*3.17-D.C.B.A. 25 (Jefferson Airplane)

Jefferson Airplane


It's time you walked away--
Set me free.
I must move away--
leave you be.

         Time's been good to us, my friend.
         Wait and see how it will end.
         We come and go as we please.

         That's how it must be.

Here in crystal chandelier,
I'm home.
Too many days
I've left unstoned.

         If you don't find happiness
         Purple-pleasure fields in the sun...
         Ah, don't you know I'm runnin' home?

         To a place to you unknown?


I take great peace
In your sitting there.
Searching for myself
I find a place there.

         I see the people of the world,
         Where they are and what they could be.
         I can but dance behind your smile.

         You were the world to me for a while.

Somehow I ran across an excerpt, unfortunately lost to me now, from a Rolling Stone article on the internet, in which the composer was asked about the title of this song. Paul Kantner replied that D.C.B.A.-25 was nothing more than the chords in the song. The number, Kantner said, "is a reference to LSD-25. It's basically an LSD-inspired romp through consciousness. I can't even remember the words at this point."

Like She Has Funny Cars, the sense of the lyrics in D.B.C.A.-25 is of a romantic split. Though less intrepid instrumentally, Kantner’s song is more adventuresome vocally, as D.C.B.A.-25 is a duet that splits at the end of the B section verses so that Grace Slick repeats the third line, after which Kantner adds a fourth. I get the impression that the release of these lovers to freedom is a mutual desire, though a bittersweet parting for both. The lovers seem to put on each other’s perspective, starting with the first couplet, an inversion of the usual pronouns in such a statement, but mirrored in the following couplet. Too many days I’ve left unstoned has the double meaning of a hip complaint that the singer has been sober too much, or that the singer has wasted too many days without turning them over to discover what might be hiding under the date. Now that’s an LSD inspired thought! As a whole, the lyrics are more focused than Kaukonen & Balin’s She Has Funny Cars. The lyric of D.C.B.A.-25 ends on the graceful thought that You were the world to me for a while, while Slick in parting sees herself in her lover’s smile.

The instrumental portion of this song doesn’t especially sound psychedelic, and draws heavily from folk rock. Yet it introduces us to a laid back tone which would soon be identified with the San Francisco scene, an aesthetic which would, for a few seasons, center on feelings of peace. Hippies took this up, and it is the kind of sound made famous through such Top 40 hits as Get Together by the Youngbloods, recorded in 1967 as a minor hit but re-released in 1969 to reach #5 in the U.S. Indeed, the Jefferson Airplane had recorded a version of Get Together with Signe Toly Anderson as female lead singer, on Takes Off, the group’s first album issued in 1966.