This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #462: Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane.
I was still in diapers when Jefferson Airplane formed in 1965 in San Fransisco. The band consisted of Grace Slick (vocals), Marty Balin, Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen (guitars/vocals), Jack Casady (bass guitar) and Spencer Dryden (drums). Jefferson Airplane were one of the founding groups that gave rise to the West Coast Rock Movement (along with bands such as The Grateful Dead) and, in particular, the songs that made up “The Summer of Love”. Jefferson Airplane were given headlining slots at some very famous music festivals such as Woodstock, Monterey Pop Festival, as well as, the now infamous, Altamont Free Concert. They were inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
The song, “Somebody to Love” was originally written by Grace Slick’s Brother-in-Law, Darby Slick. The intent of the song was to talk about Love, not as something that one hoped to find if one was lucky. But, instead, Love was something that you gave of yourself to find. It was very much in keeping with the West Coast vibe at the time of getting what you give and giving what you get. This song, along with “White Rabbit” were what really launched Jefferson Airplane as a band. Performances of “Somebody to Love” are noted for their intensity, as well as for Grace Slick’s powerful vocals and stage presence.
As happens to many bands, Jefferson Airplane broke up several years later with Kantner, Dryden and Slick staying together to form Jefferson Starship which many years later ended up simply becoming Starship. My wife favours this final version of the band because she likes the songs, “We Built This City”, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and “Sara”. Regardless as to whether you are a fan of the original Psychedelic Rock players from Jefferson Airplane or the Pop stylings of Starship, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner and company have dedicated a lifetime toward creating and playing some of the most memorable hits in music history. The video you are about to see denotes that role in music history very well. It is their performance from the original Woodstock concert in 1969. This performance was given around 8:00 in the morning on the final day of the festival. What a way to start the day!!!! What a showstopper Grace Slick is in this video! Enjoy.
There is an official Jefferson Airplane website that can be reached by clicking here.
Whenever I hear this song now, all I can think about is Jim Carrey absolutely killing it in lip sync-mode during a scene from the movie The Cable Guy. To view a true master at work, click on the link here.
Thanks to Rolling Stone Magazine for helping to inspire me to create this post. A link to their website can be found here.
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