Jefferson Airplane vs. the Band – Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame, Round One
Do you want somebody to love, or would you rather go up on Cripple Creek? Ordinarily, you could have both, but in this round of Ultimate Classic Rock Hall of Fame voting, you'll have to choose between Jefferson Airplane and the Band.
The Airplane launched first, releasing their debut LP (the appropriately titled 'Jefferson Airplane Takes Off') in 1966. That effort didn't attain great commercial heights, petering out at No. 128, but the band's sales fortunes improved the following year, when 'Surrealistic Pillow' hit No. 3 and went gold and its follow-up, 'After Bathing at Baxter's,' also broke into the Top 20. It established a pattern of success that lasted for the next five years, a span that found the group releasing four more Top 20, gold-certified LPs.
After that, things got a little weird for the band, which morphed into the Jefferson Starship then the Starship, and then exploded into multiple Jeffersonian Starship or Airplane-type bands -- but that's a story for another post, and anyway, we're here to pay tribute to the Airplane.
The Band, meanwhile, got their start with 1968's 'Music From Big Pink,' a Top 30 hit that arrived on the heels of the group's turn as backing musicians for Bob Dylan on his 1966 tour. Adopting a rootsy sound that hearkened back to bygone days (and sowed the seeds of the Americana format in the process), they spent the next decade making hit records -- and went out on top, releasing the classic live album 'The Last Waltz' as one of rock's more poignant farewells.
Years after the breakup, they underwent their own change in membership, reconvening without chief songwriter Robbie Robertson for a series of albums that, while they didn't achieve the same level of critical or commercial success, continued the Band's legacy without besmirching it -- and gave the world more Levon Helm vocals in the bargain.
So which of these two legendary bands gets your vote? Jefferson Airplane or the Band? Cast your vote once every hour between now and 11:59PM ET on Feb. 16. This month’s winner will be announced on March 3. Be sure to read our official rules.