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The Great Society
|Origin||San Francisco, California, United States|
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, acid rock|
|Labels||Northbeach, Challenge, Columbia, Sundazed|
|Associated acts||Jefferson Airplane|
|Past members|| Darby Slick |
Peter van Gelder
The Great Society (also known as The Great!! Society!!) was a 1960s San Francisco rock band that existed from 1965 to 1966, and was closely associated with the burgeoning Bay Area acid rock scene. Best known as the original group of model-turned-singer Grace Slick, the initial line-up of the band also featured her then-husband Jerry Slick on drums, his brother Darby Slick on guitar, David Miner on vocals and guitar, Bard DuPont on bass, and Peter van Gelder on flute, bass, and saxophone. Miner and DuPont did not remain with the band for the duration of its existence.
In the late summer of 1965, Grace, Darby, and Jerry were inspired by The Beatles to start their own group.Grace has said that seeing Jefferson Airplane perform for the first time was an influence as well. The band made its debut at the Coffee Gallery in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood on October 15, 1965 and continued to perform throughout 1966.
The band released only one single during its lifetime, the Darby Slick-penned "Someone to Love" (the "B" side to "Free Advice"). The single was issued in February 1966 on Autumn Records' a tiny Northbeach subsidiary label and made little impact outside of the Bay Area.While signed to Autumn Records, the band worked with the label's staff producer Sylvester Stewart (better known as Sly Stone), who at the time was still in the process of forming Sly and the Family Stone. Purportedly, Stewart eventually walked out as the band's producer after it took The Great Society over 50 takes to record a version of the song "Free Advice" that was suitable for release.
Momentum for the band began to build as they started opening for Jefferson Airplane and other successful local bands, with Columbia Records offering The Great Society a recording contract. However, by the time the contract arrived in the mail, Grace had decided to replace departing vocalist Signe Toly Anderson in the Airplane.Because Grace had been both the visual and musical focal point, the band could not survive without her and disbanded in the fall of 1966. Grace and Jerry Slick soon divorced.
The Airplane recorded "Someone to Love" (retitled as "Somebody to Love") and Grace's own "White Rabbit" for Surrealistic Pillow . 5 and No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. To capitalize on Grace's fame with the Airplane, Columbia Records released tapes of live performances by The Great Society on the 1968 albums Conspicuous Only in Its Absence and How It Was. All of those performances were recorded at The Matrix, a small nightclub in the Cow Hollow neighborhood of San Francisco, and its house band was the Airplane. These two albums were repackaged as a double LP titled Collector's Item in 1971. This double album has been issued twice on CD, once by Edsel Records in 1989 (under the title Live at the Matrix) and in 2008 by Columbia under its original title. In 1995, Sundazed Records released the Born to Be Burned compilation, featuring both sides of the band's debut single along with a number of previously unreleased studio recordings. (There is an error on the Sundazed CD; Track 1 is listed as being the issued take of "Free Advice" on the Northbeach single. This is wrong; the issued take is in fact track 16, with a slight edit at the end.)Both songs were released as singles in 1967, reaching No.
"The Great Society" was a popular name for musical groups in the 1960s due to the popularity of the term as used by Lyndon B. Johnson's administration for his Great Society. On one occasion, in Fort Worth, Texas, The Great Society (with Grace Slick) and a similarly named four-man group performed on opposite sides of the city on the same evening.
|Album||Label||Year Released||Year Recorded||Details|
|Conspicuous Only in Its Absence 1||Columbia||1968||1966||Live recordings released following the success of Jefferson Airplane|
|How It Was||Columbia||1968||1966||Additional live recordings released following the success of Jefferson Airplane|
|Collector's Item||Columbia||1971||1966||2-LP reissue of the previous two Columbia albums|
|Live at the Matrix||Edsel/Demon||1989||1966||British reissue of the same live material previously released on Columbia|
|Born to Be Burned||Sundazed||1995||1965||Archival material including previously unreleased studio recordings from the sessions that produced their Northbeach single|
1A live concert version of "Somebody to Love" from this album was included on the 1968 Columbia Records' sampler, Rock Machine - I Love You .
Jefferson Airplane was an American rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Area to achieve international commercial success. They were headliners at the Monterey Pop Festival (1967), Woodstock (1969), Altamont Free Concert (1969), and the first Isle of Wight Festival (1968) in England. Their 1967 break-out album Surrealistic Pillow ranks on the short list of the most significant recordings of the Summer of Love. Two songs from that album, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit", are among Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
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.
"Somebody to Love" is a rock song that was written by Darby Slick. It was originally recorded by The Great Society, and later by Jefferson Airplane. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jefferson Airplane's version No. 274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Grace Slick 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.
