White Rabbit (2:30)

Cover of Surrealistic Pillow

From Surrealistic Pillow and 225 other releases

“White Rabbit” was written by Grace Slick, who based the lyrics on Lewis Carroll’s book Alice In Wonderland. Like many young musicians in San Francisco, Slick did a lot of drugs. She saw lots of drug references in Carroll’s book, including the pills, the smoking caterpillar, the mushroom, and lots of other images that are generally trippy. She noticed that lots of childrens stories involve a substance of some kind that alters reality, and felt it was time to write a song about it.

Slick got the idea for this after taking LSD and spending hours listening to the Miles Davis album Sketches Of Spain. The Spanish beat she came up with was also influenced by Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.”

Slick wrote and performed this when she was in a band called The Great Society. She brought it with her, along with “Somebody to Love,” when she joined Jefferson Airplane in 1966.

This was used as the theme song for a 1973 movie called Go Ask Alice.

The UK version of the album didn’t have this on it.

This was one of the defining songs of the 1967 “Summer Of Love.” As young Americans protested the Vietnam war and took a lot of drugs, this played in the background.

On an original recording by The Great Society, the song is barely recognizable due to Grace’s higher voice before several throat operations that lowered her range after each one.

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