->''"Don't you want somebody to love?"''

An American rock band that formed in UsefulNotes/SanFrancisco in 1965, Jefferson Airplane has gone through significant stages in its long and storied career.

The original group, '''Jefferson Airplane''', was a Bay Area FolkMusic group with a sound comparable to Music/TheByrds and the Lovin' Spoonful. According to Jorma Kaukonen, the name came from a friend, Steve Talbot, who jokingly nicknamed him "Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane" as a parody of the sort of nicknames {{Blues}} singers usually adopted (and possibly had Blind Lemon Jefferson in mind), and when nobody else could think of a band name, Kaukonen remembered Talbot's joke and shortened it appropriately. This didn't stop rumours that the original name referred to an impromptu method of holding a too-short marijuana joint.

With the release of their 1967 album, ''Surrealistic Pillow'', they established themselves as a leading PsychedelicRock band. Focused around the songwriting nucleus of Marty Balin (lead vocals), Grace Slick (lead vocals, keyboards), Jorma Kaukonen (guitars) and Paul Kantner (guitars) and ably backed by the powerful rhythm section of Jack Casady (bass) and Spencer Dryden (drums), they enjoyed Top 10 hit singles in America with "Somebody To Love" and "White Rabbit", played at the three most famous rock and roll festivals of TheSixties (Woodstock, Monterey and Altamont) and headlined the first Isle of Wight Festival. Unfortunately, the group seemed to run out of steam with the onset of TheSeventies; disillusioned with the psychedelic scene after the death of his close friend Music/JanisJoplin, Marty Balin quit his band, and Jefferson Airplane had essentially disintegrated by 1972.

However, the band regrouped in 1974 under the name '''Jefferson Starship''' (named after the ad-hoc supergroup that played on Paul Kantner's {{Hugo|Award}}-nominated science-fiction concept album ''Music/BlowsAgainstTheEmpire''), including members of the original group as well as new musicians drawn from Kantner's solo album, such as lead guitarist Craig Chaquico. Most importantly was the addition of lead singer Mickey Thomas, who joined after the exit of Marty Balin in the late seventies and subsequently became the effective leader of the band in the late eighties. This iteration of the group did produce some good melodic rock music and had several successful albums, but they're probably best remembered today as, "That band that showed up in ''Film/TheStarWarsHolidaySpecial''." The band soon started to bleed members, and with Paul Kantner's departure in 1984, none of the original Airplane[=/=]Starship members except for Grace Slick were left.

To avoid legal action from Kantner, the remaining members shortened their name to '''Starship''', a straight-ahead pop-rock group that released three somewhat synth-heavy albums in the late 1980s and had three number one singles with "We Built This City", "Sara" and "[[Film/{{Mannequin}} Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now]]". Nevertheless, this group turned out to have the least staying power, and they broke up in TheNineties after the reformation of the original Jefferson Airplane line-up in 1989.

At the moment, members of both Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship perform as distinct groups and occasionally cross over with one another.

!! Works with a page on this wiki:
* ''Music/BlowsAgainstTheEmpire''

