Back in the late sixties, I lived a block from the Jefferson Airplane. They resided at 2400 Fulton Street near St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco. How close these rock ‘n’ rollers aligned themselves with God is unknown. The fact that their three-story Colonial Revival was painted black might be an indication. While doing research for upcoming crime novel, Don’t Stop the Music, I unearthed the fact that the address on Fulton would later become the title for their 1987 album, which included such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”.
Jefferson Airplane: A brief history
The Jefferson Airplane made their debut at a San Francisco nightclub in August of 1965. Grace Slick would join them a year later, propelling them onto the national scene and onto the front cover of Life magazine. I saw them at both the Fillmore Auditorium and the Straight Theater. Or at least that’s what I’m told. Tripping on acid and dancing amidst a rainbow of colors and images, it was difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy. But my diary reminds me that the band thumped out their harmonies alongside some of the all-time legendary groups. The Grateful Dead, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Credence Clearwater, The Who, Steve Miller and Big Brother all opened for the Jefferson Airplane. While there were some 500 bands in San Francisco at the time, they were the first Bay Area group to achieve international success. They went on to be headliners at the three most famous music festivals of the sixties: Monterey (1967), Woodstock (1969), and Altamont (1969). In 1972 they essentially split into two different bands…Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship. But for this old, burnt-out piece of dirt, I’ll always remember them as they sat on the steps of their Fulton Street home, passing around a joint, nodding to me as if I was one of them. And for a brief psychedelic second, we all were.