The 1967 song ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane is one of those rare numbers that not only defines a genre but a location and time period as well. The cornerstone of psychedelic rock, the track encompassed the flower-power ethos of the Californian counterculture and has remained an LSD drenched classic.

The most defining feature of ‘White Rabbit’ is the bolero rhythm, an aspect that gives it a foreboding feel, as though the LSD you’ve taken is about to take you on a hellish journey of the mind and soul. In some ways, one has always found ‘White Rabbit’ to be sonically representative of the dark side of hippiedom due to its slow-burning pace and surrealist themes that have a discomfort inherent to them.

It was Jefferson Airplane frontwoman and all-around heroine Grace Slick who composed the tune. However, it was not originally written for the iconic psychedelic rock troupe; instead, her previous band, the San Francisco rockers the Great Society. It was actually first performed by the Great Society in early 1966 “at a dive bar on Broadway in San Francisco.”

Grace Slick

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