RE: Two questions

Patrick Julian (
Mon, 13 Oct 97 04:05:01 UT

I also would like to know the source of the Airplane's inspiration for the
chorus. The writing of the songs on the album "Volunterrs" in 1969 reflected
the growing awareness of the Airplane of political issues and their
transformation from hippy/flower child, peace, love and we/they generation
band to a more radical political issues band. Quoting from David Pichaske in
"A Generation in Motion": "The most radical album of the sixties, however, was
the Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers with the group chanting in obvious
delight, "Look what's happening out in the streets, got a revolution, got to
revolution:. Complete with a chorus or two of "Up against the wall,
Motherfucker, tear down the wall." And intimations that we should be all be
together, volunteer outlaws in America, and suggestions from Grace Slick that
we either go away or go all the way. It was a very heavy album, very in tune
with a segment of the late sixties, and an album not aired on AM radio.
Naturally Volunteers got the Airplane in plenty of trouble with RCA Rcords
because among the many revolutions it brought home was the right to free
speech. Curously RCA made little attempt to censor content (not even when the
Airplane-Starship eulogized Weatherman Diana Oughton in New York in 1970).
Censorship meant no diry words. Perhaps as everyone suspected, the real
revolution was in language and dress; everything else was mere window

Apparently RCA let the recording stand after it was determined that the
musical "Hair", also on RCA, had the word "motherfucker" in it. The Airplane
did the song word for word on the Dick Cavett show instead of using the phrase
"Up against the wall Fred" which was how the original album showed the words.

From: owner-sixties-l@jefferson.village.Virginia.EDU on behalf of Archie Loss
Sent: October 9, 1997 14:41 PM
Subject: Two questions

What is the source of the "Up against the wall, motherfucker" chorus in
Jefferson Airplane's "We Can Be Together"?

I have had many guests speak to my sixties class, but have never
located a Vietnam nurse. I teach at Penn State-Erie (The Behrend
College) in Erie, PA. I would be very much interested in locating
someone who had this experience and would be willing to share it with
my class.

Archie Los