Long John Silver (album)

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Long John Silver
JA LongJohnSilver-Vinyl.JPG
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 20, 1972
RecordedMarch – May 1972
StudioWally Heider Studios, San Francisco
GenrePsychedelic rock
LabelGrunt/RCA Records
ProducerJefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane chronology
Long John Silver
Thirty Seconds Over Winterland
Alternative cover
Paper sleeve that came with the original vinyl LP release
Paper sleeve that came with the original vinyl LP release
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideC+[2]
Rolling Stone(not rated)[3]

Long John Silver is the seventh studio album by the American rock band Jefferson Airplane, and their last album of all new material until 1989. It was recorded and released in 1972 as Grunt FTR-1007.

Recording history[edit]

After several solo projects for Grunt Records, the members of Jefferson Airplane (including Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Joey Covington and Papa John Creach) came together again in March 1972 for the first time in the studio since the Bark album was released in September 1971. Sessions at Wally Heider Studios continued for nearly three months, but tensions were high and several songs were recorded by each member recording their own part separately.[4] David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young participated in the recording sessions, but Crosby's vocals were stripped from the record at the insistence of his label.

Joey Covington left the band during the sessions (accounts vary as to whether Covington was involuntarily dismissed); reflecting the balkanized milieu, veteran session drummer John Barbata (formerly of The Turtles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) and Hot Tuna's Sammy Piazza deputized for the rest of the recording process. Barbata ultimately replaced Covington, playing on all but three songs.

The album was completed in May and scheduled for release in July, but not before RCA forced the band to scrub a line from the song "The Son of Jesus" electronically, which referred to a "bastard son of Jesus".[5] Live versions of the song were performed with the offending line intact.

Release and promotion[edit]

Released on the band's Grunt Records imprint, the album was Jefferson Airplane's least successful effort since their 1966 debut, only peaking at #20 on the Billboard album chart.

In July, the band began a two-month tour of the United States, their first major tour since 1970. It featured a new line-up including Kantner, Slick, Kaukonen, Casady, Creach, Barbata and former Quicksilver Messenger Service bassist David Freiberg as an additional vocalist/percussionist. A close friend of Kantner from the early 1960s American folk music revival scene, Freiberg took over Marty Balin's harmony parts and selected leads on ensemble efforts (most notably "Wooden Ships") and "tried to keep the band together."[4] The tour ended in September at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom, with Balin joining for an encore. Live performances from the Chicago Auditorium Theatre and Winterland were released on the live album Thirty Seconds Over Winterland in 1973.

Original vinyl release[edit]

The original vinyl LP release (1972) featured an album cover that folded up into a replica of a cigar box. The record sleeve bore an image of cigars; this image was later used as cover art on CD releases. The inside bottom of the box was covered with a photograph of marijuana.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."Long John Silver"Grace SlickJack Casady4:22
2."Aerie (Gang of Eagles)"SlickSlick3:53
3."Twilight Double Leader"Paul KantnerKantner4:42
4."Milk Train"SlickPapa John Creach, Roger Spotts3:18
5."The Son of Jesus"KantnerKantner5:27
Side two
2."Trial by Fire"Jorma KaukonenKaukonen4:31
3."Alexander the Medium"KantnerKantner6:38
4."Eat Starch Mom"SlickKaukonen4:34


Additional personnel
  • Sammy Piazza – drums on "Trial by Fire"


  • Jefferson Airplane – producer, arrangements
  • Pat "Maurice the Magnificent" Ieraci – production coordinator
  • Don Gooch – engineer
  • Steve Barncard – special thanks
  • Pacific Eye & Ear – album concept, album design
  • Bob Tanenbaum, Propella Rotini – illustrations
  • Bruce Kinch – photography
  • Borris – weed. AKA Mike Trudnich
  • Recorded at the Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco



Year Chart Position
1972 Billboard Pop Albums 20


Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Long John Silver" Billboard Pop Singles 102


  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay (2011). "Long John Silver – Jefferson Airplane | AllMusic". allmusic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: J". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 27, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  3. ^ Bangs, Lester (2011). "Jefferson Airplane: Long John Silver : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". web.archive.org. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2011.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  4. ^ a b Tamarakin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-03403-0.
  5. ^ Sims, Judith (December 7, 1972). "Jefferson Airplane Tries Shock Rock". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. (123): 14.