Jefferson Starship – Blows Against The Empire

When I think of the music of Jefferson Starship, I am transported back to their premier recording, Blows Against the Empire (November, 1970). It echoes in my head and heart with a unique resonance these many years later.

I especially love the track, “Have You Seen The Stars Tonite”. I can visualize being on a deck in outer space, looking up through a clear glass ceiling floating amidst the stars.

Blows Against The Empire is an amazing blend of science fiction combined with a rich textured musical synergy. One can only imagine what life was like back then in the canyons above San Francisco as members of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Quicksilver Messenger Service and friends communed and recorded together.

This amalgam of musicians became known as the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Empire.

I purchased today from the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Store the 3 CD set that includes the Blows Against The Empire deluxe edition, the Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra CD (the sequel to Blows…) and the bonus Perro CD. When I have received these items and digested the music I will write an update blog post.

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the following information and for continually providing a great backdrop of music encyclopedia knowledge for research and blogging purposes.)

  • Paul Kantner – vocals, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, banjo, bass machine
  • Grace Slick – piano, vocals
  • Jerry Garcia – banjo on “Let’s Go Together”, pedal steel guitar on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”, lead guitar on “Starship”
  • Bill Kreutzmann – drums on “Let’s Go Together”
  • Mickey Hart – percussion on “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, sound effects and vocals on “XM”
  • Joey Covington – drums and vocals on “Mau Mau”, congas on “Hijack”
  • Jack Casady – bass on “A Child Is Coming” and “Sunrise”
  • David Crosby – vocals and guitar on “A Child Is Coming” and “Have You Seen the Stars Tonite”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • Graham Nash – congas on “Hijack”, sound effects on “Home”, background vocals on “Starship”
  • David Freiberg – background vocals on “Starship”
  • Harvey Brooks – bass on “Starship”
  • Peter Kaukonen – lead guitar on “Mau Mau”
  • Phill Sawyer – sound effects on “Home” and “XM”
Year Title Chart positions Certification
US
1970 Blows Against the Empire by Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship 20 Gold (RIAA)
1971 If I Could Only Remember My Name by David Crosby 12 Gold (RIAA)
Songs for Beginners by Graham Nash 15 Gold (RIAA)
Sunfighter by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick 89
1972 Graham Nash David Crosby by Graham Nash and David Crosby 4 Gold (RIAA)
Rolling Thunder by Mickey Hart 190
1973 Baron von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun by Paul KantnerGrace Slick, and David Freiberg 120
1983 Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra by Paul Kantner
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7 Replies to “Jefferson Starship – Blows Against The Empire”

  1. This was by far my favorite Jefferson (fill-in-the-blank) production.

    I concur with Have You Seen the Stars Tonight as the favorite. This recalls countless hours under the headphones in various states of drug induced bliss journeying with Kantner and crew around the galaxy.

    At first
    I was irridescent
    Then
    I became transparent
    Finally
    I was absent

    Nobody writes like that anymore. It’s a sad state of affairs for an aging hippie I tell ya.

    Like

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