album put the ‘love’ into the ‘Summer of Love’. Now, psychedelic accoutrements (blacklight posters, strobes, spiral illusions, chroma key video, ingested chemicals) are not needed in order to delve deeply into this music, although I’m told (heh, heh) they help. “When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love?” In the 2009 Cohen brothers sadly under-appreciated film A Serious Man, the aged Rabbi Marshak quotes these words of wisdom to the young (and stoned) Danny Gopnik at the conclusion of his bar mitzvah. It’s as if the ancient rabbi suggests that in the midst of Danny’s pubescent crises he should ask himself whether giving love is the great healing balm that erases any perceived deficit of the good, the true, or the beautiful. Stop cringing, Danny, and get out there and make LOVE. The end of boyhood, boys, comes with the transition from receiving to giving—shifting gears from the passive to the active. Put your testosterone to work. That’s how God made you. And it takes a woman named Grace to enlighten us. Apart from the rock classics (“White Rabbit”, “Somebody to Love”, and “Embryonic Journey”), the remainder of this album excels as well. There’s great stylistic variation and development in the order of the tracks. Plus, this is a very well constructed album, begging to be heard start to finish (as originally released—join me please in hating rearranged reissues and ‘bonus’ tracks!). With consistently excellent vocal ensemble blend and percussion that goes beyond simply keeping the beat, this music glides on sonic thermals. Grace Slick’s powerful contralto both dominates and blends. When she solos, she switches on a vibrato that’s like a nervous system on speed and acid simultaneously (one imagines). Her tightly controlled grace notes (no pun) are simply unsurpassed. From the angry (“White Rabbit”) to the earnest appeal (“Somebody to Love”), she’s on top of each composition with soul and style. Marty Balin’s seductive and resonant tenor on “Today” and “Coming Back to Me” has inexplicably escaped the notice of many ears (including mine, folks. Why are we so addicted to ‘hits’?). Jorma Kaukonen’s superb solo acoustic “Embryonic Journey” is a must study for all aspiring folk rock guitarists. And stealth support on guitar by Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead) on several tracks adds to the musical airscape. This album is another classic. The only flaw is that the bolero-structured “White Rabbit” should have been five minutes longer. But that’s perhaps a greedy quibble. 5/5
There is a reason why this is one of the most influential and essential Flower Power albums; it just sounds AMAZING. How do they got that gloomy, murky, echoey but clear and mesmerizing sound in '67 is something I still can't explain.
Best songs were when Grace Slick was lead vocals. If she was the main vocalist on all the tracks it would’ve gotten a higher score
I don't think that I actually know that the two big hits on this album were by Jefferson Airplane. Basically when it comes to certain strains of classic rock, there is a big batch of songs whose artists I don't know and a big batch of artist names I know whose songs I can't identify. I didn't listen to this album as closely as some others, but I did listen to it 3-4 times, and I liked it. The rest of the songs fit right in with the hits. My personal enjoyment: 4/5 Did it belong on this list: 5/5
I'm really into this! The late 60s/early 70s have such a unique sound. White Rabbit is the only one I've heard before, but it's always made me paused to admire it. So good.
Muy agradable. Recibo lo que espero del rock psicodélico + un toque de folk, a ratos incluso hasta dark folk, la voz de la vocalista muy cool. Buenos solos de guitarra, buenas vibras. Canción favorita: somebody to love que tiene esa energía que hasta ahora no percibo mucho el renacimiento del género en las bandidas hipster de neo psicodélico. Mood del disco: Bailando desnudo con alegría en un campo de flores y después deprimido y sintiendome muy malote manejando en una carretera forestal en un estado gringo del midwest.
Awesome psycadaelic rock classic
Funky 60s vibe.
Some excellent songs on this album - White Rabbit, Somebody to Love
Can definitely hear the sounds of San Francisco during the hippie movement in this album 9/10
Great energy and moods
Classic 60s vibe and great vocal harmonies!
Some of the better drug induced music from the 70s. Really enjoyed this. I knew a number of the tracks, which always helps.
Seems awesome, but it is not complete in spoty
One of the best
Amazing album! Definitely on the more psychedelic side and very summer of love.
