I seized upon 5 different songs tonight, found I had played them all within the past year … wouldn’t you think I could remember what I’ve played for a year or so? Methinks my memory is going … going … Anyway, being tired and having much left to do before I can go to bed tonight, I decided to redux this one because … I like it. No other reason.
I frequently make reference to being “down in the rabbit hole”, meaning my mood, mind and psyche are in a dark place, usually from the topics I write about, sometimes for more personal reasons. But this song, written by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane, is about another sort of rabbit hole altogether.
Slick got the idea for this song after taking LSD and spending hours listening to the Miles Davis album Sketches Of Spain, especially the opening track, “Concierto de Aranjuez.”
Slick based the lyrics on Lewis Carroll’s book Alice In Wonderland. Like many young musicians in San Francisco, Slick did a lot of drugs, and she saw a surfeit of drug references in Carroll’s book, including the pills, the smoking caterpillar, the mushroom, and lots of other images that are pretty trippy. She noticed that many children’s stories involve a substance of some kind that alters reality, and felt it was time to write a song about it.
This is not necessarily one of my favourite songs of the 60s, but it is one of those songs that can get stuck in your head and just won’t leave. And I do love the Spanish beat and the guitar sequence at the beginning. Anyway, it got stuck in my head today as I was cleaning the bathroom, and as of this writing, at 11:00 p.m., it is still stuck there. So, I thought it best to transfer it to your heads! No thanks are necessary 😏
One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call
And call Alice, when she was just small
When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice, I think she’ll know
When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head
Songwriters: Grace Wing Slick
White Rabbit lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group