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I post music clips at random intervals of songs and musicians I particularly enjoy. But to date I’ve been remiss in not posting any music from my all-time favorite singer-songwriter. A musician who has not only created some of the greatest rock music ever, but is otherwise incredibly vibrant. A musician who was ahead of her time in setting standards for “liberated” women.
A singer-songwriter who I also had a teen-aged crush on, and still deeply admire even after all these years.
I’m referring to Grace Slick of Great Society / Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship / Starship.
The first album I ever purchased as a teenager becoming interested in then-modern music (now referred to as “Classical Rock”) was “Blows Against The Empire” by the somewhat wild psychedelic music rock group “Jefferson Starship.” The year was 1970, and I had just landed my first job as a newspaper delivery boy with money to burn. Listening to that album got me mesmerized by the lead singer Grace Slick, and I began learning more about her and other music by the band. Which in turn led to what has become my lifelong love of rock music (much to my parents dismay at the time).
Grace Slick was a well-known singer of the 1970s and a public figure in her own right. The ever-wonderful Wikipedia gives her bio overview as:
Grace Slick (born Grace Barnett Wing; October 30, 1939) is an American artist, painter and retired singer-songwriter. Slick was a key figure in San Francisco’s early psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s. With a music career spanning four decades, she first performed with The Great Society, but is best known for her work with Jefferson Airplane and the subsequent successor bands Jefferson Starship and Starship. Slick and Jefferson Airplane first achieved fame with their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow, which included the top-ten Billboard hits “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”. She provided the lead vocals on both tracks. With Starship, she sang co-lead for two number one hits, “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”. She would also release four solo albums. Slick retired from music in 1990, but continues to be active in the visual arts field.Wikipedia: Grace Slick
An Original Life
Grace has not only led an unconventional life; she gloried in her unconventional and somewhat crazy life. Especially in her early years of the 1960s and 1970s, she helped define standards for women to live lives as independent persons. Which was a break from the conventions of that era as women being merely an appendage of their men-folk.
I read several interviews with her in the late 1970s, including one by Playboy Magazine (purchased for the articles of course). One anecdote I remember about Grace was the reason she used her married name “Grace Slick” instead of her maiden name “Grace Wing.” When she formed Jefferson Airplane, the group’s producer told her that with the band’s name, no one would believe “Grace Wing” was her real name, and so she shouldn’t use it on stage. This was just one tiny piece of the general craziness about her life that I can’t help enjoy.
My Music Collection(s)
In the mid 1970s I managed to build a nice collection of LP records. Especially the first year after I joined the Navy, I had the income and free time to indulge in expanding my music collection. Among the musical gems of that era I managed to collect several other Jefferson Airplane/Starship albums. Those albums were eventually left back at my Mom’s house when I went on sea duty, and had no room to keep these LPs with me. My two younger brothers Howard and Jeff, still living with Mom, effectively inherited them.
No one could have predicted that my brothers would demolish and otherwise make disappear my early music collection. But they did. My original copy of “Blows Against The Empire” was one of the albums that “disappeared,” a fact that I continue to remind my dear brother Dr. Jeffery about to this day. Because he’s still my little brother.
Starting about 25 years ago, when the newfangled “Compact Disc” (CD) music format effectively replaced LPs and cassette tapes as The music format, I started rebuilding my music collection. Over the years since, I’ve added many of the Great Society / Jefferson Airplane / Jefferson Starship / Starship albums to my collection. Including a CD version of “Blows Against The Empire.”
Grace Slick’s Music
In addition to her other work, Gace also recorded four solo albums. These tend to not be as well know as the work of the groups she was with, but these albums really showcase her musical talent. One song in particular speaks to me at my present stage of life – a senior citizen looking at retirement from a lifetime of working different jobs in multiple career fields. Not to mention all the other things I’ve achieved in my life, often despite people telling me I’d never achieve those accomplishments.
So for this blog post, I’m adding a YouTube video clip of Grace Slick’s solo song “Let It Go.” And I promise to start posting more of her music in future blog posts.
Edited: January 28, 2022 – Replaced Grace Slick’s “Dreams” musical video with the correct “Let it Go” musical video. “Dreams” will be featured in a future blog post.