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Surrealistic Pillow is the second album by Americanmarker psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, released in February 1967.

Original drummer Alexander 'Skip' Spence had left the band in mid-1966, replaced by a jazz drummer from Los Angeles, Spencer Dryden. New lead vocalist Grace Slick joined the band in 1966. Both Slick and Dryden debuted with the band on records with this album and its attendant singles, thus completing the best-known line-up of the group, which would remain stable until Dryden's departure in 1970. It is also considered to be one of the quintessential albums of the 1960s counterculture movement.

Album overview

Jefferson Airplane's fusion of folk rock and psychedelia was original at the time, in line with musical developments pioneered by The Byrds, The Mamas & the Papas, and Bob Dylan. Surrealistic Pillow was the first blockbuster psychedelic album by a band from San Francisco, announcing to the world the active bohemian scene that had developed there starting with The Beats during the 1950s, extending and changing through the 1960s into the Haight-Ashburymarker counterculture. Subsequently, the exposure generated by the Airplane and others wrought great changes to that counterculture, and by 1968 the ensuing national media attention had precipitated a very different San Francisco scene than had existed in 1966. San Francisco photographer, Herb Greene photographed the band for the album's cover art.

Some controversy exists as to the role of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia in the making of the album. His reputed presence on several tracks is denied by producer Rick Jarrard, but he is credited on the RCA label copy, as well as receiving credits on the Flight Log compilation and the Jefferson Airplane Loves You box set.

Surrealistic Pillow was originally released as RCA Victor LPM/LSP 3766, and peaked at #3 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart, driven by "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," which peaked at #8 and #5 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The album was mixed in both mono and stereo, and both mixes are available on a rare RCA Gold CD edition, a November 2001 reissue, and as part of the Ignition box set. The mono version is actually preferred by some collectors as it has a more powerful sound and significantly less echo and reverb than the stereo mix. Another stereo reissue appeared on August 19, 2003, with seven bonus tracks, including the mono A-sides of "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." The 2003 reissue was produced by Bob Irwin.

The UK version of the LP is a mish-mash of the USA version and their first LP, "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off".

In 2003, the album was ranked number 146 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."

Track listing

Side one

  1. "She Has Funny Cars" (Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin) – 3:14
  2. "Somebody to Love" (Darby Slick) – 3:00
  3. "My Best Friend" (Skip Spence) – 3:04
  4. "Today" (Balin, Paul Kantner) – 3:03
  5. "Comin' Back to Me" (Balin) – 5:23

Side two

  1. "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" (Balin) – 3:45
  2. "D.C.B.A. -25" (Kantner) – 2:39
  3. "How Do You Feel" (Tom Mastin) – 3:34
  4. "Embryonic Journey" (Kaukonen) – 1:55
  5. "White Rabbit" (Grace Slick) – 2:32
  6. "Plastic Fantastic Lover" (Balin) – 2:39

2003 Bonus Tracks

  1. "In The Morning" - 6:21
  2. "J.P.P. McStep B. Blues - 2:37
  3. "Go To Her (Version Two)" - 4:02
  4. "Come Back Baby" - 2:56
  5. "Somebody to Love" (Mono Single Version) - 2:58
  6. "White Rabbit" (Mono Single Version) - 5:20


Personnel and instruments from original LP notes


  • Jerry Garcia – musical and spiritual adviser, guitar on "Today", "Comin' Back to Me", "Plastic Fantastic Lover", "In the Morning", and "J. P. P. McStep B. Blues"
  • Rick Jarrard – producer
  • David Hassinger – engineer
  • Recorded in RCA Victor's Music Center of the World, Hollywood California
  • Marty Balin – album design
  • Herb Green – album photography


Year Chart Position
1967 Billboard 200 3
Year Single Chart Position
1967 "Somebody to Love" Billboard Pop Singles 5
1967 "White Rabbit" Billboard Pop Singles 8


Organization Level Date
RIAA – USA Gold July 24, 1967



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