Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit



Sung by Grace Slick, who wrote the song and originally recorded it with her previous band The Great Society, this is a live recording from the 1969 Woodstock Festival. If you can remember it, you weren't there. Me, I was at primary school reading The Map That Came to Life.

The lyrics mark a fusion between LSD and Lewis Carroll:
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said;
"Feed your head."
But then there was quite a crossover between classic children's literature and the 1960s counter-culture.
Steve Winwood said of Traffic's getting it together in the country period: "Camping out, cooking over an open fire: it was like William and the Outlaws." And Cotchford Farm in Sussex, where Brian Jones was found drowned in his own swimming pool, had once been the home of A. A. Milne and was the setting for the Winnie the Pooh stories.
According to Humphrey Carpenter's Secret Gardens, Philip Norman wrote as follows in his The Stones:
Knowing the Winnie the Pooh stories almost by heart, it gave him special delight to show [friends] the sundial - under which Milne's original manuscripts are reputedly buried - and the bridge over the little stream where Pooh and Christopher Robin invented the Poohsticks game. He felt proud to be the guardian of such a shrine.
The iconography of the 1960s was all about bobbies and red buses - perhaps the last time when we British found it possible to celebrate our own culture without irony. Maybe the flower children could play because the grown ups were still in charge.

3 comments:

Duncan Borrowman said...

It was a favourite on Radio Caroline. I remember going to see the Woodstock movie in the cinema. I saw her do White Rabbit with Jefferson Starship. When I watched the Woodstock DVD last week my wife, also Grace, went to bed as I was singing along '... go ask Alice, when she's 10 feet tall...'

Anonymous said...

Go visit 'Marmalade Skies' and,if your eyesight survives the experience,you'll find a list of 119 songs referred to as 'Toytown Tunes'

Whilst I don't recall the genre being identified as such at the time there's no doubt this sort of thing was irritatingly overplayed for a short time around 1967.

Peter Welch said...

One of my favourite songs - but not one of my favourite bands.