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We Can Be Together by Jefferson Airplane

Album: VolunteersReleased: 1970
  • This was the first track on the album, and released as the B-side for their more well-known "Volunteers." It didn't chart.
  • Due to Jefferson Airplane's experience and popularity among the American youth, they were granted complete artistic control for the Volunteers album. They exercised it here with a chorus of "Up against the wall, motherf--kers" that became a rallying cry for the counterculture.
  • One of the first recorded uses of the word "f--k."
  • On a previous album, After Bathing at Baxter's, they battled with their record company, RCA, over the use of the word "s--t." It was deleted from the lyric sheet.
  • The (uncensored) performance of this song for The Dick Cavett Show episode broadcast on August 19, 1969 marked the first time that the "f-word" was ever said/sung on television. Apparently, Cavett was asked to make a pre-show disclaimer statement before the broadcast. (thanks, Tony - Westbury, NY)
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Comments: 9

"Up Against the Wall, Motherf--ker" had its lyrical origination with the MC5 (Motor City 5 -- from, not oddly, Detroit). The origin of the original phrase is somewhat more obscure, old and, no doubt, shrouded in the mists of time.Bruce - New Orleans, La
'Most of the lyrics for... "We Can Be Together"... were used virtually word for word on a leaflet written by [UAW/MF member] John Sundstrom, and published as "The Outlaw Page" in the East Village Other.' Not sure if this means Paul Kantner borrowed the words from UAW/MF or vice versa. Anyone know anything else about this coincidence?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Up_Against_the_Wall_Motherf--kers
Husunzi - Neijiang, China
Uh, Fyodor -- it was the other side's fault. Or weren't you actually there?Julian - Minneapolis, Mn
This song was the cry for change that was only ever partially heard. It was a plea for humanity to return before everything collapsed, and while it went only partially heeded everyone got a taste of things to come.

I wish their luxury cars would have been stolen, too, but haven't you read the essay "Death of the Author" by Barthes? The author is irrelevant, get over it. All that matters is the words. You'll find hypocrisy in everyone - just judge the words themselves and stop trying to feel superior simply because the author reaches out to heaven and fails to grasp it. Are you truly so saddened by your own failures to reach your dreams you can only spit vritually at others who have equally failed but at least tried?

How sad. Oh well.
Jay - Hope, Ab
Trish,the Movement peaked in May,1970.After that,it was all downhill.
We Can Be Together came out in the first part of 1970 when it appeared that the entire country was on the brink of chaos.
One wonders what would have happened if someone tried to steal one of the Airplane's luxury cars and told Grace and Marty,"Hey,all your private property is a target for your enemy"
Doug - Oakland, Ca
Eskimo Blue DaySteve - Birmingham, Al
The remark about the Baxter's album is interesting, because they at least got the s-word into the soundtrack of an album-I remember hearing it on the recording. I don't remember the song or album title, but the lyric was, "...the great American dream doesn't mean s--- to a tree." Tony, was that what you were referring to, and are you saying they didn't get the word into the printed lyrics; or that in a different battle, over the song I excerpted from above, they couldn't get the word into the song at all?Fred - Laurel, Md
This very self-conscious hippy movement manifesto does a good, if inadvertent, job of laying bare the movement's contradictions and confusion as it advocates unethical behavior for some supposedly higher morality, destruction for the sake of peace and a divisive stance for the sake of togetherness. Oh, I know it's supposedly all the other side's fault. It always is, isn't it?Fyodor - Denver, Co
i'm pretty sure that up against the wall mother****ers was not originated by the airplane. this is what protesters and SDS members heard quite a bit from national guardsmen and pigs all over america in the mid to late 60's. this song did not come out until 1970, well after most of the underground movement's main protests and rallies had endedTrish - Old Forge, Pa