Our Top 10 Jefferson Starship songs list takes a look at a band that was one of the most influential psychedelic bands of the 1960s and then radically change their sound, style, and interestingly their name from the Jefferson Airplane to the Jefferson Starship in the early 1970’s. The name change occurred because of the departure of Jack Casady and guitarist Jorma Kaukonen who would go on to continue to work with their own band entitled Hot Tuna. The change from the Airplane to the Starship did not occur overnight. The Jefferson Starship grew out of Paul Kanter’s offshoot band Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra. The band toured while Jefferson Airplane was in a hiatus and recorded two albums.
While Grace Slick and Paul Kantner worked together in Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra, Paul began recruiting other musicians that would eventually form the Jefferson Starship. The band recorded their first album in 1974 entitled Dragonfly. The album featured musicians Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Papa John Creach, a young teenage phenomenon Craig Chaquico, David Freiberg, Pete Sears, John Barbata and one vocal appearance by Marty Balin.
Marty Balin would join the band for their next album entitled Red Octopus which was released in 1975. The album featured the mega-hit “Miracle,” which put the band on the map big time. The group continued to release albums over the next forty years. During that time period, both Grace Slick and Marty Balin would quit the band and rejoin numerous times. Micky Thomas who was known for singing lead on Elvis Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” single joined Jefferson Starship as a lead singer thee 1980s. Micky Thomas and Jefferson Starship enjoyed great commercial success in the 1980s although their sound had changed so dramatically since the psychedelic days of the 1960’s. It’s hard to believe that the same core group of musicians including Grace Slick and Paul Kantner that released “White Rabbit,” were singing on the single “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”
Any resemblance or connection to the Jefferson Airplane ended in 2016 with the passing of Paul Kanter. Our Top 10 Jefferson Starship songs list takes a look at some of the best material the band released during the Jefferson Starship years. Like our Jefferson Airplane article, this list separates the material between the Airplane and the Starship. We have purposely omitted some of the material that was released when they were just calling themselves Starship. Songs like “We Built This City,” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” were mega-hit singles but in our opinion not their best material.
# 10 – Ride The Tiger
We start our top 10 Jefferson Starship songs list with a song from the band’s first album entitled Dragonfly. The song “Ride The Tiger,” was the album’s opening track.
# 9 – Fast Buck Freddie
Fast Buck Freddie was the opening song on the band’s great 1970’s album Red Octopus. The song was written by Grace Slick and Craig Chaquico. The Red Octopus album was released in 1975. There was still remnants of that old Jefferson Airplane sound in the record on certain songs including the great track Fast Buck Freddie.
# 8 – St Charles
The epic Jefferson Starship piece “St Charles,” was the closing track on the band’s Spitfire album. The Spitfire album was released in 1976. “St Charles,” was released as the second single from the album but only reached the number 64th spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 7 – With Your Love
The hit single “With Your Love,” was the bands follow up single to their smash hit “Miracles,” which was released on the Red Octopus album the year before. The song “With Your Love,” was the lead single from the Spitfire album. The song was a top 20 hit peaking at number 12.
# 6 – Count On Me
“Count On Me,” was released on the 1978 album Earth. It was a top 10 hit peaking at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
# 5 – Winds Of Change
“Winds of Change,” was released on the 1982 album Winds Of Change. It was the album’s opening cut.
# 4 – Laying It On The Line
“Laying It On The Line,” was released on the Nuclear Furniture album. The record was released in 1984.
# 3 – Find Your Way Back
The album Modern Times featured the great Jefferson Starship song “Find Your Way Back.” The Modern Times album was issued in 1981.
# 2 – Jane
As we get closer to our number one spot on our top 10 Jefferson Starship songs list we turn to the great Freedom At Point Zero album released in 1979. The great keyboard infused song “Jane,”
will always be one of our favorite songs that did not feature Grace Slick or Marty Balin on lead vocals. It was Micky Thomas’s shining moment in the band.
# 1 – Miracles
There was no question as to which songs would come in at number one on our top 10 Jefferson Starship songs list. Miracles was easily the band’s best song they ever released under the Jefferson Starship name. Marty Balin’s lead vocal on the track was to die for. A classic 1970’s gem.