The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

 |   |  1 min read

The Great! Society: Somebody to Love (1966)

There were at least three different versions of this psychedelic classic which is best known in its third incarnation by Jefferson Airplane. But the song dated back to before that '66 single/album track -- back to the band that singer Grace Slick was in before she joined the Airplane.

Her previous group -- with her husband Jerry and his brother Darby, who wrote this -- was The Great! Society and their first recordings were produced by a local San Francisco DJ called Sylvester Stewart, later to become famous as Sly Stone.

Somebody to Love -- written when Darby was coming off an acid trip and learned his girlfriend had spent the night with another man -- was their first single, recorded as Someone to Love in November '65 and released the following February.

By Darby's account that version was "sadder" than the Airplane's version: "I'm not saying it was better, but there was a sharper contrast between the verse and the chorus. Everybody who heard said, 'This is a hit' and as soon as the Airplane heard it, those guys were also saying 'This is a hit'."

The single was sent out as a promo copy but never sold in stores. Then the song got a second life when it was recorded live at the Matrix Club in June '66, which is this version here, and was released after Slick had moved on and joined Jefferson Airplane.

A more raw and garageband treatment, it was by all accounts a much superior version to that of the obscure single.

"Everything about the Society, from the performers to the material," wrote Alec Palao in the liner notes to the San Francisco psychedelic collection Love is the Song We Sing, "was striking and innovative, and at this very moment they were at the top of the heap of the city's rock pile -- to be gone in just a handful of weeks."

For more one-offs, oddities and song with an interesting backstory check the daily updates From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Brian Eno and Snatch: RAF (1978)

Brian Eno and Snatch: RAF (1978)

The idea of “found sound” was hardly new when Brian Eno, Judy Nylon and Patti Palladin (aka Snatch) and Eno's then-familiar crew of Phil Collins (drums), bassist Percy Jones and... > Read more

Helen Reddy: Angie Baby (1974)

Helen Reddy: Angie Baby (1974)

The damn fine Australian singer Helen Reddy could be convincingly MOR (I Don't Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar), kinda country (Delta Dawn) and standing proud (I Am Woman). But... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; Atlantic Soul Legends

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; Atlantic Soul Legends

Now here's a bargain worth banging on about. As regular followers of Elsewhere's Bargain Buy pages knows, there are cheap albums to be had if you just look around, single discs for $10, double... > Read more

THE GREAT LEADER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT by BLAINE HARDEN

THE GREAT LEADER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT by BLAINE HARDEN

About 15 years ago when I was engaged in some serious journalism of the international political kind, I had lunch with a fellow from Asia 2000, these days known as the Asia New Zealand... > Read more