“Surrealistic Pillow” is the sophomore album from American band Jefferson Airplane released on February 1, 1967. The year prior, following the moderately successful debut “Jefferson Airplane Takes off,” the band’s line up was left in limbo after both the original drummer and vocalist departed the group over creative differences. Drummer Skip Spence was replaced by Charlie Chaplin’s nephew Spencer Dryden while female vocalist Grace Slick was courted from her previous band the Great Society as a replacement for Signe Toly Anderson. This newly formed six-piece from San Francisco quickly went to work crafting a record capturing the growing bohemian aesthetic of the Bay Area’s counterculture scene. While the extent to which is still highly contested to this day, the band enlisted the help of influential Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia in some capacity. In the ‘60s Garcia appeared in the RCA label credits of “Surrealistic Pillow” as well as the “Flight Log” compilation and the “Jefferson Airplane Loves You” box set. The album’s producer Rick Jarrard as well as the band’s manager Bill Thompson denies Garcia’s input beyond playing one of the guitars on “In the Morning,” an unused song that eventually made its way onto reissues, while Garcia contends a very different version of events with the band members themselves notably playing coy over the years in interviews. Allegedly, Garcia’s guitar playing can be heard on “Today,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” and “Coming Back to Me” while he claims credit for rearranging the group’s biggest hit “Somebody to Love.” According to several sources, Garcia’s comment about the album’s music being “as surrealistic as a pillow is soft” reportedly even inspired the album’s eventual title. Despite the Grateful Dead connection, Jefferson Airplane’s “Surrealistic Pillow” was a landmark recording that elevated the genres of acid, folk, fusion, and psychedelic rock. The album consistently ranks among critics “Best of All Time” lists and has since garnered platinum certification. Take a ride on the thirty-minute trip that provides the in-flight entertainment of pivotal rock radio staples like “My Best Friend,” “Today,” and the Billboard top 10 hits “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love” by streaming the 2003 reissue now on Spotify!
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