Crown of Creation

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Crown of Creation
JA Crown-Of-Creation.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 18, 1968
RecordedFebruary – June 1968
StudioRCA Victor Studios, Hollywood
GenreAcid rock, psychedelic rock, folk rock
Length37:58
55:39 (2003 reissue)
LabelRCA Victor
ProducerAl Schmitt
Jefferson Airplane chronology
After Bathing at Baxter's
(1967)
Crown of Creation
(1968)
Bless Its Pointed Little Head
(1969)
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone(neutral)[2]
The Daily VaultA[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music5/5 stars[4]

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.[5]

While failing to eclipse Surrealistic Pillow (1967) from a commercial standpoint, the album was a considerable success in comparison to its immediate predecessor, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Pop Charts and earning a RIAA gold certification. Its two singles ("Greasy Heart", released in April 1968, followed by the title track in November) were modest hits on the Hot 100 chart.[6][7] It was voted number 591 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000).

Background[edit]

Prior to recording, the group had their manager and promoter Bill Thompson purchase a large 20-room, three-story, home at 2400 Fulton Street directly across from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco where the members would live communally. Costing $73,000,[8] the home, known as "The Airplane House" or simply "The Mansion" included a refurbished basement with a built-in recording studio.[9] The band became a tight grouping and much of their composing began at their new headquarters. The combination of individuals continued the experimentation and visionary lyrical compositions that made them quintessential in the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene.[10] Writing was generally equal among the group members as they all took part in one or more tracks.[11] The band intended Crown of Creation to be their personal reflections on commercialism, crime, and coming of age in the face of the bohemian enclave assimilated with San Francisco during this period.[12]

Recording[edit]

Recording took place in early 1968 well into the summer in RCA studios in which the band included distorted sound effects and guitar sections, and tracks enriched in overdubbing.[13] Stylistically it was their most diverse album to date, taking everything the band had attempted previously and developing to that point. The Airplane included heavy-rock jams similar to their live act, and folk-rock compositions, a nod to their work on Surrealistic Pillow.[11] Overall it was much more tightly structured than their previous effort. Track arrangements stand as complex and sophisticated further explaining why the band had no hit-ready singles.[9] Several guest musicians were involved in the development of the album including David Crosby, Bill Goodwin, and Tim Davis.[14] Jefferson Airplane was on a condensed schedule when considering their concerts and TV appearances. Sessions were completed in between their commitments, so recording was prolonged since they only had brief periods in which to work.[15]

Release[edit]

Crown of Creation was released in September 1968 to the United States in stereo as RCA LSP-4058 and in mono as RCA LPM-4058. It would be the last Jefferson Airplane album to be released in mono and their second and final album to reach the Top Ten, peaking at No. 6.[16] The group continued to struggle on the singles charts. Slick's composition and opening single, "Greasy Heart", stalled at No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its release in April 1968. The single fell off the charts in three weeks. The album cover artwork featured the band members' images duplicated in slightly different positions. In the background, there is a mushroom cloud from an atomic explosion courtesy of the USAF. Designing was produced by John Van Hamersveld in Los Angeles.[17] Vinyl release included a "Brumus sheet", which offered song lyrics, and credits with an image of Robert Kennedy's dog. The title track and second single, "Crown of Creation", fared better on the singles chart, but still only reached No. 64.

Thanks to the then-new FM radio, the band received airplay for lengthier tracks and whole albums which kept them relevant, especially in the counterculture of the US.[18][9]

