Continuing on with song 80 on UCR's top 100 classic songs! #80 is Jefferson Airplane "SOMEBODY TO LOVE"
"Somebody to Love" was first recorded by an obscure Bay Area band called the Great Society, which featured Grace Slick on vocals and her brother Darby on guitar. (The latter also wrote the song, which was then titled "Someone to Love.")
But "Somebody to Love" didn’t resonate with a wider audience until Slick recorded it with her next group, Jefferson Airplane. The second version of the song boasts a faster tempo, beefed-up guitars and drums and, most important, a forceful performance from the frontwoman.
The hesitance Slick exhibited in the Great Society version vanishes. Instead, she belts out the indelible chorus – "Don’t you want somebody to love? / Don’t you need somebody to love? / Wouldn’t you love somebody to love? / You better find somebody to love" – with sharp, sassy confidence. A mixture of scorn and longing drips from her smoky voice; the delivery announces her arrival as one of the great female rock vocalists of all time.
Although Jefferson Airplane were already leaders of the nascent San Francisco psych-rock scene, "Somebody to Love" signaled the band’s arrival in the mainstream: The song reached No. 5 on the Billboard chart and its accompanying album, 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow, hit No. 3.
More important, the song had a seismic impact on music's traditionally male-centric culture. "Somebody to Love" finally normalized women taking center stage in their musical projects — a ground-breaking moment which paved the way for female vocalists ranging from Janis Joplin all the way through to Adele.