Almost 30 years after a host of lineup changes led psychedelic-era pioneers Jefferson Airplane to rechristen themselves as Jefferson Starship (later just Starship), BMG Heritage has prepared deluxe reissues of the group’s first four albums, all set for an Aug. 19 release.
“Jefferson Airplane Takes Off,” “Surrealistic Pillow,” “After Bathing at Baxter’s” and “Crown of Creation” have each been digitally remastered from the original master tapes by engineer Bob Irwin and amended with rare or unreleased bonus tracks and liner notes by biographer Jeff Tamarkin.
Those four albums together capture the classic Jefferson Airplane period. Founded by singer/songwriter Marty Balin and also featuring principal guitarist/singers Jorma Kaukonen and Paul Kantner and bassist Jack Casady, the band solidified its most well-known lineup after the release of “Takes Off,” when drummer Spencer Dryden and vocalist/songwriter Grace Slick entered the fold. Slick would be the genesis of the group’s two biggest hits, “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit,” both from 1967’s “Surrealistic Pillow.” The success of that album posited the band as one of the brightest musical stars of San Francisco’s “summer of love.”
The deluxe version of “Takes Off” will be augmented with eight bonus tracks, including the uncensored single version of “Runnin’ Round This World,” which was deleted from most copies of the album due to its perceived sexual and drug-related lyrical content. Other cuts include the non-album tracks “High Flying Bird” and “It’s Alright.” The new “Surrealistic Pillow” is jazzed up with six additional tracks, including mono versions of “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” alongside rarities “In the Morning,” “Come Back Baby” and “J.P.P. Mc Step B. Blues.”
1967’s “After Bathing at Baxter’s” and 1968’s “Crown of Creation” each contain four bonus tracks. The former features three alternate versions of album tracks as well as the rarity “Things Are Better in the East.” The latter boasts three previously unreleased session tracks: “Ribump Ba Bap Dum Dum,” “Would You Like a Snack?” and “The Saga of Sydney Spacepig.”