Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra is the final solo album by Paul Kantner and the only Kantner solo release to be solely credited to the singer-songwriter. The title comes from an unofficial name for San Francisco artists who recorded on various albums in 1970–1973, also known as PERRO. "The Mountain Song" is dedicated "to David C, Jerry G, Graham N, Grace S, David F, Billy K and Mickey H and to one summer when all of our schedules almost didn't conflict," and was written during the 1970s recording sessions by Kantner and Jerry Garcia. On the album, Kantner utilizes many of his collaborators and family members to front an extended musical trip similar to his then-recent Jefferson Starship efforts.
Kantner had intended this record to be a soundtrack to a novel he was writing at the time. The album is the sequel to Kantner's Hugo Award nominated 1970 album Blows Against the Empire, and carries the sub-title "The Empire Blows Back." At the time of the album's release, the novel had not yet been completed but included with the album was an insert which explained the story. The insert describes a San Francisco band that develops telepathic amplification technology, which attracts the attention of various governments. The group attempts to escape to the safety of the Australian Outback, and joins a self-sufficient settlement of over 1500 people. The US government agents track the band down and attempt to take the technology for use in the Cold War. The telepathic children assist in creating a shield around the settlement that then escapes into space. Also included on the album insert were descriptions of what each song meant in the overall story. The full-length novel was later published by Kantner's own company, Little Dragon Press.
The novel includes notations for a full soundtrack which would have included (in the order indicated in the novel) :
Scott Mathews – guitar, percussion, pedal steel guitar, Linn drums, glass harmonica, vocoder, synthesizers on "Circle of Fire", saxophones on "Circle of Fire" and "The Sky Is No Limit", vocals on "Esperanto", mandolin on "Esperanto", harmonica on "Esperanto", piano on "Esperanto", organ on "Esperanto", bass drum on "Esperanto"
Ron Nagle – piano on "Esperanto", vocals on "Esperanto"