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Surrealistic Pillow

Jefferson Airplane

Initial release : February 1967

RCA LPM / LSP-3766

The second Jefferson Airplane LP. Garcia's contribution to this album was significant but is not easy to detail exactly. He definitely played on two tracks and probably on two others. He possibly helped arrange at least one other song and helped out in the studio in other ways. But he is credited only as 'musical and spiritual adviser'. An expanded CD version of Surrealistic Pillow, with bonus tracks, was released in 2003.


  • She Has Funny Cars (Balin/Kaukonen)
  • Somebody to Love (Slick/Slick)
  • My Best Friend (Spence)
  • Today (Balin/Kantner)
  • Comin' Back to Me (Balin)
  • 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds (Balin)
  • D.C.B.A. 25 (Kantner)
  • How Do You Feel? (Mastin)
  • Embryonic Journey (Kaukonen)
  • White Rabbit (Slick)
  • Plastic Fantastic Lover (Balin)
Bonus tracks on 2003 CD release;
  • In the Morning (Kaukonen)
  • J.P.P. McStep B. Blues (Spence)
  • Go to Her (Estes / Kantner)
  • Come Back Baby (Traditional arr. Kaukonen)
  • Somebody to Love (mono single version) (Slick/Slick)
  • White Rabbit (mono single version) (Slick)

Jefferson Airplane members;

  • Marty Balin - guitar, vocals
  • Jack Casady - bass, guitar
  • Spencer Dryden - percussion
  • Paul Kantner - guitar, vocals
  • Jorma Kaukonen - guitar, vocals
  • Grace Slick - piano, organ, recorder, vocals
Additional musicians;
  • Jerry Garcia - guitar
Garcia plays guitar on Today and Comin' Back To Me.

Musicians on Today (from Jefferson Aiplane Loves You booklet);

  • Marty Balin - vocals
  • Grace Slick - vocals
  • Paul Kantner - vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Jorma Kaukonen - lead guitar
  • Jack Casady - bass
  • Spencer Dryden - drums
  • Jerry Garcia - guitar
Musicians on Comin' Back To Me (from Balin's memory and the track itself - note that the booklet with the 2400 Fulton Street anthology gives a different personnel listing but this booklet is unreliable and in this cases transparently at odds with the music itself.);
  • Marty Balin - vocals
  • Grace Slick - recorder
  • Jack Casady - guitar
  • Jerry Garcia - guitar
Some sources suggest that Garcia also played acoustic guitar on Plastic Fantastic Lover and My Best Friend.


  • Engineer - David Hassinger
  • Producer - Rick Jarrard
  • Album design - Marty Balin
  • Album photography - Herb Green

  • Musical and spiritual adviser - Jerry Garcia

  • Recorded at RCA Victor's Music Center Of The World, Hollywood, CA

The recording sessions for Surrealistic Pillow started in early November 1966 just over two weeks after Grace Slick had made her first appearance with the band on October 16, 1966.

Garcia's contribution to Surrealistic Pillow is not easy to define exactly. The album was recorded in Los Angeles. Jefferson Airplane and Garcia were based in San Francisco. The band flew back and forth between the two cities throughout November 1966 and it seems that Garcia flew with them whenever available.

His playing contribution is partly documented.

He was definitely present on Wednesday November 2 playing lead guitar on Today.

He was present on an unspecified date for the recording of Comin' Back To Me. According to Marty Balin who wrote the song one night in his LA motel room during the period of the recording sessions...

"Then I went back to the studio - 'cause we used to stay up all night - and the engineer, Grace, Jack and Garcia were still there. So I said, 'I'd like to record this please'."
It was rehearsed a couple of times and then recorded in one take.

He was present during, and played on, the recording of two songs that didn't make the final album but were subsequently released in 1974 on Early Flight; J.P.P. McStep B. Blues (Monday, November 14) and In The Morning (Monday, November 21).

Some sources suggest that Garcia was also played on Plastic Fantastic Lover and My Best Friend. To date this remains speculation - any information about documented sources describing other Garcia involvement on this album would be most welcome.

Garcia's non-playing role ("musical and spiritual adviser") can be assumed from statements made by members of Jefferson Airplane.

According to Jorma Kaukonen;

"Jerry could be credited with really being the producer in the real sense of the word in that he was one of us and he knew what to do with the band .... He really was the producer who arranged those songs..."
Paul Kantner in an interview with Dark Star magazine in the late 1970s said;
"We had an RCA producer, but Garcia did the art side of it."
Garcia on the other hand downplayed his role, defining it at one time as;
"... a sort of go-between between them and their producer, I helped out with some arrangements and stuff - I just hung out."
On the Surrealistic Pillow cover though Garcia is credited as their "musical and spiritual adviser". No other credit was possible as prior to the release of the LP the Grateful Dead had signed with Warner Brothers.

Most versions of the 'how the album got it's title' story indicate that it was Garcia who suggested at one point that it was "as surrealistic as a pillow". The quote has though been attributed to others.

The album reached third position in Billboard's album charts and was the sixth best selling LP of 1967 in the US.


Reissued on LP in 1973 by RCA and again in the late 1970s.
Reissued in late 1980s as a 'long box' CD by RCA PCD1 3766.
Reissued in remastered format in 1995 on CD that included both mono and stereo mixes of the album by RCA 66598-2.

Issued in the UK, in mutilated form, in 1967 by RCA. (She Has Funny Cars, Plastic Fantastic Lover and White Rabbit were not included on this version of the LP, being replaced by Don't Slip Away, Come Up The Years and Chauffer Blues.
Reissued on LP in early 1970s RCA SF 7889.
Reissued as a budget price LP in 1981 RCA INTS 5030.
Reissued on CD in 1987 RCD ND 83738.

Those wishing to delve more deeply into international reissues of Surrealistic Pillow and related material, should attempt to find a copy of issue 211 (March 1997) of the UK magazine Record Collector which features an excellent article about the album including illustrations of many album/singles sleeves and a discography.

Related releases


Tracks from Surrealistic Pillow were used on the following singles released in the US;

  • My Best Friend / How Do You Feel, January 1967, RCA 47-9063
  • Somebody To Love / She Has Funny Cars, February 1967, RCA 47-9140 (peaked at 5th in the Billboard charts)
  • White Rabbit / Plastic Fantastic Lover, June 1967, RCA 47-9248 (reached 8th in the Billboard charts)
  • Somebody To Love / White Rabbit, 1975, RCA 447-0796
  • White Rabbit / White Rabbit, 1977, Promo only, Grunt JH 10966
  • White Rabbit / Plastic Fantastic Lover, 1987, RCA SP-33-564
Jefferson Airplane compilations and repackaged releases

Both the mono and stereo versions of the album were included in the box set;

  • Ignition, Jefferson Airplane, 2001, RCA 68032
In 1995 Surrealistic Pillow was issued in a 'Gold' version which included both mono and stereo mixes of the album; In Europe RCA released Surrealistic Pillow together with Volunteers as a two LP on one CD release; Surrealistic Pillow was subsequently included on the 2-on-1 CD release; The 2003 expanded version of the album was included in the box set; Tracks From Surrealistic Pillow have been included on many Jefferson Airplane compilations.

White Rabbit and Somebody To Love have been included on numerous various artists compilations.

Today was included on;

Comin' Back To Me has been included on the following various artist compilations and soundtrack albums; 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds was included on; She Has Funny Cars was included on; Embryonic Journey was included on;
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