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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Essential
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2012
Not sure about the purpose of this issue. I don't own this so I'm unaware if there is anything special included in terms of inserts/liner notes or possibly another remaster of the songs but the track listing is identical to those of two previously released double-CD compilations: "Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship - Hits" (1998--which I do own) and "Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship - Greatest Hits" (2002), one of which you might be able to get cheaper. Regarding the songs, the collection is OUTSTANDING and is the most comprehensive compilation of the "popular songs" from all three iterations of this band. Also, the songs are essentially presented in chronological order so you can listen to the various changes in the bands' music as they were undergoing seemingly constant lineup (and band name) changes. The liner notes included with the referenced 1998 issue are pretty thorough having a good overview of the band from beginning to end and release and chart performance information for each of the tracks. I would expect/hope that information would be included with this issue as well. ENJOY!!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Once again the folks at Sony/Legacy have dipped into the vaults and regurgitated yet another new compilation just in time for the holiday season. The two-disc "Essential Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship" offers up nearly three dozen tracks from the group in all of its various incarnations. You may recall that this was one group that changed personnel and musical directions so frequently that it would kinda make your head spin. But in the final analysis, this outfit did leave us with a pretty impressive body of work. This two CD set released in 2012 is no doubt one of the best collections that has ever been offered. This is essentially the very same collection as the 1998 import release "Hits" which I already own. Sony/Legacy has included a generous 35 tracks beginning with the best work of Jefferson Airplane from the late 60's. Aside from the obligatory "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit", selections include "Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil" as well as the title cuts from two of their popular albums of the day "Crown of Creation" and "Volunteers". Some pretty good stuff here!

For me, the group did it finest work in the mid to late 70's when they were known as Jefferson Starship. All of the hit singles are here including "Miracles", "With Your Love", Count On Me" and one of my personal favorites "Runaway" from 1978. Another terrific tune, 1984's "No Way Out" is also included. The group had another metamorphisis in 1985 when they emerged as simply Starship. And much to my amazement, the group scored with several of its biggest hits ever including "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", "Sara" and of course their biggest hit of all time "We Built This City" from 1985. I have heard many critics pan this tune as one of the worst singles of all-time. I beg to disagree....I loved it! Virtually all of the group's 1980's hit singles can be found in "Essential".

While I enjoyed most of their radio hits I never considered Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship to be one of my favorite bands. I was more of a "hit singles" guy and as such I never did get into many of their album tracks which were so popular on AOR FM stations during the 1970's. The simple fact of the matter is that there are really more tracks here than I require. But in reviewing the available options "Essential Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship" is probably the best collection available of this legendary group. The remastering job is superb and the package is offered at a very reasonable price. All in all, I would conclude that this is a pretty good deal. Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2013
Legacy's two-disc Essential collection is actually a re-branded reissue of the 1998 Hits release, reiterating the same 35-track lineup and including Ben Fong-Torres original liner notes. If you pop these discs in your computer's CD drive, you're even likely to have the cover image of Hits pulled up by your media player. The set remains a good overview of "the band that transformed with the times," from Jefferson Airplane's scene-leading San Francisco Sound recordings of the mid-to-late `60s, through Jefferson Starship's inheritance and evolution, and the Kantner-less Starship's full-face turn to radio-friendly pop. The musical, social and commercial distance traveled from the Airplane's earthy psychedelic jams to the Starship's synth-laden ballads is itself a monument to adaptability.

The seventeen Airplane selections cover all seven of the band's first run albums (nothing from their 1989 self-titled reunion is included), along with the single-only "Have You Seen the Saucers." A few of their lower charting singles are absent, but other than "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit," the Airplane was never a Top 40 success, and so the additional album tracks are more telling. Missing are tracks with early Airplane vocalist Signe Anderson singing lead, and even more noticeable is the lack of live material. Performance was an essential element of the San Francisco scene, and no telling of the Airplane's story is truly complete without the stage interplay of vocalists and instrumentalists. Follow-on purchases of 30 Seconds Over Winterland,Bless Its Pointed Little Head or the more recent 6-CD anthology of vintage tapes can fill that gap.

