Somebody to Love (4:04)

Cover of Surrealistic Pillow

From Surrealistic Pillow and 175 other releases

Somebody to Love is a rock song that was originally written and recorded by 1960s folk-psychedelic band the Great Society and later by the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jefferson Airplane’s recording #274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

When Grace Slick departed to join Jefferson Airplane, she took this song with her, bringing it to the Surrealistic Pillow sessions, along with her own composition “White Rabbit. ” Subsequently, the Airplane’s more ferocious rock and roll version became the band’s first and biggest hit; the single by Jefferson Airplane peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Somebody to Love” also appeared as a track on their influential album released in February of 1967, Surrealistic Pillow. Driven by Slick’s forceful vocal, the song’s hard-rock sound stood out among the group’s more folk-oriented psychedelia that made up most their previous sound and some of the album. The lyrics, unusually, are in the second person, with each two-line verse setting a scene of alienation and despair, and the chorus repeating the title of the song, with slight variations such as: “… / Don’t you need somebody to love? / Wouldn’t you love somebody to love? / …” Like the album on which it appeared, this song was instrumental in announcing the existence of the Haight-Ashbury counterculture to the rest of the United States.

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