The story behind the song "White Rabbit" - Jefferson Airplane
April '71 was marked by a scandal: the Illinois state authorities officially added "White Rabbit" to the list of "drug-oriented rock records". The list included many hits of that time. And decades later, the band's visage received an honourable place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "White Rabbit" entered the rating of the best tracks of all times. It became a landmark for lead singer Grace Slick, the author of music and lyrics, who performed this composition on stage while performing with The Great Society. But it was Jefferson Airplane who recorded the track.
The lyrics refer to Lewis Carroll's character Alice, one of Grace's favourites. What this song is about is clear to anyone who has read Carroll's books - there are a lot of allusions, many of them quite transparently describing drug addiction. And there are grounds for this, of course - there is no smoke without fire.
Like many representatives of rock music of the 60s, Grace belonged to the generation of "progressive youth". Speaking about the creation of the song, she confided to a journalist:
I took "acid" and listened to the Miles Davis album "Sketches of Spain" for a full twenty-four hours until it was burned into my brain.
The singer herself recognised that the rhythm of the melody was inspired by Maurice Ravel's Bolero. As Grace commented, the main character of the song strives to learn new things, and this encourages him to leave everything familiar behind. It should be taken into account that Grace's generation considered psychedelic substances like LSD a good way to reach an altered state of consciousness and expand the boundaries of perception. It was a real taste of life.
From an interview with Grace:
We all know those stories where you take something and here's an adventure. Alice is a prime example of that. She's just stoned, though: getting too big for the room while the caterpillar sits on a psychedelic mushroom and smokes opium. In The Wizard of Oz, they end up in a field of opium poppies, after which they see the Emerald City. "Peter Pan?" Sprinkle a little cocaine on your head and you're flying.
The White Rabbit and Woodstock achievements.
In June 1967, the legendary composition was released as a single from the album "Surrealistic Pillow". It reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was Jefferson Airplane's second track in the top ten.
This song is a real hit of "Summer of Love" and was brilliantly played by the band at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Earlier it was mentioned that the song was recognised in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And it was also included in the "500 Greatest in History", according to "Rolling Stone" magazine.