Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane song)
|"Somebody to Love"|
|Single by Jefferson Airplane|
|from the album Surrealistic Pillow|
|B-side||"She Has Funny Cars"|
|Released||April 1, 1967|
|Recorded||November 3, 1966|
|Studio||RCA, Hollywood, California|
|Jefferson Airplane singles chronology|
"Somebody to Love" (originally titled "Someone to Love") is a rock song that was written by Darby Slick. It was originally recorded by The Great Society, and later by Jefferson Airplane. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jefferson Airplane's version No. 274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Written by The Great Society guitarist Darby Slick after realizing his girlfriend had left him, 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 with the B-side another Darby Slick composition titled "Free Advice" on the North Beach subsidiary of Autumn Records, and received minimal circulation outside of San Francisco. San Francisco in the mid-'60s was the center of free love, but Darby Slick saw a downside to this ethos, as it could lead to jealousy and disconnect. This song champions loyalty and monogamy, as the singer implores us to find that one true love that will nurture us and get us through the tough times.
When Grace Slick departed to join Jefferson Airplane, she took this song with her, bringing it to the Surrealistic Pillow sessions, 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, reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. The group's first hit song, "Somebody To Love" was also one of the first big hits to come out of the US West Coast and San Francisco Bay area counterculture scene, to which numerous artists and musicians would be drawn over the following few years.
Slick's original performance of the song with The Great Society is more subdued, with the Jefferson Airplane version sounding far more accusatory and menacing on lines such as "Your mind is so full of red" and "Your friends, baby, they treat you like a guest." 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.
- Grace Slick – lead vocals
- Marty Balin – tambourine, backing vocals
- Jorma Kaukonen – lead guitar (Gibson ES-335)
- Paul Kantner – rhythm guitar (Rickenbacker 360/12)
- Jack Casady – bass (Fender Precision Bass)
- Spencer Dryden – drums
- Japanese rock band The Mops covered it on their 1968 debut album Psychedelic Sounds in Japan.
- Aguaturbia covered the song in 1969 on their self-titled debut LP. Their cover version is titled "Alguien Para Amar".
- The Lambrettas (a British mod-revival band) released "Somebody to Love" as a single on Elton John's Rocket label in 1982.
- Irish band In Tua Nua covered the song in 1985.
- South African Hi-NRG group Café Society covered the song in 1984.
- It was covered by Angry Samoans on their 1986 EP, Yesterday Started Tomorrow (with some lyric changes).
- The Serbian hard rock band Cactus Jack recorded a version on their live cover album DisCover in 2002.
- The song also received cover versions by Mother's Finest.
- Great White covered it in 1992 on their album Psycho City.
- W.A.S.P. in their 1995's album Still Not Black Enough.
- The Ramones (with background vocals by Traci Lords) on their 1993 cover album Acid Eaters.
- Jim Carrey on the soundtrack of the film The Cable Guy.
- It was the debut single by German electronic music duo Boogie Pimps released on 11 January 2004 and reached number three on the UK Singles Chart.
- Salsoul Orchestra on the album Salsoul Orchestra.
- Kasabian covered it on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.
- Lo-Fi artist Zola Jesus covered it, featuring Dead Luke
- Chaud covered the song on her 2010 EP The Black Market Revealed
- Alice Gold covered the song on BBC Radio 2.
- Russian band Mumiy Troll covered the song in 2010.
- Marcella Detroit, as Marcy Levy, covered the song on the American Pop Soundtrack.
- Barbara and Ernie covered the song on their 1971 folk/funk album "Prelude to..."
- Mandy Morton of Spriguns of Tolgus on her 1983 solo album "Valley of Light"
- Saint Privat released a single cover in 2006, also featured in their album Superflu.
- Agent Orange covered the song on their album "When you Least Expect It".
- In 2015, The Jefferson Airplane version was heavily sampled by House producers, Mr. Belt & Wezol and Freejak, released on Spinnin' Deep.
- In 2015, DeAnna Johnson covered the song on The Voice.
- In 2017, the chorus melody was incorporated into the theme music for the film The Boss Baby by Hans Zimmer and Steve Mazzaro
- Starr, Larry (2008). Rock: A Canadian Perspective. Oxford Univ Pr. p. 175. ISBN 978-0195427615.
- "500 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME". Rolling Stone.
- Richie Unterberger. "Darby Slick | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
- "Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2016-10-01.
- RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967, June 17, 1967
- Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
- Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 17, 1967
- RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967 Archived 2016-08-12 at the Wayback Machine.
- Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 23, 1967
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 71. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.