Music

Grace Slick's Solo Vocals On 'White Rabbit' Are Hair-Raising

May 7th, 2019

Though people have different musical tastes, it’s hard to argue that the ‘60s and ‘70s were one of the most musically inventive times in pop history.

Because of changes in the political and cultural atmosphere, as well as advances in recording technologies, plenty of rock outfits were emerging with striking new messages and experimental musical techniques. Thanks to this confluence of influences, we have timeless bands like The Beatles, The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

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wikipedia.org Source: wikipedia.org

Still, another hugely influential band was Jefferson Airplane.

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wikipedia.org Source: wikipedia.org

The band was founded in 1965 and introduced the world to one of rock music’s most iconic lead singers, Grace Slick.

Generally speaking, Jefferson Airplane helped to pioneer the signature San Francisco sound. In general, the sound included a kind of psychedelic edge as well as some folk influences, with more experimental song structures, more melodic bass lines and distinct vocal performances. Although rock music has often been thought of as dominated by men, many acts of out San Francisco had women as their lead singers and were still widely respected and revered.

Still, Slick had a uniquely penetrating vocal style that can be heard on one of her isolated vocal tracks.

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flickr.com Source: flickr.com

One of Jefferson Airplane’s most signature songs was “White Rabbit,” from their album Surrealistic Pillow.

Although the album itself was a huge hit in many ways, “White Rabbit” stood out for its many allusions to Alice in Wonderland, its spooky audio style and for Slick’s haunting and powerful vocal lead on the song. Still, though her voice is powerful enough with the music behind it, the raw vocal performance is something different altogether.

While she sounds incredible on the song, we’ve never heard anything that gave us chills quite like her voice does on its own.

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wikipedia.org Source: wikipedia.org

Although the vocal definitely has an echo effect on it, Slick’s voice is so deep and powerful!

Everyone has heard the song before on classic rock radio, but there’s something about hearing Slick’s scary vibrato all on its own that is sure to give you goosebumps. As her voice builds and the tone shifts throughout, it really hits its stride towards the end. Although she’s definitely belting out all the notes, all of them are perfectly accurate and sustained.

Fortunately for anyone who is as blown away by this as we are, “White Rabbit” isn’t her only isolated vocal on the internet!

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wikipedia.org Source: wikipedia.org

Jefferson Airplane’s other huge hit, “Somebody to Love,” is also pretty stunning to hear all on its own.

Although you can hear a faint hum of guitars in the background, the star of the show is definitely Slick’s vibrating, piercing voice. On the chorus, you can hear the harmonizing with the rest of the band much more clearly… and it all sounds just as haunting and accurate as the other one. Although there are bigger names than Jefferson Airplane and Grace Slick in the classic rock canon, these clips prove that Slick is definitely underrated as a vocalist.

After all, have you ever heard a rock singer that has this much emotional power before?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbBlcLXsSbU

If you’ve listened to these songs, which one is your favorite?

Although we’re personally going to vote for “White Rabbit,” Slick’s vocals in “Somebody to Love” are definitely just as forceful and exciting. While there are plenty of talented musicians in the world today, it’s hard to recreate the exact conditions that made music like this possible. If you’ve listened, tell us your thoughts and leave a comment below.

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grace_Slick_1977.JPG Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grace_Slick_1977.JPG

Check out Slick’s full performance on “White Rabbit” below:

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Sources: Open Culture, Wikipedia

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