How Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ Performed on the Charts Compared to Queen’s ‘Somebody to Love’

TL;DR:

  • Jefferson Airplane and Queen both released hit songs called “Somebody to Love.”
  • Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick had a strong reaction to her vocals on “Somebody to Love.”
  • She discussed her early feelings about that song and “White Rabbit.”
Queen's Freddie Mercury with a microphone during the "Somebody to Love" era
Freddie Mercury of Queen | Pete Still/Redferns

A number of classic rock songs share the same title. For example, Jefferson Airplane and Queen both released songs called “Somebody to Love.” Jefferson Airplane’s Grace Slick contrasted her vocal performance on “Somebody to Love” to her mother’s singing.

Grace Slick said she could’ve imitated her mother’s singing on Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ but she didn’t

During a 2016 interview with Forbes, Grace Slick was asked about the creation of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love.” “I don’t know whether it was a Tuesday or Thursday, but I remember being in front of the microphone, then listening to the playback on four big Altec speakers in the control room,” she recalled. 

Slick was happy with her vocals on the track. “I remember thinking, ‘My God, that is amazing — they make it sound like I can really sing,'” she said. “My mom was a singer. I can imitate her, but it’s not my style. She was a lot quieter. They didn’t have rock ‘n’ roll in the ’30s.”

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How Grace Slick expected ‘Somebody to Love’ and ‘White Rabbit’ to perform commercially

Subsequently, Slick was asked if she expected Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” to become hugely popular. “Not really,” she replied. “But you understand from playing, even just around San Francisco, what people respond to. 

“When I went from The Great Society to [Jefferson] Airplane I brought those songs with me because people responded to them,” Slick added. “Recording with the Airplane was a pleasure because Jack [Casady] and Jorma [Kaukonen] are amazing musicians.” Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” was a bigger hit than Queen’s later song of the same title.

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How Jefferson Airplane’s ‘Somebody to Love’ and Queen’s song of the same name performed in the United States

Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” became the band’s biggest hit in the United States. It reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 15 weeks. Jefferson Airplane released the track on the album Surrealistic Pillow. The album reached No. 3 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 56 weeks.

Queen’s “Somebody to Love” became a more modest hit. It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the chart for 15 weeks. Queen released “Somebody to Love” on the album A Day at the Races. The album hit No. 5 on the Billboard 200. It remained on the chart for 19 weeks.

Regardless of which song was more popular, both Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” and Queen’s song of the same name are classic songs.

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