Song of the Day – “Third Week in the Chelsea” by Jefferson Airplane

Hippie dreams, the passage of time, changing of seasons, and the inevitability of aging.


This song is one of a few that made me want to get a blog and yap about em.  Yap.

Bark, even.  For that (Bark) is the title of an album released in 1971.  An album released by Jefferson Airplane.  Or what was left of Jefferson Airplane.  Their founder (I could make a joke about the ugly “fish” album cover for this album (Google it) and call him the flounder, but that probably wouldn’t be very funny.  I guess we will never know, because I would not dare stoop to making such a lame pun!) Marty Balin had left the band after the previous album, and, well…

Okay, the album sucks.  Not as bad as “Long John Silver”, but it sucks pretty hard.  Reliably hard.

Except for this song.  WHOAH.  What is this masterpiece of a song doing on such a shitty album?  This song is gorgeous and haunting.  It will fucking haunt you.  Listen to the simple melody, and listen to those lyrics.  If you’re older than 18 (and I hope you are, otherwise FUCK OFF YOU SNOT NOSED TEENAGER!) then you will be able to relate to some of the ideas in this song.  If you are over 30 (like me) then it will seem like Jorma Kaukonen used his time machine and BrainDownloaderâ„¢ to meet up with you in the woods, club you unconscious with a beer bottle (probably a stubby one) and TURN YOUR THOUGHTS INTO A BRILLIANT POST-HIPPIE SWAN SONG!!!



Okay, enough failtastic attempts at humour.  Seriously now, this song touches on what we as humans feel and fear (VERRY SCAAARRRRY!!!) about aging, coupled with a feeling of resignation and of lukewarm hope.  Does that make sense?  I hope so, because I’m not typing it again.  My back hurts.  I want to go lay down.


As you listen to this song (listen to it twice) you will notice that the people singing (the aforementioned Mr. Kaukonen and Grace Slick) are doing so in a most entertaining way.  Their voices are in tune, and their singing sounds good.  The instrument playing is also quite good.

Now, if you’ve heard the rest of “Bark” or “Long John Silver”, you will be wond’ring again why and how a GREAT song made it onto this album.  The rest of those albums contain what sound like drunken rehearsals slapped onto vinyl.  Spontaneity is one thing, but releasing crap where you fucking KNOW by listening to her sing that Grace Slick can’t even fucking SEE straight anymore is quite a whole different barrel of fish.  Presumably, the same barrel which surrendered that ugly fish on the ugly original album cover to “Bark”.

Speaking of Grace Slick, she was quite a looker.  And here comes the inevitable part of my rant where I talk about female robots, whether or not they’re related in any way to the topic at hand.  This is what those stoned and filthy fucking flower children got to look at on their 12″ album art and on stage back in the late 60s:

What a fucking babe.  Holy shit, that was one hot lady.  Even looking at pics of her now, you can tell she was fucking smoking hot back in the day.  Now, tell me if I’m wrong, but in this particular image does she not look like a fembot with a blank stare, in the process of removing her facemask?

Perhaps I see imminent facemask removal on too many a picture of hot ladies.  So be it.  Soviet.  I’ve always wanted to rhyme those two words.  You’re welcome.

Glancing at the scroll bar in my ancient Windows 95 application I use to write these posts, I see that I have taken up several minutes of your time, and if you’ve taken my advice, you will be now listening to “Third Week in the Chelsea” for the third time.  Well, go ahead and indulge, because this is a fucking brilliant song.

I was also going to mention Grace Slick’s problem with alcohol.  Having had a problem with alcohol myself, I can sympathize.  I can also hear her drunken caterwauling all over the “Bark” and “Long John Silver” albums.  Jesus fucking Christ lady SHUT UP!!!  Sober the fuck up before you get in front of a microphone!!!  Apparently her drunken antics got her booted out of Jefferson Airplane when they were playing in Germany.  She kept on making REALLY ignorant remarks about the Nazis back in WWII.

Oh well, it’s not like the band was any good in the 70s.  Or 80s.  I think a band that changes all it’s fucking members so that no original members remain just isn’t the same band any more.  Regardless of whether they change their name to “Jefferson Starship” and then “Starship”.  Sorry for sending you into spasms.  I know that mentioning those two band names will send most music fans into fits of shame, regret, anger, rashes, hives and the heebie jeebies.

There is one song that one of the later incarnations of this band did that I should investigate, however.  When I was younger, I watched a special on MuchMusic about Jefferson Airplane and their undead zombie corpse of a band continuing under other names.


The special showed a clip from deep in the dark, dark 80s with Grace Slick acting a bit robotic and singing a song about how “all the machines say I’m okay”.

Then she went nuts and lost a bunch of teeth and woke up crazy in someone’s back yard.

No wait, that was Margot Kidder.

HA!!!  I’m such a kidder!