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Surrealistic Pillow

4.6 out of 5 stars 264 customer reviews

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Surrealistic Pillow
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Jefferson Airplane ~ Surrealistic Pillow

When she joined the Jefferson Airplane in 1966 as replacement for original vocalist Signe Anderson, Grace Slick brought with her two songs she'd performed in her previous band, the Great Society: "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." Featured on this classic 1967 album, they became Top 10 hits, and helped establish both the San Francisco and the emerging counterculture they celebrated. With Jorma Kaukonen's sinewy guitar, Jack Casady's probing bass, and Spencer Dryden's inventive drumming swirling around Slick and co-vocalists Marty Balin and Paul Kantner on songs like "She Has Funny Cars" and "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds," Surrealistic Pillow virtually defined the communal spirit of Summer of Love hippiedom. --Billy Altman

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. She Has Funny Cars
  2. Somebody To Love
  3. My Best Friend
  4. Today
  5. Comin' Back To Me
  6. 3/5 Of A Mile In 10 Seconds
  7. D.C.B.A.-25
  8. How Do You Feel
  9. Embryonic Journey
  10. White Rabbit
  11. Plastic Fantastic Lover

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000002W5J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,060 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This latest CD incarnation of Jefferson Airplane's second album, Surrealistic Pillow, is the third U.S. version to be issued by RCA/BMG. I have owned all three versions. The first CD version was in the mid-80's when CD technology was in its infancy. Many of us were abused by the major labels as they exploited us by charging premium prices for CDs of classic albums mastered from very bad (as in worn out) LP masters that were never intended nor engineered for the dynamic range capability of the compact disc. At any rate, all of the criticism about the first version is valid. It is easily identified because it has shoddy packaging as well and the old Airplane label moniker, GRUNT. The second version wasn't issued as an individual CD until 2001. It was significantly improved and included liner notes from Jefferson Airplane/Starship historian Jeff Tamarkin. The "audio restoration" for that one was done by BMG engineer, Bill Lacey. This CD was originally part of a four disc boxed set, and it included both mono and stereo versions of the album. Interestingly, the credits list two different engineers for the digital transfers of each version (stereo by Eddie Tallia and mono by Mike Hatry).
The third and most recent reissue of Surrealistic Pillow is part of BMG's Heritage series which is supposed to be as close as they are going to get to mimicking the fine reissue works of competing labels like Rhino (WEA), Hip-O (Universal), and Legacy (Sony). In fact, BMG Heritage contracted with independent engineer, Bob Irwin, to do the latest Jefferson Airplane remasters (also includes - Takes Off, After Bathing At Baxters, and Crown of Creation). Bob Irwin's past remastering credentials includes the fabulous Legacy reissues of The Byrds classic catalogue.
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10 Comments 276 of 289 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
All the accolades afforded this album over the years are well justified--and if you're reading this, I'm sure you've heard (and likely experienced for yourself) them all. This is truly one of the greatest albums not only of the Sixties & the folk-rock/psychedelic era, but of the entire pop music era period! That said, I'm afraid we've yet to see the ultimate cd issue of this masterpiece--though this latest one offers the added attraction of four songs not on the original LP, three of which were cut during the "Pillow" sessions. Airplane aficianados are well familiar with all these tracks (scattered through various compilations over time), but in fact, the extra tracks are really the only reason to purchase this edition of the album, if you don't already own one of the more recent issues. The real killer in the bonus bunch is "Go To Her," a showcase for Marty Balin's soulful wail, and a song more than deserving of inclusion on the original album. You'll also hear Jorma Kaukonen step out front on an original blues "in The Morning," as well as on an excellent reading of Lightning Hopkins' "Come Back Baby," the latter actually recorded a few weeks after the album came out. Further, there's an unlisted bonus cut at the end, an instrumental run-through of "B.C.D.A. -25," on which Paul Kantner's 12-string rhythm playing takes the spotlight.
All that said, I want to caution you: If you're looking for an improved-quality recording of this album over the gold disk, the 1996 issue or the 2001 issue, you ain't gonna get it here! That's not to say it doesn't sound good, rather to say it's not been improved upon.
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Comment 48 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
We all know that Surrealistic Pillow is a landmark album. The question is where can I find a decent sounding CD of this essential album? We suffered for more than ten years with the first generation CD - a notoriously bad CD plagued by hiss and crummy mastering. No surprise, RCA showed the same disregard for the Elvis CDs for years until his estate finally stepped in and said enough is enough - suddenly the original masters started showing up and now remastered Elvis sounds great. Will the same good fortune happen to Surrealistic Pillow? Well, there was the expensive Gold disc a few years ago. It sounded better, and even included the mono along with the stereo mixes (22 tracks), but virtually anything would have been an improvement! The problem was that the Gold disc lacked any depth whatsoever, it sounded very flat - and on top of that it had an edgy, harsh treble quality whenever the music got louder. Oh, well... Then a box set came out that included a slightly less harsh sounding Surrealistic Pillow that also had both stereo and mono versions. But again, the basic problems remained - a one-dimensional soundstage, a still too-harsh high-end, and muddied vocals, not to mention that, like the Gold disc, it was going to cost you some major bucks to buy the whole box to get this one disc. And remember, throughout this whole time RCA had continued to mass produce that first generation CD without remastering it - forcing you to either buy the Gold disc or the box to get better sound. Are you starting to get the picture here? Frustrating! Anyway, FINALLY last year (2001) a new single CD was issued domestically and it turns out to be exactly the same as the remastered one in the box set (includes both stereo and mono tracks).Read more ›
2 Comments 52 of 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Topic From this Discussion
I just purchase Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow...
No, it's not just yours--I had the same problem. I ordered a new copy from Amazon, and the first page of liners are for "Surrealistic Pillow", but then starting at the second page, it bafflingly switches to the liner notes for "Volunteers". The song titles/ writing credits,... Read More
Apr 25, 2007 by Missing Person |  See all 6 posts
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