!!! "Feed your tropes!":
* AfterTheEnd: "Wooden Ships" (written by SF Fan Paul Kanter, in collaboration with members of Crosby, Stills and Nash, and a hit for both groups) depicts ocean-dwelling survivors of an unspecified apocalyptic event.
* AliceAllusion: All over the place in "White Rabbit".
* ControlFreak: Mickey Thomas by all accounts.
* CoverVersion: [[Music/TheByrds David Crosby]]'s polyamory-themed "Triad" is covered on ''Crown of Creation''. Notably, Crosby brought the song to the band after it was originally rejected by The Byrds, but The Byrds later changed their mind and recorded a version as well.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first album, ''Takes Off'' is basically a straight-ahead folk-rock album with little hint of the tripped-out weirdness that would follow. It's also worth noting that there is quite a bit more straight-ahead folk-rock on ''Surrealistic Pillow'' than a lot of people seem to remember there being, though the group's penchant for chemical experimentation definitely affected even the folk-rock songs on that album.
* GreatestHitsAlbum: Sarcastically titled ''The Worst of Jefferson Airplane''.
* IntercourseWithYou: "Miracles".
** The lines [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar "I got a taste of the real world (oh baby)/When I went down on you girl"]] can still be heard on the radio today.
* LyricalColdOpen: "Somebody To Love".
* MushroomSamba: "White Rabbit".
* NightmareFuel: "The House At Pooneil Corners" due to it's menacing intro melody, chaotic sound, lyrics about nuclear war and Jorma Kaukonen's air raid siren like guitar line.
* OneWomanSong: "Jane," "Sara"
* OppressiveStatesOfAmerica: In "Volunteers", this is the basis for the call for revolution.
* ThePeteBest: Signe Toly Anderson, the original female lead vocalist, and Skip Spence, the original drummer, who played on the band's first album, ''Takes Off'', and left afterwards. Spence went on to be a founding member of Music/MobyGrape.
* {{Polyamory}}: The subject of "Triad".
* PrecisionFStrike: "Up against the wall, motherfucker!" in "We Can Be Together". On the same album, "You call it rain/But the human name/Doesn't mean shit to a tree" on "Eskimo Blue Day".
* PsychedelicRock: One of the most influential groups in the genre, the 1967 album ''Surrealstic Pillow'' is one of several albums that helped to define the sound of the Summer of Love.
* TheRainman: Marty Balin, one of the founding members, has a mild form of autism, but still led the group through its first two incarnations prior to taking a solo career in the early 1980s.
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeVillified: "Volunteers" paints a rosy picture of armed rebellion.
* RooftopConcert: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLRX7bZH41g In New York]], about seven weeks before Music/TheBeatles did their more famous concert.
* ScrewThisImOuttaHere: Grace Slick quit Starship after "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" when she realized just how much they had sold out. She reformed Jefferson Airplane at that time, only to quit them after one tour when she decided [[GrowingUpSucks she was getting too old for this]].
** Marty Balin pulled this- twice.
* {{Sexbot}}: Marty Balin ''claims'' that "Plastic, Fantastic Lover" was a paean to his new stereo system (or maybe TV--the story varies), but the description of it as a lover with "chrome-colored clothes", and the references to "Data Control and IBM" make it clear that he was trying to imply a little more--possibly influenced by some of Kantner's SF collection.
* ShoutOut: Paul Kantner was a science fiction fan, and several of his songs contain references to SF works:
** The lyrics of eponymous title track of the album ''Crown of Creation'' were taken (with permission) entirely from the novel ''Literature/TheChrysalids'' by British SF author Creator/JohnWyndham.
** The album ''Blows Against the Empire'' was inspired by, and referenced, another Heinlein novel, ''Literature/MethuselahsChildren'', again with permission. (Heinlein commented that his plots had been used by others many times, but this was the first time someone had ''asked'' first.)
** "Rejoyce" on ''After Bathing at Baxter's'' was about Creator/JamesJoyce's ''Literature/{{Ulysses}}''.
** "Triad" contains a couple of references to Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand'', but it was actually written by David Crosby.
* TheSixties: Odds are good that, if you're watching a program about or set in the Sixties, you'll hear [[NothingButHits a Jefferson Airplane song on the soundtrack]]. [[AnachronismStew Even if it's the very early Sixties.]]
** TheSeventies: Jefferson Starship successfully morphed into an ArenaRock group along the lines of {{Music/Toto}} (as a matter of fact, their hit song "Jane" was accused of aping Toto's single "Hold the Line", right down to the piano triplets).
** TheEighties: Starship became pretty much the poster band for the so-called "corporate rock" movement mid-decade.
* SpellMyNameWithAThe: Is it "Jefferson Airplane" or "'''The''' Jefferson Airplane"? Averted by later incarnations of the band.
* VocalTagTeam