Happy Birthday Grace Slick: Jefferson Airplane Performs At Wally Heider’s Studio In 1970

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Today (October 30), marks the legendary Grace Slick’s 80th birthday. While she is best known for her work as a vocalist in the seminal San Francisco psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, Grace got her start in Bay Area group The Great Society in 1965. Somewhat frustrated with the lack of direction in The Great Society, Slick would soon replace singer Signe Toly Anderson in Jefferson Airplane.

Jefferson Airplane would go on to score two Top 10 hits with songs that Slick originally penned while she was in The Great Society: “White Rabbit” and “Someone To Love.” These songs and others made Grace’s powerful mezzo-soprano voice iconic in rock history. Slick and Airplane were also involved in the socio-political activism of the time and their 1969 album, Volunteers, showcased their revolutionary spirit.

Renowned sound engineer Wally Heider, who was integral in capturing the sound of a number of late ’60s San Francisco bands, recorded Volunteers at his state-of-the-art studio. Among guests appearing on the album are Jerry Garcia, Stephen Stills, David Crosby and famed session pianist Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones).

After the album’s release in November of 1969, Airplane returned to Heider’s studio in early 1970 to capture a number of the songs from Volunteers live on film including “We Can Be Together,” the title track and the Paul Kantner/ Crosby/Stills co-write “Wooden Ships.” The live performance includes classics like “Somebody To Love,” “Plastic Fantastic Lover” and more. The band also chats about the heady times they found themselves in.

To celebrate Grace Slick’s 80th birthday, check out the entire performance below:

Setlist (Jefferson Airplane At Wally Heider’s Studio February 4, 1970)

  • 0:00:00 – We Can Be Together
  • 0:05:43 – Volunteers
  • 0:09:20 – Interviews
  • 0:10:13 – Mexico
  • 0:12:32 – Interview
  • 0:12:58 – Plastic Fantastic Lover
  • 0:16:31 – Somebody To Love
  • 0:21:16 – Interview
  • 0:21:58 – Emergency
  • 0:26:37 – Wooden Ships