A Very Kennedy Weekend

Thoughts and memories from longtime Jefferson Airplane Manager Bill Thompson

A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby bill-thompson on Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:54 pm

It was Feb 1968 and Jefferson Airplane had been invited to
play a benefit concert for Robert & Ethel Kennedy in Washington
D.C. We were flown in a small private plane that made a stop in
Nebraska to refuel. The plane held 9. There was the band of
6: Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady ,
Paul Kantner, Spencer Dryden & me. There was also a pro football
player Rosy Grier from the Los Angeles Rams who was the uncle
of the famous actress Pam Grier. We landed in D.C. in the late
afternoon. The benefit was held on Feb 17th 1968 & it was for
the "Junior Village Telethon" that was to aid mentally challenged
young people. It was a tv show that was broadcast to D.C. and
had a lot of politicians at the show. Jack Parr was the M.C. that
night.

Remember that this was in the middle of the Viet Nam war
which the Airplane was against. I had worked at the San Francisco
Chronicle newspaper as a copy boy until 1966. Pierre Salinger,
who had been the press secretary for John Kennedy was there and
he had worked at the Chronicle years before me. I knew that he
played piano. I talked with him and told him of a lot of newspaper
people that he knew who had said good things about Pierre. This
was the early days of music on tv & we had to lip synch because
they didn't have the technology in those days to broadcast the band
live. I asked Pierre if he would act like he was playing the piano on
a song that Grace wrote about James Joyce called "Rejoyce. In the
middle of the song Grace sings "wars good business so give your
son but I would rather have my country die for me." Some of the
republicans were outraged but Pierre took it in great strides. After
the concert was over there was a party in Georgetown at Averil
Harriman's house who had been an ambassador to Viet Nam during
JFK"s years as president.

I never saw Averil because I was told
he was so drunk he was in his bedroom. Grace Slick, Spencer
Dryden & I walked in to this room and there was Woody Allen &
the famous Hall Of Fame baseball player Stan Musial on the floor
doing card tricks. The only other two people in the room were
the comic duo mr & mrs Ben Stiller. It was a great party. I had an
opportunity to talk with Robert Kennedy one on one that night for
about 10 minutes. He was very quite spoken & talked to me about
running for president that year. He was murdered 4 months later
in Los Angeles. The next morning we were driven to Hickory
Hills, Virginia where the Kennedy family had lunch for us. The
kids were playing touch football on the lawn. There was Bobby
& Ethel playing the hosts. I saw Lauren Bacall, Andy Williams,
Perry Como and Tommy Smothers among others. I walked outside
and walked down to a cottage where they had a juke box. I
looked on it and saw "White Rabbit" the famous Jefferson Airplane
song. It was a great weekend!
Bill Thompson
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby Dormouse on Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:15 am

I love your stories. Thank you for sharing them!

Kennedy's press secretary pretending to the play piano for reJoyce?!? That must have been hilarious! It would be great to see that video!
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby DonRico1967 on Fri Feb 29, 2008 5:46 pm

Wow.

Thank you, Mr. Bill, for your ultimately cool tales of what REALLY happened back in the good ol' days.

PLEASE--

Keep 'em coming!

:D
UP AGAINST THE WALL, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby psychhead on Sat Mar 08, 2008 9:46 am

Thank you very much Bill. I appreciate your blog BIG TIME.

Rob
Psychedelic music is IN with time!!
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby babson on Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:58 am

bill-thompson wrote:
In the
middle of the song Grace sings "wars good business so give your
son but I would rather have my country die for me." Some of the
republicans were outraged but Pierre took it in great strides.
Bill Thompson


That's why JA had such a huge following. Not only the sound, but the social impact.

That's why we all loved Gracie.
Where have all the young men gone?
Long time ago
Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby oldblue on Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:32 pm

averill harriman was never the ambassador to south vietnam. you may have him confused wih henry cabot lodge.
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." — George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby Jerald on Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:20 am

Thanks for the details of band experiences at that time. I wonder what song's were performed or mimed. Was the broadcast televised and recorded?

Hope to read more about what happened back in the day.
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby Steve on Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:53 pm

Jerald wrote:Thanks for the details of band experiences at that time. I wonder what song's were performed or mimed. Was the broadcast televised and recorded?

Hope to read more about what happened back in the day.


If you reread the original story you will see it was mimed.
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby Jerald on Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:13 am

No thanks. I guess that I will be more clear and wonder what songs were mimed in performance.
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby SuperSlick66 on Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:50 am

come back billllllllllllll
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There was a time when all the people in the village would come out just to smile.
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Re: A Very Kennedy Weekend

Postby Malster on Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:59 am

Thank you so much billll. Its great weekend story I like your stories.
Show your stories with relevant videos thank you...
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