Wild Child, Grace Slick
Grace Slick, born, Grace Barnett Wing, in 1939 was a very successful singer-songwriter, musician, artist, and model. Slick is, and was, well known for her role in the growing, “psychedelic” rock and roll music scene in the 1960’s. She is also one of the first, successful, female rock stars and was instrumental in launching that same style of music. Along with her distinguishing vocal sound, she was a true entertainer with a dynamic stage presence.
Slick has been married twice and divorced twice. Her first marriage was to Jerry Slick, a cinematographer. Her second was to Skip Johnson, a Jefferson Starship lighting designer. Grace Slick was/is extremely talented and has brought a lot of success to the bands she has been associated with. Not only was she talented, but she was equally demanding. She enjoyed spreading the love with her sex-capades and just couldn’t get enough. She found herself, not only giving freely, but also expecting sex with multiple partners, including band members, even though she was married.
Being part of the counterculture, Slick found herself enjoying all of the taboos that were plaguing the counterculture era. In addition to her sexual promiscuity, she was an alcoholic and an addict, doing hard drugs. Her drinking and drug use had gotten so bad that she was in a self-destructive mode. Slick’s addiction was not just her problem but also trickled down to her band members and other people around. There were times that she was so wasted that shows had to be cancelled leaving fans angry and disappointed. She was also known to be belligerent to her fans as well as others.
Slick was well known for being an active participant in challenging authority and was caught up in the counterculture movement of the 1960’s; pushing the envelope every chance she got. She used her fame to bring light to the cause; whether intentional or not. Because of this, she also had her run-ins with the law. Slick has been arrested at least 4 times for a variety of antics. She claimed that her arrests were largely due to “T.U.I.” (talking under the influence). One of those arrests was for pointing a gun (although unloaded) at a police officer. At one point, she was even on the FBI’s “Black List” for her involvement as an anti-establishment sympathizer. In 1969, Grace Slick had inadvertently been invited to the White House to attend a dinner. After being recognized, she was asked to leave before she had the chance to carry out her plan; spiking President Nixon’s drink with LSD!
Grace Slick’s music career lasted nearly 40 years. She was a key contributor to several groups throughout those years, including The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship. She also dabbled at times in a solo career. She was most definitely influential in the careers of many other female singers of her time; Stevie Nicks being one of them.
Throughout her career, Slick released and contributed to countless popular albums and is credited with vocals in a lot of iconic songs, including "Somebody to Love,” "White Rabbit,” "We Built This City" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now." Despite her unfortunate substance abuse and legal issues, Grace Slick was recognized as a true pioneer in the rock and roll industry; maybe more so for female artists. She has been recognized with many awards including a Grammy. Slick has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her role in Jefferson Airplane.
Grace Slick was also known as Gracie, The Acid Queen and The Chrome Nun. Even now, when I think of her, I remember her for her contribution to the history of rock and roll and for being a free spirited, fun-loving hippie!