Somebody to Love (Jefferson Airplane song)

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"Somebody to Love"
Somebody to Love - Jefferson Airplane.jpg
Single cover
Single by Jefferson Airplane
from the album Surrealistic Pillow
B-side"She Has Funny Cars"
ReleasedApril 1, 1967 (1967-04-01)
RecordedNovember 3, 1966
StudioRCA, Hollywood, California
Genre
Length2:54
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)Darby Slick
Producer(s)Rick Jarrard
Jefferson Airplane singles chronology
"My Best Friend"
(1966)
"Somebody to Love"
(1967)
"White Rabbit"
(1967)
Audio
"Somebody to Love" on YouTube

"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.[2]

Background[edit]

Written by The Great Society guitarist Darby Slick[2] 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 recorded on December 4, 1965, and released in February 1966 as a single with the B-side another Darby Slick composition titled "Free Advice" on the Northbeach label (Northbeach 1001) and received minimal circulation outside of San Francisco.[3] San Francisco in the mid-1960s 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.[4] However, the lyrics do not treat love as something that randomly happens to a person, but rather as an action that a person, male or female, may choose to take. This subtle but profound difference in philosophy places this song in opposition to songs that speak of "falling in love" as if love is something that happens to a person outside of their conscious intention.

Re-recording[edit]

When Grace Slick departed to join Jefferson Airplane, she took this song with her, bringing it to the Surrealistic Pillow sessions,[2] 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.[2] 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."[4] 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.

Reception[edit]

Billboard described the song as a "wild dance number loaded with vocal excitement," calling it a "hard driver, featuring powerful female vocal in the lead [which] never stops from start to finish."[5] Cash Box called the single a "bright, pulsating, rhythmic, sometimes-frenetic, funky rock outing."[6] Brett Milano of udiscovermusic.com rated Jorma Kaukonen's psychedelic guitar solo at the end of the song as one of the 100 all-time greatest, stating that it opens "with those three sustained wailing notes and [closes] with those sign-off chords that leave the song forever unresolved."[7]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[15] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[16] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Commercial usage[edit]

A Serious Man[edit]

Jefferson Aiplane's studio release was used at the beginning of the Coen brothers' A Serious Man, just after the opening short story about the dybbuk and the title graphic. The Coens invited their longtime musical scorer, Carter Burwell, to compose a musical bridge for the title graphic to help transition from a pre-WWII Ashkenazi shtetl to St. Louis Park, Minnesota in 1967, where Danny Gopnik is listening to the song on an earpiece during his Hebrew language class at school. Burwell responded by adding a dark, brooding introduction to Somebody To Love using the same model electric guitar and bass used in the original studio recording, and played through similar amps by selected musicians. Referring to the sound fidelity, Burwell commented, "...it was difficult to reduce our overall sound quality to that of the original recording. We did our best."[17][18][19]

Boogie Pimps version[edit]

"Somebody to Love"
Boogie Pimps StL remix cover.jpg
Saltshaker Remix cover
Single by Boogie Pimps
ReleasedApril 7, 2003 (2003-04-07)
StudioPhuture Wax Soundlab (Germany)[20]
Length2:59
Label
Songwriter(s)Darby Slick
Producer(s)
  • Mark J Klak
  • Mirko Jacob
Boogie Pimps singles chronology
"Somebody to Love"
(2003)
"Sunny"
(2004)
Music video
"Somebody to Love" on YouTube

A remix of "Somebody to Love" was the debut single of German electronic music duo Boogie Pimps. It was first released in Germany in April 2003 and became a worldwide hit the following year, reaching No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 7 on the Irish Singles Chart. The song also became a top-twenty hit in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands. In most of these territories, this was their only hit single, as the follow-up single "Sunny" failed to chart.[21]

Background and release[edit]

In December 2001, Mark J. Klak and Mirko Jacob of Boogie Pimps decided to cover the song after watching the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which "Somebody to Love" is featured. The band's result initially failed to attract attention from German record labels, but the song soon became popular via underground white label releases.[22] It was then picked up by German label Superstar Recordings and released as an official single on April 7, 2003.[23] In the United Kingdom, it was released on January 5, 2004, while in Australia, it was issued as a CD single on January 26, 2004.[24][25]

Track listings[edit]

German maxi-CD single[20][23]

