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Grace Slick/ Michelle Phillips: Sixties Survivors

August 3, 2013

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Talent…

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… These are the lovely ladies and gorgeous girls of eras gone by whose beauty, ability, electricity and all-round x-appeal deserve celebration and – ahem – salivation here at George’s Journal

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‘Flower power’ has had its detractors over the years, but surely even they must drop to their knees in adulation to the movement for opening its petals and allowing, Bottecelli-like, two rock goddesses to step forth and dazzle us for ever after. Yes, they’re the always high-soaring Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane and the more-than-just sexy-momma of The Mamas & The Papas, Michelle Phillips. And they’re the latest far-out pair to enter this blog’s Talent corner, peeps…
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Profiles

Names: Grace Barnett Slick (née Wing)/ Holly Michelle Phillips (née Gilliam)

Nationality: American

Professions: Singer, songwriter, musician and artist/ Singer, songwriter and actress

Born: October 30 1939, Evanston, Illinois/ June 14 1944, Long Beach, California

Height: Both 5ft 7in

Known for: Grace – the oh-so idiosyncratic front-woman of and major songwriter for the seminal mid- to late ’60s San Francisco rock band Jefferson Airplane and, later, its ’70s and ’80s evolution as pop-rock outfit Jefferson Starship, especially for her performances of  Somebody To Love and White Rabbit (the latter of which was penned by Grace and memorably references Alice In Wonderland), which originally appeared on The Airplane’s classic Surrealist Pillow album (1967) and were the centrepiece of their legendary set at August 1969’s Woodstock Festival. Revered at this time – and subsequently – as a major, and thus rare female, mover-and-shaker in the US counter-culture scene and good friends with Janis Joplin and David Crosby, she had been a fashion model before moving with her first husband to Calfornia and founding with him and his brother the lesser known band The Great Society. A notorious alcoholic, Grace has been sober for several years and is now a successful artist, her paintings (often inspired by the ’60s rock scene) fetching eye-watering prices.

Michelle – easily the fairest and far from the least significant member (along with husband John Phillips, ‘Mama’ Cass Elliott and Denny Doherty) of the iconic four-part-harmony, folk-rock band of the mid- to late ’60s The Mamas & The Papas and, with John Phillips, writer of two of their biggest hits California Dreamin’ (1965) and Creeque Alley (1967). Following the band’s break-up in ’68, she’s focused mainly on acting, making her debut alongside Warren Oates in Dillinger (1973), then starred in the Martin Sheen TV movie The California Kid (1974) and as the second wife of Rudolph Valentino (Rudolf Nureyev) in Ken Russell’s Valentino (1977). She also appeared in several seasons of US TV soap Knots Landing (1979-93)  and in episodes of Star Trek: The Next-Generation (1987-94), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000) and Spin City (1996-2002). Over the years, she’s had relationships with high-profile Hollywood figures Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Dennis Hooper (to whom she was married for eight days in 1970), while she’s the mother of Wilson Phillips singer Chynna Phillips.

Strange but true: Grace – an alumnus of Manhattan’s prestigious Finch women’s college, she was invited along to a 1969 tea party at the White House, as she was in the same year there as Richard Nixon’s daughter; taking along left-wing political activist Abbie Hoffman as her ‘plus one’, she planned on using the occasion to drop LSD into Nixon’s tea, but was thwarted when security guards recognised her and refused her entry – she’d been apparently put on a FBI blacklist. Although almost always most identified with the ’60s rock of Jefferson Airplane, Grace in fact sang lead vocals on the nowadays ‘pure pop’-derided Jefferson Starship hits We Built This City (1985) and Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now (1987) – the latter, Oscar-nominated thanks to its featuring on the soundtrack of comedy Mannequin (1987), also ensured she was the oldest female artist to secure a US #1 single until Cher with the auto-tune-tastic Believe (1998)/ Michelle – in The Mamas & The Papas’ early days, she won 17 straight shoots in a Bahamas crap game that ensured the broke band could return to the US; years later, she sang backing vocals on Belinda Carlisle’s US and UK #1 single Heaven Is A Place On Earth (1987).

Peak of fitness: Grace – performing with The Airship at Woodstock, wearing her skimpy, cowboy-style white top and white trousers and looking like the icon-for-all-times she is for their awesome Sunday-morning-defying gig/ Michelle – cosying up in the nuddy with Rudolf Nureyev’s Valentino in the ’77 movie of the same name.

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limelightagency.com/Grace-Slick/news/news.html

jeffersonairplane.com

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CLICK on images for full-size

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michelle_phillips_in_white_jumper_2 Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas

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Grace Slick and Sally Mann at Woodstock

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Grace Slick in a Bathtub

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Grace Slick and Daughter Cooking at Home grace_slick_hand_in_hair

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Michael permalink
    November 24, 2013 6:55 am

    Great! Thanks!

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