Crown of Creation was released on compact disc on August 11, 2003. Four bonus tracks are included such as the Frank Zappa, Grace Slick cowritten track "Would You Like A Snack?".[19] Other tracks include the mono single mix of "Share A Little Joke", the previously unreleased eight-minute song, "The Saga of Sydney Spacepig" and "Ribump Ba Bup Bup", which is a combination of noises, sound effects, and pop culture catch phrases. Along with the four bonus tracks is a hidden track called "Candy Man".[20]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Lather[a]"Grace Slick2:55
2."In Time"Paul Kantner, Marty Balin4:07
3."Triad"David Crosby4:54
4."Star Track"Jorma Kaukonen3:09
5."Share a Little Joke"Balin3:04
6."Chushingura" (instrumental)Spencer Dryden1:17
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."If You Feel"Balin, Gary Blackman3:30
2."Crown of Creation" (lyric based on John Wyndham's "The Chrysalids"[21])Kantner2:52
3."Ice Cream Phoenix"Kaukonen, Charles Cockey2:59
4."Greasy Heart"Slick3:25
5."The House at Pooneil Corners"Kantner, Balin5:46
August 19, 2003 CD bonus tracks
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum" (instrumental)Dryden, William Goodwin1:32
13."Would You Like a Snack?" ([22])Frank Zappa, Slick2:40
14."Share a Little Joke" (single version B-side RCA #9496)Balin3:09
15."The Saga of Sydney Spacepig"Dryden7:55
16."Candy Man" (hidden track)Rev. Gary Davis2:25

1 Written in part for drummer Spencer Dryden's 30th birthday, and in part for bassist Jack Casady's arrest for nudity at Santa Cruz.

Personnel[edit]

Additional musicians
Production
  • Al Schmitt – producer
  • Richie Schmitt – engineer
  • Pat Ieraci – 8-Track
  • Hiro – cover and back photo
  • USAF – bomb photo, sometimes attributed to the Hiroshima detonation, but is in fact one of the US desert testing explosions.
  • J. Van Hamersveld – album design, art direction
  • Bill Laudner – road manager
  • Chick Casady – equipment manager
  • Bill Thompson – manager

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard Pop Albums 6

Single

Year Single Chart Position
1968 "Greasy Heart" Billboard Pop Singles 98
1968 "Crown of Creation" Billboard Pop Singles 64

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eder, Bruce (2011). "Crown of Creation – Jefferson Airplane | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
  2. ^ Miller, Jim (26 October 1968). "Jefferson Airplane: Crown of Creation : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. Retrieved 30 May 2014. Check date values in: |year= / |date= mismatch (help)
  3. ^ Bowling, David (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Crown of Creation". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  5. ^ "After Bathing at Baxter's". last.fm. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  6. ^ "Jefferson Airplane – Crown of Creation". guitarinternational.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  7. ^ "40 Albums Baby Boomers Loved". rollingstone.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  8. ^ "Bill Thompson Dead at 70". sfgate.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Alex Tamarkin (2003). Got A Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Google.com. ISBN 9780671034030. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Scenes of San Francisco Rock". rockument.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Product – Crown of Creation". Sundazed.com. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  12. ^ "Crown of Creation". britannica.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  13. ^ "Jefferson Airplane". warr.org. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  14. ^ "Crown of Creation – Back cover (credits)". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  15. ^ "Jefferson Airplane – Reviews". willardswormholes.com. Archived from the original on 2015-03-22. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Crown of Creation:Front cover
  17. ^ Crown of Creation:Rear cover
  18. ^ "Jefferson Airplane – Chart Listings". billboard.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  19. ^ "Crown of Creation – Bonus Tracks". discogs.com. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  20. ^ Woodstra, Chris; Bush, John; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2007). Guide Required Listening. Google.com. ISBN 9780879309176. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  21. ^ "Sampled with permission and most appropriately from John Wyndham's 'The Chrysalids', written specifically, originally, and humorously/ironically for and at the request of The Hubert Humphrey campaign for President, 1967 or -8 or so" - Kantner, Paul (2003). Lyrica – Paul Kantner's Theory of Everything. Little Dragon Press.
  22. ^ Frank Zappa is credited as the "leader" on "Would You Like a Snack?". Zappa bandmates Art Tripp, Ian Underwood and Don Preston also appear. Zappa released a song by the same name on 200 Motels, which is completely unrelated to the Jefferson Airplane track. The melody of that track is from Zappa's "Holiday in Berlin" composition, whereas the Jefferson Airplane track is an original composition. "Would You Like a Snack?" was first issued as part of the Jefferson Airplane Loves You box set in 1992. [1].
  23. ^ Drummer and co-founder of The Steve Miller Band.

Notes