Plastic Fantastic Lover

Album: Surrealistic Pillow (1967)


  • This song isn't about what you think it is (OK, we'll say it - a sex toy). It was written by Marty Balin as an ode to his new stereo system, which was a novelty item at the time.
  • This was released as the B-side of "Somebody To Love," which was a US Top 5 single.
  • An early song by The Police, "Be My Girl - Sally," makes reference to, shall we say, a more literal variety of "plastic fantastic lover." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joshua - La Crosse, WI, for all above
  • The band performed this during their set at Woodstock in 1969. The festival is remembered for peace and love, but not for timeliness: Jefferson Airplane didn't go on until 8:00 a.m. the second day.

Comments: 11

  • Apsa from AfricaThe song is about television, and the way it captures all attention. It's kind of a robot that you'd be in love with.
    The band had visited a TV factory, which led Marty to write this song.
    There's some kind of a mechanical feeling there (the drumming, the unusual cool vocals, maybe the piano too) which makes me actually think of a factory.

    It's the last song of the Surrealistic pillow LP, and the lead guitar somehow announces what will be done in the next LP, After bathing at Baxter's.
  • George from Vancouver, Canadavery first line:
    > Her neon mouth with a bleeding talk smile
    proves it's about a sex doll, not a stereo!
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaDragster slang "plastic fantastic" refers to a funny car. could they have been just singing about someone who loves funny cars?
  • Josh from Westborough, MaThis song is about a dildo. yes it is. yes.
  • Larry from Medina, OhThe live version... listen to Kaukonen and Cassady. One of the greatest lead and bass guitar jams in rock music. And Balin's vocals are at their best. He could belt it when he wanted to.
  • Cyberpope from Richmond, CanadaJefferson Airtplane was one of a kind - they only /devolved/ going to Jefferson Starship then "The Starship"
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiNorm: Well, the liner notes from Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship Greatest Hits (a 2-CD compilation from 2002) said the song was about a stereo system. Evidently one of these two albums has it wrong.
  • Norm from Orlando, FlTo set the FACTS straight, Plastic Fantastic Lover is about a television set. Check out Marty Balin's quote stating so in the liner notes of 2400 Fulton Street, the 1987 compilation. Now that I think of it, I have Marty Balin's autograph on the liner notes of that CD!
  • Mark B. Stoned from Desperate Hot Springs, CaThe live versions definitely rock harder, but I love the groove they get going on the album version. Plus, closing the album with it works to great effect given the way that "Embryonic Journey" flows into "White Rabbit", which climaxes and settles into this. Gotta love early Airplane.
  • Meredith from Chesapeake, VaThe live versions were a lot better, I think.
  • Mark B. Stoned from Desperate Hot Springs, CaExcellent song to end a classic album.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Little Big TownSongwriter Interviews

"When seeds that you sow grow by the wicked moon/Be sure your sins will find you out/Your past will hunt you down and turn to tell on you."

Timothy B. Schmit of the EaglesSongwriter Interviews

Did this Eagle come up with the term "Parrothead"? And what is it like playing "Hotel California" for the gazillionth time?

QueenFact or Fiction

Scaramouch, a hoople and a superhero soundtrack - see if you can spot the real Queen stories.

Who Did It First?Music Quiz

Do you know who recorded the original versions of these ten hit songs?

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

Michael BoltonSongwriter Interviews

Into the vaults for this talk with Bolton from the '80s when he was a focused on writing songs for other artists.