Almost gave this a 5. I've always loved White Rabbit and Want Someone to Love but the whole album truly holds up. I love the production sound, the instrumentals, and Grace Slick's voice is just perfect for the sound of the era. Maybe I should have made this a 5...
fucking joy to listen to
-Great rock album -"She Has Funny Cars" "Somebody to Love," "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds," "White Rabbit," "Plastic Fantastic Lover," and "Go To Her" are all fantastic
”The album is considered to be one of the quintessential works of the early psychedelic rock and 1960s counterculture eras.”
Compelling from start to finish. I listened to this three times today and I might go back for more tomorrow. Best track: Somebody to Love
One of my all time favourite albums.
Doses precisas de psicodelia com vocal feminino arrebatador.
Unavailable mostly in my Spotify :(
Loved it, so many tracks I'd heard before but didn't know were all one album together
Enjoyable. Wish I hadn't listened to the album with bonus tracks though as it's far too long.
Classic 60s jam band. Some very popular tunes on here, didn't realize they switched up vocalists on tunes. Very mixed bag of tunes, some very psychadelic, some heavy rock, and some simple jams.
Great psych rock album
white rabbit, somebody to love, great late 60s album.
Rock solid psych, compact with a certain something that ties it all together
Annoyingly this album is not on Spotify in its entirety. Annoying as I'd like to add this to my regular rotation but until Spotify gets its poop in a group I cannot. I had to listen to it on YouTube, shock horror. I love Jefferson Airplane and this album, solid 4.5 from me, rounded up because Someone to Love and White Rabbit frequently pop into my brain at random
Adorei o álbum, uma das músicas era conhecida graças ao resgate de mix popular no Tiktok da segunda faixa Somebody to love
Fuck Yeah Bro
Houston… I mean, San Francisco, we’ve got a problem. ‘You can do whatever you please, the world’s waiting to be seized,’ co-vocalists Marty Balin and Grace Slick sing on the opening number, ‘She Has Funny Cars.’ Then, ‘Your mind’s guaranteed. It’s all you’ll ever need.’ Hmm. Sounded real groovy in the youthful idealism of the 1960s, especially 1967’s summer of love, and most especially in San Francisco. Turned out, though, the mind was not so guaranteed, and it wasn’t all we ever needed. Grace Slick reprised that idea, and then some, in 'Surrealistic Pillow’s' second to last song, ‘White Rabbit,’ when she further advised to ‘feed your head’ with magic mushrooms, at least. The problem being: the mind is ravenous, and fully capable of eating its host’s body and spirit. Ms. Slick found that out herself, eventually, when she developed an adult addiction to both hard drugs and alcohol. But you can’t necessarily expect youth, then or now, to be fully receptive to adult wisdom. They sometimes just have to figure it out for themselves, trial and error, just like their parent’s did (or didn’t). On ‘We Can Be Together,’ the opening number of Airplane’s final LP, 'Volunteers,' they further affirm (sneeringly tongue in cheek, sorta) to be ‘obscene, lawless, hideous, dangerous, dirty, violent, and young… And we are very proud of ourselves.’ (And then they proceed to shove the untrustworthy motherfuckers over 30 up against the wall before then tearing it down. Their words, not mine.) But I digress… Ok, that’s the problem, and I don’t have to tell you where all that kind of mindfulness led. If the 1970s are any indication of the consequences of doing whatever one pleases, with a money back mind guarantee, then I want my money and mind back. No wait, that’s partly what got me into this jam in the first place. Am I even making any sense? What did that sneaky dormouse feed me? Uh oh, my mind just starting leaking out of my ears. Hold on, I need to drink some orange juice and go for a walk in the forest. I’ll be back later Ok, where were we again? Oh, yes. The problem. Identified. But our clever Jefferson Airplaners offer a solution on the second song (which incidentally, the Beatles were working on that same year with ‘All You Need Is Love,’ but seeing as how they were in England and the Airplane were on the west coast of the United States, it’s anyone’s guess who arrived at it first): ‘When the truth is found to be lies, and all the joy within you dies, don’t you want somebody to love? Don’t you need somebody to love? Wouldn’t you want somebody to love. You’d better find somebody to love!’ Love, not mind, is the real guarantee. And fortunately, 'Surrealistic Pillow' ends up offering love in spades. Trial and error. Hey, give ‘em a chance to figure it out. They’re young. The two big hits of this LP, ‘Somebody To Love,’ and ‘White Rabbit,’ have not endured the test of time for no reason. Grace Slick’s uniquely powerful, Wonder Woman-esque vibrato combined with the psychedelic sound of the band, particularly Jorma Kaukonen’s trebly (in a good way), note bending clean of the fret, fuzz tone, wah wah, acid rockin’ (stylistically similar to the dual guitarists of another Frisco band, Big Brother and the Holding Company) lead guitar playing, truly create a mood, man. ‘White Rabbit’ isn’t just a song. It’s an experience. I still get chills when I hear it, accentuated by that infamous made-for-television (plastic fantastic lover), after school, anti-drug movie that scared the shit right out of me as a kid, 'Go Ask Alice,' where the formerly sober teen freaks out on LSD to the tune of ‘White Rabbit.’ You baby boomers out there remember? Gen X-ers and Millennials, no worries, a viewing is hardly necessary. Just listen yourself to drummer Spencer Dryden’s marching cadence that, along with the chord structure, builds to a tremendous climax as Slick sings, full on vibrato, ‘Remember what the dormouse said: Feed your head!’ You’ll see what I’m talking about. Wait a minute, did I just taste that one of those quarter notes, smell that measure? Hold on, the sheet music is asking me a question… No, I don’t have any Cheetos. How would you eat ‘em anyway? You’re paper. Hmm. Might need to go for another walk. Be back in a moment. Whew. Next review, half a dose. I’m guessing what would surprise those with a causal knowledge of Airplane most about this LP is the depth of sound on the remaining non-hits. The very Simon and Garfunkely ‘Today’ and ‘Comin’ Back to Me,’ the former a musical recreation of the wandering, searching youth in the late 60s and the latter more of a wistful vibe. Or the signature jangle guitar sound of the Byrds on ‘D.C.B.A.-25,’ or a near Allman Brothers acoustic instrumental on ‘Embyronic Journey.’ Even when little snotty nose Paul Kantner sings tenderly, ‘O, how my heart beats…’ when he sees a beautiful girl on ‘How Do You Feel,’ I can’t help but smile. I didn’t mention Marty Balin much, but his vocals throughout simply soar. And the rascally Jack Casady walks his bass on the acid rockers like a dog straining on its leash. Finally, just in case you forget its 1967, some cat (I thought) kept popping in and out with a flute on the softer, acoustic songs; but, lo and behold when I checked the credits, it was Ms. Slick on an even more classic 60’s woodwind: the mighty recorder. I proudly played one of those suckers myself in 1967. (Grace plays better.) Perhaps that explains why the YouTube channel I was playing 'Surrealistic Pillow' on listed the musical genre, in addition to folk and rock, as children’s music!? Look, I’m starting to come on down now, so I’m gonna go stretch out for a bit. I’ll be on more solid ground for the next review. Let’s just hope it ain’t Grateful Dead’s 'Anthem of the Sun' or 'Aoxomoxoa.' My mind is already sated.
fucking amazing album.
FIVE STARS An all-time classic and a personal favorite of mine. As is usually the case with those five-stars albums, I won't write a full-blown review about this particular record, because others have already written wonderful stuff about it and there's not much I can add that I feel could be relevant and interesting. It's just a gem. Go and listen to it a.s.a.p. Number of albums left to review or just listen to: more than 900, I've temporarily lost count here Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: approximately a half so far (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: a quarter Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): the last quarter
An album with “White Rabbit” and “Somebody To Love” should probably get a 5 based on those two songs alone. I thought the rest of the album is great. Other standouts included “She Has Funny Cars”, “My Best Friend”, “3/5 Of a Mile In 10 Seconds”, “Embryonic Journey” and “Plastic Fantastic Lover”.
Wow. Thank goodness for Grace Slick. Somebody to Love and White Rabbit (two of the greatest songs ever) really elevate this album. The rest is solid 60s rock, some psychedelic, some acoustic folk, some blues.
I found this album to love! Great sounds of the 60s!!
What should a 1967 psychedelic rock album sound like? This. This. This was an amazing and wonderful convergence of talent. The whole thing is amazing. But I still especially like Grace Slick...
