This Grace Slick Vocal Track Will Send Shivers Up Your Spine

I was watching the compelling HBO series Big Little Lies the other night – a great show with a great music soundtrack – when I heard a clip from this recording, Grace Slick’s isolated vocal track from the Jefferson Airplane classic “White Rabbit”. I wanted to hear the whole thing, so I did some poking around and found that someone uploaded a copy last summer and it’s been making the rounds since then.

You’ve got to listen to it, this is one thrilling piece of audio. I get chills even on repeated listens. Grace Slick was an absolute powerhouse. Who knows if we’ll ever hear a voice like hers again?

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Even in the early, quiet part of the song, her voice sounds so solid and note-steady as she navigates the difficult Eastern-influenced musical scale. Then she starts to crank it up when the men on the chessboard get up and tell her where to go. Such controlled power, such a confident vibrato. And then there’s the big finish, make sure you’re hanging onto something when you listen to it.

Grace Slick was not a very good singer technically speaking, and she always admitted as much. She had a low voice and couldn’t sing high and she couldn’t really sing softly either. What she did so well was sing powerfully and loud, which is more like bellowing than singing when you get right down to it. Hers was a bellow with majestic qualities.

That’s what opera singers do. Opera ‘singing’ is really just a controlled yell – steady, powerful and on-note. There have been plenty of Rock Operas, and bands like Queen liked to play with operatic forms, but was there ever a more operatic moment in Rock history than this, Grace Slick’s last note on “White Rabbit”?

Photo: By Grunt Records/ICM (International Creative Management) (eBay item photo front photo back) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3 comments to “This Grace Slick Vocal Track Will Send Shivers Up Your Spine”
  1. Pingback: August 1967 Spawned An Embarrassment Of Musical Riches, Like These 18 Gems | Rocknuts

  2. Another amazing female vocalist is Heart’s Anne Wilson, though I agree White Rabbit is one of a kind, too many vocalists today cheat with auto tune, there was no such thing back in those days.

  3. Grace Slick had the most killer vibrato in Rock at her time. When she was having a good night no one could touch her. She commanded your attention visually and vocally. Grace played with command the piano , the recorder guitar and bass. She is the original Queen of Rock.

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