Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane song)

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Original version by The Great Society, with band member Grace Slick doing lead vocals

"Somebody to Love", originally titled "Someone to Love", is a rock song that was written by Darby Slick and originally recorded by 1960s folk rock band The Great Society and later by the psychedelic counterculture rock band Jefferson Airplane. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jefferson Airplane's version No. 274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]

Great Society version[edit]

Written by Great Society guitarist Darby Slick[1] and first performed by that band, which included his then-sister-in-law Grace Slick on vocals, the song made little impact outside of the club circuit in the Bay Area. The song was released in 1966 as a single on the North Beach subsidiary of Autumn Records and received minimal circulation outside of San Francisco.

Jefferson Airplane version[edit]

"Somebody to Love"
Subsequent version by Jefferson Airplane, with band member Grace Slick doing lead vocals
Single by Jefferson Airplane
from the album Surrealistic Pillow
B-side "She Has Funny Cars"
Released April 1, 1967
Format Vinyl record (7") 45 RPM
Recorded November 3, 1966
Genre Rock
Length 3:01 (single version)
4:28 (Great Society version)
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Darby Slick
Producer(s) Rick Jarrard
Jefferson Airplane singles chronology
"Somebody to Love"
(1966)
"White Rabbit"
(1967)

When Grace Slick departed to join Jefferson Airplane, she took this song with her, bringing it to the Surrealistic Pillow sessions,[1] along with her own composition "White Rabbit". Subsequently, the Airplane's more ferocious rock and roll version became the band's first and biggest success; the single by Jefferson Airplane scored at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1]

"Somebody to Love" was also a track on their influential album released in February 1967, Surrealistic Pillow. Driven by Slick's forceful vocal, the song's hard-rock sound was atypical of the group's more folk-oriented psychedelia that comprised most of their previous style and some of the album. The lyrics are in the second person, with each two-line verse setting a scene of alienation and despair, and the chorus repeating the title of the song, with slight variations such as: "... / Don't you need somebody to love? / Wouldn't you love somebody to love? / ..." Like the album on which it appeared, this song was instrumental in publicizing the existence of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture to the rest of the United States.

Personnel[edit]

Use in media[edit]

This version appears in the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when Raoul Duke reminisces about the first time he took LSD at The Matrix club in San Francisco in 1967. The song is also played during prologue in TV movie A Bright Shining Lie (1998), and in A Home at the End of the World (2004).

In the 1996 film The Cable Guy, Jim Carrey performs a karaoke version as his character Ernie "Chip" Douglas. Carrey's version is also on the movie's soundtrack.

The full, vocal version of the song can also be heard on a radio in the beginning of the Paramount film Four Brothers.

The song works as a metaphorical framing device for the Coen brothers' film A Serious Man. The senior Rabbi (Rabbi Marshak) quotes a slightly altered version of the first two lines of the song in his meeting with Danny following Danny's bar mitzvah.

The song is featured in episode five of season two of Being Human as the vampire Mitchell explores his residual humanity, through a relationship with a mortal woman.

The song was played on episode 3 of ITV drama Marchlands.

The song is a downloadable content for Rock Band 3.

The song is featured in the 1981 animated movie, American Pop, directed by Ralph Bakshi.

Boogie Pimps version[edit]

"Somebody to Love"
Single by Boogie Pimps
Released 11 January 2004
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded 2003
Genre Electronic
Length 2:59
Label Housesession
Writer(s) Darby Slick
Producer(s) Mark J Klak, Mirko Jacob
Certification Gold (UK)
Boogie Pimps singles chronology
"Somebody to Love" "Sunny"
(2004)

It was the debut single by German electronic music duo Boogie Pimps. It is a remixed version of the song. It was released on 11 January 2004 and reached number three on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Music video[edit]

The song is also well known for its iconic music video, which was an instant hit in the UK. It features several infants sky diving out of an aeroplane towards a giant woman (Natasha Mealey) lying on a grassy hill country landscape in her underwear, singing the song. One of the babies cries as his parachute malfunctions and he lands on the woman's breast, causing him to bounce and survive the fall (a possible reference to premature ejaculation). This is proven by the seven babies being apparent before and after the parachute jump, in a star formation, and sitting on her left breast after landing on her waist and breast area. The video ends with the woman taking a giant baby bottle and squirting milk all over the camera.

Other versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "500 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME". Rolling Stone. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 71. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]