I spent the latter part of my teens discovering all things psychedelic, ‘Light My Fire’ came into my world one day, opened my ears to a new realm of sound and that was it! This era has become one of my greatest loves, especially so when it comes to music. From one-off garage obscurities to the boundary-pushing highs of the Doors, this revolutionary age spawned some incredible music and I love it dearly.
One of the bands that dwells at the top of my long list of all time favourites is Jefferson Airplane, (and Grace Slicks original band The Great Society), an iconic bunch from San Francisco that shaped the sound of the 60’s with their acid-rock and pioneering psychedelia. The sad passing of founding member, guitarist and singer-songwriter Paul Kantner yesterday prompted a good old Airplane session last night which is never a bad thing, it wouldn’t be right not to pay homage to an all time great.
His love of literature and science fiction was embedded into the Airplane’s songs along with the distinct tones of his fuzzed-out guitar playing, this is evident in the song I have chosen today.
‘The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil’ was the first Airplane single written solely by Kanter and appears on their third album ‘After Bathing At Baxters.’ The song pays tribute to two of Paul Kanters biggest influences, one was children’s author A.A Milne (creator of Winnie the Pooh), and the other was folk singer Fred Neil (who later became well-known as the writer of Harry Nilsson’s hit ‘Everybody’s Talkin”). ‘Pooneil’ created a word that threw these two loves together with some of the lyrics in the song being taken A.A Milne’s first book of children’s poetry ‘When We Were Very Young.’ The first four lines of both the first and last verses are also from an A.A Milne poem, ‘Sunday Morning,’ with the third verse coming from the poem ‘Halfway Down.’
In 1996 Paul Kantner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Jefferson Airlane during the band’s ‘glory years.’ This is music that will exist for many decades to come, it shaped the world, altering minds and music then as I’m sure it will continue to do so for a great many years…R.I.P Mr Kantner…