Forgotten Songs of the ‘60s: Jefferson Airplane
Released in November of 1969, Jefferson Airplane’s fifth album Volunteers was a landmark of psychedelia and rock and blended these styles together so seamlessly that many songs aside from the classic title track got overlooked. The first song on the record, “We Can Be Together” is one of those songs that deserve a second chance.
Starting off with the dual guitar work of Paul Kantner and Jorma Kaukonen, the band comes together rather quickly and begins to harmonize musically in a very early kind of punk rock kind of way. Then the voices of Marty Balin and Grace Slick come together and everything ends up sounding fantastic. Coming together for a call to arms and peace, the band makes its message exceptionally clear and while there is that notion of peace and coming together, they also don’t want the cops to get too close. The best line of the song and the most remembered, “up against the wall, motherfuckers!” is very clear about what they thought of the cops during this time. As a result of the song’s clear message, it has become one of the last great protest songs, not just of the sixties but of all time.
Unfortunately, after Volunteers, the classic lineup of the Airplane began to fall apart due to drugs, egos and sexual escapades, but the music they made from 1966 to 1969 will stand the test of time long after they have left this earth. And that’s a much better way to be remembered than for “We Built this City.”