One of the peak psychedelic albums. Embryonic Journey is amazing. Somebody to Love is probably the best song to come out of San Francisco during that period.
Somebody to Love is Grace at her best and has one of my favorite guitar solos/outros. White Rabbit is the psychedelic anthem of anthems. Today & Coming Back to Me are Marty Balin at his best. Helluva band and a great album from start to finish.
the airplanes really aced it on this
Never heard this entire album until it came up here. I of course know the two stone cold classics and I think that they are both absolutely superb songs. Somebody to love is a Grace Slick singing tour de force and White Rabbit is a simply amazing song. So I thought I'd take a close look at each of the other songs and reflect on the impression they leave and base my rating on them. 1. She Has Funny Cars; this song did nothing for me. 3. My Best Friend; this one I like a lovely ballad with some really beautiful harmonies as Grace takes a backup role and does so expertly. 4. 3/5 of a mile in 10 seconds; a nice song again with really nice harmonies and some really nice guitars. 5. How Do You Feel; I like this one too. Starts with a nice flute, some great acoustic guitar and more beautiful harmonies. 7. Plastic Fantastic Lover; I know this song, perhaps a lesser known single. Not the tour de force of the 2 better known songs, but a very good song. Beautiful guitar parts both acoustic and electric lead, makes for another very strong song. 8. Go to Her; The final song ending the album on an upbeat note, unfortunately this one ends the album on a similar note as it begun with a somewhat unremarkable song. So here we have it an 8 song album, 6 of which are excellent and two somewhat unremarkable. The good far out weighs the bad and I would rate the album as a whole at 5 🌟
That 2nd Track is Masterpiece
Already knew it, fabulous !
Brilliant album. Of course I already knew Jefferson Airplane but I hadn’t had the chance to listen to an entire album of theirs before : what a colourful experience ! Though very psychedelic, the album highlights true blues and folk influences (“In the Morning” and “Embryonic Journey” are my two favorites, plus the mind blowing “How do you feel”). Of course the two bangers “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to love” (thanks to the amazing Grace Slick) are the must-hear of the album, but they shouldn’t sum up the whole album which is so diverse and so good. It’s a 5/5, obviously.
Great 60s psychedelic rock. White rabbit is an all-time favorite.
Jefferson Airplane's best album by a wide margin, with some of their greatest hits. 'Somebody to Love,' and 'White Rabbit' are just fantastic songs, and even though the other songs on the album aren't necessarily hits like those two, they all carry a great energy and tune that makes this a worthwhile album to listen to again and again. Also, Grace Slick is a hell of a singer.
Hippie music generally gets a "pass" from me, but this is just too poppy to for me to ignore. It's really, really good.
"Grand Funk Railroad paved the way for Jefferson Airplane, which cleared the way for Jefferson Starship. The stage was now set for the Alan Parsons Project, which I believe was some sort of hovercraft."
The Summer of Love, compressed into one album. Grace Slick’s powerful wail soars over a moody bed of guitars, lending an uneasy thrilling current to the music.
What a beast of an album. Genre defining stuffed with classic hits instantly put you in a mood and feel like immediate choices for soundtracks to paint the idea of 60's. Grace Slicks vocals are just amazing.
Jefferson Airplane evokes exactly what the trippy 60s were like. A bunch of hippies singing of the mystic arts: groovy and harmonic but with a rough edge. It has the hooks and hits as well as the more magical and experimental songs that take you on a peculiar journey. The lofi 60s style combined with the fuzzy bass, the concerning wailing strings, the anxious hollow drums, and the beautiful harmonies by Slick and Balin bring about models of control (capable of guiding your journey) and comfort (to not overwhelm you). There are plenty of songs that push you to dance and sing along, while the calmer folk tracks sit you back down and pay attention to the strange lyrics and instrumentation. I'm obsessed with these mystical 60s albums like United States of America and Electric Music (by Country Joe), but none sound as polished and focused as this one. The record is fantastic, and so is the track ordering (almost). We start off with 3 loud and fun groovy tracks. Then 2 really trippy tracks full of powerful yearnful vocals by Balin, smoothly bridged together. Then we get 4 tracks that gradually transitions from loud and rough acid rock to slow and loving acoustics. (Why does "Embryonic Journey" have 17 million plays on Spotify?) We reach our conclusion with 2 tracks that feel too short, but "White Rabbit" is our popular commanding track with the least discrete lyrics of the summer of love. "Plastic Fantastic Lover" is our chaotic bluesy finish, but feels a bit anticlimatic. Let's talk about the bonus tracks. As anticlimatic as the closer is, it does transition well to the really bluesy "In the Morning" but that definitely feels too long at over 6 minutes, and sounds like a more polished but less interesting Country Joe song. Not a big fan of the pure blues "J. P. P." "Go to Her" is decent and catchy with captivating melodies, but I could see why it was cut. "Come Back Baby" is an awesome jam track (what a sick guitar solo), definitely warrants Jerry Garcia as their spiritual advisor. My only real complaint is that I wish the last 2 tracks were moved elsewhere. It should have ended with a cheery or dreamy track like "My Best Friend", "How Do You Feel", or "Embryonic Journey", of course changing the ending a bit to feel satisfying.