Crown of Creation is the fourth studio album by the San Francisco psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, and was released by RCA Victor in September 1968. It saw the band continuing their development of psychedelic music from their previous album, After Bathing at Baxter's.
"White Rabbit" is a song written by Grace Slick and recorded by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane for their 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow. It was released as a single and became the band's second top-10 success, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was ranked number 478 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and Number 116 on Rate Your Music's Top Singles of All Time and appears on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Jefferson Airplane is the eighth and final studio album by San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, released on Epic Records in 1989. Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady all returned for the album and supporting tour, though Spencer Dryden did not participate. The album and accompanying tour would mark the last time Jefferson Airplane would perform together until their 1996 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The Matrix was a nightclub in San Francisco from 1965 to 1972 and was one of the keys to what eventually became known as the "San Francisco Sound" in rock music. Located at 3138 Fillmore Street, The Matrix opened August 13, 1965 showcasing Jefferson Airplane, which singer Marty Balin had put together as the club's "house band". Balin had persuaded three limited partners to put up $3,000 apiece to finance the club's opening, giving them 75 percent ownership, while he retained 25 percent for creating and managing it.
Autumn Records was a 1960s San Francisco-based pop record label. Among the notable acts on its roster was The Beau Brummels, a band who released a pair of top 20 singles, "Laugh, Laugh" and "Just a Little".
Last Flight is an authorized recording released in the United Kingdom, taken from the last live performance of the San Francisco rock group Jefferson Airplane prior to the band's dissolution in 1972. The concert was held at the Winterland Arena in San Francisco, and selected tracks were released on the 1973 album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland. Last Flight consists of the entire concert with the exception of the encore, Marty Balin's "You Wear Your Dresses Too Short", previously released on the Jefferson Airplane Loves You box-set. Balin sings lead vocals on "Volunteers" much to the surprise of the audience since he left the band in late 1970.
Jefferson Airplane Loves You is a three-CD boxed set of recordings by the San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane with extensive liner notes by Jeff Tamarkin, author of the Jefferson Airplane history Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane.
At Golden Gate Park is an authorized release in the United Kingdom of a recording of the concert given on May 7, 1969, by the San Francisco, psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
The Platinum & Gold Collection is part of Arista Records' Platinum & Gold Collection. Recorded between 1966 & 1969, this compilation serves as a primer for both the early years of Jefferson Airplane and the golden age of psychedelic rock. The songs were variously produced by Matthew Katz, Tommy Olive, Rick Jarrad, Al Schmitt, and Paul Kantner.
At the Family Dog Ballroom is a recording of a 1969 performance by the San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane at the Family Dog Ballroom in San Francisco. Released on CD in the United Kingdom, the album is a digipak offering of material only recently rediscovered. A poster is included.
The Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra is a nickname given to artists who recorded together in the early 1970s. They were predominantly members of Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Crosby, Stills and Nash. Their first album together was Blows Against the Empire, when they were known as Jefferson Starship.
Born to Be Burned is a compilation album by the San Francisco garage rock and psychedelic rock band The Great Society. The album is made up of material recorded during the band's short-lived association with Autumn Records in 1965, with the majority of it being previously unreleased. The exceptions to this are the songs "Someone to Love" and "Free Advice", which had both been issued as a single on Northbeach Records, a subsidiary of Autumn Records, in February 1966.
Conspicuous Only in Its Absence is an album by the American psychedelic rock band The Great Society and was released in 1968 by Columbia Records. The album consists of recordings made during a live concert performance by the band at The Matrix club in San Francisco in 1966. Additional recordings from the same concert were released later in 1968 on the album How It Was. These two albums were repackaged in 1971 as a double album called Collector's Item.
Live at the Monterey Festival is a live album by the San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane, which was released in the United Kingdom and Europe by Thunderbolt Records in 1991. The album was authorized by the band and features the entire set from the group's June 17, 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. The album marked the first time that Jefferson Airplane's entire Monterey Pop Festival performance had been given a release by a legitimate record company.
Dabney Roger "Darby" Slick is an American guitarist and songwriter, best known as a former member of The Great Society, and as the writer of the Jefferson Airplane song "Somebody to Love." In 1965, he co-founded The Great Society with his brother Jerry Slick, Jenn Piersol, and his sister-in-law Grace Slick. Darby played lead guitar and occasionally performed backup vocals early on and less often towards the disbanding. He wrote some other songs for The Great Society, including "Free Advice" and "Darkly Smiling."
Darby Marie Gould is an American vocalist best known for her work with Jefferson Starship and World Entertainment War. Over the years she has developed a loyal following based on her passionate, soulful vocals and intense stage presence.