  1. "Somebody to Love" (radio edit) – 3:30
  2. "Somebody to Love" (radio mix (clear)) – 3:46
  3. "Somebody to Love" (main club mix) – 5:10
  4. "Somebody to Love" (Moonbootica mix) – 6:54
  5. "Somebody to Love" (ClubReise (Mirko Jacob mix)) – 5:24
  6. "Somebody to Love" (CaterpillarClassich (Mark J Klak mix)) – 7:10

UK CD single[26]

  1. "Somebody to Love" (radio edit)
  2. "Somebody to Love" (DJ Flex executive edit)
  3. "Somebody to Love" (Pimps club mix)
  4. "Somebody to Love" (DJ Flex executive remix)
  5. "Somebody to Love" (Ian Knowles remix)
  6. "Somebody to Love" (CD-ROM video)

Australian CD single[23][27]

  1. "Somebody to Love" (radio edit) – 2:59
  2. "Somebody to Love" (club mix) – 6:02
  3. "Somebody to Love" (DJ Flex & Sandy Wilhelm executive remix) – 7:38
  4. "Somebody to Love" (Santos Somebody to Rock remix) – 6:47
  5. "Somebody to Love" (Santos Another Planet remix) – 7:48
  6. "Somebody to Love" (Raymond Barry remix) – 5:33

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[50] Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Silver 200,000double-dagger

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Germany April 7, 2003 (2003-04-07) Maxi-CD Superstar [23]
United Kingdom January 5, 2004 (2004-01-05)
  • 12-inch vinyl
  • CD
Data [24]
Australia January 26, 2004 (2004-01-26) CD
[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Starr, Larry (2008). Rock: A Canadian Perspective. Oxford Univ Pr. p. 175. ISBN 978-0195427615.
  2. ^ a b c d "500 GREATEST SONGS OF ALL TIME". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  3. ^ Richie Unterberger. "Darby Slick | Biography & History". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Somebody To Love by Jefferson Airplane Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Archived from the original on April 8, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  5. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. March 18, 1967. p. 10. Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  6. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. March 18, 1967. p. 16. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  7. ^ Milano, Brett (September 11, 2020). "The Best Guitar Solos: 100 Hair-Raising Moments". udiscovermusic.com. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967, June 17, 1967". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 27, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  9. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  10. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 17, 1967". Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
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  12. ^ RPM Top 100 Singles of 1967 Archived August 12, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Musicoutfitters.com". Archived from the original on October 5, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  14. ^ "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 23, 1967". Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "British single certifications – Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  16. ^ "American single certifications – Jefferson Airplane – Somebody to Love". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  17. ^ staff. "Carter Burwell on A Serious Man's score". Focus Features. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  18. ^ Schwartz, David. "Behind The Music (Composer Carter Burwell on his creative process and his favorite scores)". Museum Of The Moving Image. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  19. ^ Burwell, Carter. "A Serious Man (project)". Carter Burwell (personal website). Carter Burwell/The Body, Inc. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  20. ^ a b Somebody to Love (Saltshaker Remix) (German maxi-CD single liner notes). Boogie Pimps. Superstar Recordings. 2003. 5050466-5310-2-5.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  21. ^ "Boogie Pimps – Sunny (song)". australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  22. ^ Masterton, James (January 11, 2004). "Week Ending January 17th 2004". Chart Watch UK. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
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  24. ^ a b "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. December 27, 2003. p. 31.
  25. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: New Releases Singles – Week Commencing 26th January 2004" (PDF). ARIA. January 26, 2004. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 9, 2004. Retrieved May 17, 2021.
  26. ^ Somebody to Love (Saltshaker Remix) (UK CD single liner notes). Boogie Pimps. Data Records. 2004. DATA61CDS.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  27. ^ Somebody to Love (Saltshaker Remix) (Australian CD single liner notes). Boogie Pimps. Data Records, Ministry of Sound. 2004. MOSCD5036.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  28. ^ "Boogie Pimps – Somebody to Love". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  29. ^ "The ARIA Report – ARIA Club Tracks – Week Commencing 22nd December 2003" (PDF). ARIA. December 22, 2003. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2004. Retrieved August 28, 2020.
  30. ^ "Issue 728" ARIA Top 50 Dance Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
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  34. ^ "Boogie Pimps: Somebody to Love" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
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  51. ^ "British single certifications – Boogie Pimps – Somebody to Love". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 25, 2022.

External links[edit]