This really is something special. Of its time, but also timeless in ways.
One of the most outstanding and wonderful albums of the psychedelic 1960s
Trippy maar goed
This album is a masterpiece for so many reasons. White Rabbit is what I called an "unpredictable hit", sounds like nothing on the radio, but still... It belongs to the radio. Somebody to Love is powerful and catchy, She Has Funny Cars is an insane opener with punchy drums and guitars. The album even leads the listener to the refined and unexpected classical guitar piece "Embryonic Journey". How Do You Feel and My Best Friend are also solid songs. A landmark album of psychedelic rock and the year 1967.
Great record. Never listened all the way through until now but I can still remember how taken I was when I heard White Rabbit for the first time. Still an all time song. Not a bad song in the bunch. Fantastic, important record. Hard to think of any peers to this even in terms of 60s psychadelia. One of a kind.
I should've been born in the early 50s. I love this genre. I was shameless singing and being judged by my dogs lol
I mean, yeah the big singles here are doing some carrying, but not by much. The whole album is stellar, front to back.
Loved it. Good vibes. Would listen to again.
Love this album! Almost every song could be played on radio
Tremendous variety on this one. Great instrumental folk, excellent blues, as well as the widely known psychedelia
didn’t know i needed jefferson airplane in my life but wow. this kind of blew me away
Big 60s energy without feeling too cliche. A fun listen for sure.
This album got me into psychedelic rock.
I love this album. As a ten year old when it first came out in 1967 I heard the singles White Rabbit and Somebody to Love on my a.m. radio and knew something was different. But it wasn't until years later when I discovered the band Hot Tuna that I went back and listen to the Jefferson Airplane collection. This album is one of their best. "Today", "Embryonic Journey", 3/5 of a Mile, "Come Back Baby"; all define a period and a gene.
Loved this - it sounds so psychedelic consistently throughout, yet each song feels like it's own. I heard so many sounds and riffs that influenced artists after this was released.
Great album. Folksy and relaxing yet stimulating.
Her neon mouth with the blinkers-off smile Nothing but an electric sign You could say she has an individual style She's a part of a colorful time Secrecy of lady-chrome-covered clothes You wear 'cause you have no other But I suppose no one knows You're my plastic fantastic lover Fucking hippies made an excellent album. They all turned out to be some of the most awful rotten people later! 5/5
Better than I expected. Good mix of hard hitting songs and calmer relaxed songs.
Last three songs - “White Rabbit,” especially - go hard.
Got better as it went along. 3.5
Monipuolinen levy, muttei liian. Muutama timanttikin joukossa, mut pari tylsää biisiä pudottaa arvosanaa
Great album, more than a 2 hit wonder
Didn't realize I knew so many songs! The hits were still my favorite (white rabbit, find somebody to love) but all of it was good
A fun foray into psychedelic rock. A couple bangers.
Have already listened
Good, not as psychedelic as I was expecting. More Beatles/mamas&papas/Simon and Garfunkel folk 60s vibes.
Classic. Love it.
Great album! Featuring White Rabbit and Somebody to love.
I really rather enjoyed this. There are plenty of good songs and the album has been put together really well, each song in exactly the spot it needed to be. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A fun listen.
Bangin and iconic.
Classic 60s Sound