From the Stacks

From the Stacks: Crown of Creation

Crown of Creation was Jefferson Airplane’s fourth album, released in 1968.  It did well, reaching number six in the US.  It’s hippy-dippy, dated, doesn’t really hold up, but that’s not what grabs me.

No, it’s that mushroom cloud on the cover.  During the Cold War being deep was so damned easy.   That glowing tower of nuclear destruction was shorthand for so much:  I’m peaceful; I’m involved; I’m concerned.  Once in the hallways of Boiling Springs High School I said to Lee G.: “We’re the first generation to live our entire lives under the threat of the entire world being destroyed at any minute.”  Heavy, man, heavy.

What’s kind of interesting about that moment, though, is that it demonstrates just how much the mood of the mushroom cloud changed in the fifteen years after Crown Of Creation.   Hippies may have used the image as a sort of forewarning — come together and love each other, people, before it’s too late — but the punks took more of a “fuck it, it’s going to happen” approach to the tower of nuclear fire.

So Crown Of Creation captures a moment in time, and honestly if we would’ve known that “We Built This City” was fifteen years down the road when it was released back in ’68, we all may have prayed for fiery death.

Categories: From the Stacks, Music

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7 replies »

  1. I remember, very clearly, that Cold War sense of living on borrowed time that would sneak up in contemplative moments.


  2. I could imagine the group listening to radio at the time, thinking, “We could write better Top 40 crap than THIS.” And that they did.

    Went to see Jefferson Starship in Tahoe, as a summer vacation hostage of the family. If you could imagine a high school Drama Club production, with painted cardboard settings, and back-and-forth cardboard-wave special effects… you are imagining a better show than this.

    Rock and Roll?! “We are SO rock-and-roll, we are getting Bernie Taupin to write us a song PROVING it!” And “Sara”?! Saaaah-aaa-aaahh-raaaaah! Yikes.

    Pretty sure this is an argument only in MY mind. But this is far cheaper than therapy. Jefferson Starship touched me in a bad place. Not a good touch.


      • Sir, kindly do not confuse, “punk” with, “punkass bitch.” My bucket list Final Exit selection is tweaking on blotter acid in the tub, and submerging the tape player as, “White Rabbit” peaks. Thank you, Hunter S. Thompson.


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