Though the Jefferson Starship name was employed for Kantner's 1970 sci-fi concept album, Blows Against the Empire, a steady band wasn't formed until four years later for 1974's Dragon Fly. This set skips the former album and picks up with two songs ("Caroline" and "Ride the Tiger") from the latter. Though Dragon Fly went gold (and hit #11 on the album chart), it was the group's next release, Red Octopus, that marked their real commercial breakthrough. Topping the album chart, the album spun off the Top 5 single "Miracles" and introduced a band who would have a ten year run in the Top 40. Most of Jefferson Starship's biggest hits are included here, missing only their Top 20 "Winds of Change." All eight of the group's first run studio albums are sampled here; their two reunion releases (1998's Windows of Heaven and 2008's Jefferson's Tree of Liberty) are skipped.

The group transformed yet again in 1984, into Starship, and found even greater success on the singles chart with three #1s: "We Built This City," "Sara" and the Albert Hammond & Diane Warren-penned theme to the film Mannequin, "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now." Starship landed two more in the Top 10, the latter of which, 1989's "It's Not Enough," closes this set. Two more minor chart entries and a greatest hits album were released before the band morphed into a touring unit for vocalist Mickey Thomas. The six Starship tracks here cover all three of the band's original albums, but omit a handful of lesser charting singles. This thirty-three track anthology provides a compelling picture of a San Francisco underground legend's metamorphosis into a 1980s commercial juggernaut. [©2013 Hyperbolium]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2013
This set is a great idea, but not quite realized. Disc one runs about 75 minutes and is mostly Jefferson Airplane. Disc two is only about 67 minutes and inexplicably excludes the Jefferson Starship top 40 hit "Winds Of Change" and possibly others. I don't understand why they would leave off an 'essential' hit when there's room for it. There's also a separate The Essential Jefferson Airplane set so if anything, Airplane should have been lighter on tracks here and allowed room for more of the later hits.

I picked this up locally for only 10 bucks and the sound quality is excellent (probably thanks to being a re-release of an earlier import before 'brickwalling' loudness was so commonplace) so I can't complain too much. Maybe they'll put out a 3.0 version as they often do and include the missing hits, and I'll wish I'd waited.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2013
great collector's item. Nice to have it in my cd-collection. I only possessed a few long playing records from the band.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
I recently bought this CD set by special ordering it. The songs on this 2 cd set are very well known if you are a fan of all three of the bands. This cd set has a few surprises on it however of songs I wasn't familiar with.
That's alright with me though. The sound quality is very, very good as usual, good going Legacy Records. I don't know how you at Legacy can get old tapes and make them sound so good but I am glad you do. The price was good for a 2 cd set by legendary bands from the past.It's all a good deal and anyone who enjoys these groups should go out and get it.
The only gripe I have was why is this cd set so hard to find or did I just miss it when it came out. Whatever? this is good music get it and enjoy.Keep on rocking!
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on September 9, 2014
As noted by others, "Essential" is a reissue of the 1998 "Hits" release. In fact, when I loaded the "Essential" disks into my Media Player the Title and Cover Picture from "Hits" loaded. "Essential" is available at half the price of "Hits" though. While nothing new was added, that doesn't detract from the content of each disk.

While I am a fan of 60's music (60's to present), Jefferson Airplane isn't anywhere near the top of my must haves. I only have 5 of the 17 tracks from Jefferson Airplane (all on Disk 1) on my playlists. I'm not saying the others songs aren't good, but music is subjective and means different things to different people and they just aren't my cup of tea. "Somebody to Love" is a must have for anyone though.

The last two tracks on Disk 1 and the first ten on Disk 2 are "Jefferson Starship" releases. The final six are "Starship". To me, these 18 tracks are the gems of this "Essential" release and why I gave it 5 Stars. All of the songs are on my playlists.

"Miracles", "With Your Love", "Count On Me", and "Runaway" are all on my 70's short list. I think any fan of "pop" music (remember, it means "popular") would like them, or the rest of Disk 2 for that matter. Anyone who thinks "Jefferson Airplane" sold out by going more main stream is crazy. It's evolve or die. They were able to release a lot of good music throughout the 70's and 80's and racked up 15 Top 40 hits by doing so.
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on June 23, 2014
this CD contains song from Woodstock 60s and the 70s as well in the 80s yet they have changed their band name twice
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on June 13, 2014
ONE OF THE BEST EVER WAS AND EVERY WILL BE. MARTY AND SLICK WHAT A COMBO..SO SAD IAM GETTING OLD.<< >>
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on May 29, 2014
The essential CD from Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship was great. Arrival time was prompt. Service was fast. The CD is great, it brought back alot of memories from the 70's.
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