Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fossils: Jefferson Starship's Spitfire (1976)

Jefferson Starship's Spitfire
[click to embiggen]
Jefferson Starship – Spitfire

What a difference a few years makes – discarding Jefferson Airplane frontman Paul Kanter’s solo debut Blows Against The Empire, which was credited to Kanter and “Jefferson Starship,” and was more of a hard rock hippie fever dream than a pop album – by 1974, the Airplane had been grounded. The band added new guitarist Craig Chaquico and bassist Pete Sears (to replace founding members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, who went full-time with their Hot Tuna side project) and took flight anew as Jefferson Starship. The 1974 release of Starship’s Dragon Fly hit #11 on the charts, but the following year’s Red Octopus rose to the top spot on the strength of the hit single “Miracles.”

Starship’s third album as a full band, 1976’s Spitfire, couldn’t boast of material of the strength of “Miracles,” but it rode high on the charts nonetheless, sitting at #3 for three weeks and eventually selling better than a million copies. The album’s colorful cover artwork was certainly striking, the brilliant graphics making for a memorable ad that featured an enigmatic female figure astride an Asian styled dragon and, at the bottom, the album’s name. Although the label stepped up its game for the album artwork, the ad itself is pretty lazy, saying nothing about the band or music and relying instead on the LP imagery itself to sell the product.

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