Miracles

Album: Red Octopus (1975)
Charted: 3

Songfacts®:

  • Jefferson Airplane founder/vocalist Marty Balin wrote this song and sang lead. He quit the group in 1971, fed up with his bandmates Paul Kantner and Grace Slick, but in 1974, after they became Jefferson Starship, he dipped his toe back in with "Caroline," which he co-wrote and sang. He was a full participant in their next album, Red Octopus, which contains "Miracles."

    The song has an R&B feel, which Balin brought to the group. One of the factors that drove him away in 1971 was the musical direction of the band, which had turned toward more improvised psychedelic rock.
  • In this song, Marty Balin sounds like he is crazy for a lady and thinks their love is a miracle. If only she'd believe it too, they'll be fine.

    But below the surface lies a deeper meaning. Balin was inspired to write the song while reading Persian poetry that equated making love to women as a metaphor for making love to God.

    "I had been involved with a living avatar Sathya Sai Baba," Balin told Shindig magazine in 2018. "They called him 'the man of miracles.' So I started playing it for the band and they kind of looked at it and went, 'I don't know about that... there's something wrong with that.'"

    Balin stuck with his instincts and kept the song. It's a good thing he did, because it was the highest-charting single that the band, in either their Jefferson Airplane or the Jefferson Starship incarnation, had released to that point. They would eventually beat that sales record under the banner of Starship.
  • Balin gets rather florid in the lyrics, with windmills and rainbows and rippling rivers, but it's the soaring chorus that carries the song musically. The deeper spiritual meaning of the song may explain why Balin was able to sing it with so much conviction despite some fluffier elements, such as the highly repetitive use of the word "baby." The deeper meaning was lost on most listeners, but Balin's inspiration brings a new layer to lines like:

    All we gotta do
    Is get a little faith in you


    and

    So we're makin' love and you feel the power

    Even with the spiritual meaning of the song, the line, "I had a taste of the real world when I went down on you, girl" was a risqué line for a mainstream release.
  • The album version runs 6:52, but was edited down to 3:27 for radio airplay by their producer Larry Cox, who made sure the radio edit got right to the chorus. Some of the suggestive lyrics were also removed, an action uncharacteristic of Jefferson Airplane. Cox, who had worked with Buddy Holly and Brian Wilson, told Melody Maker in 1976: "I cut the chorus in half and dealt with three verses of lyric which I wanted to preserve. Every verse was extremely important. I applaud the group for making the concession and allowing me to edit the tune down for radio play."
  • Red Octopus was the only #1 album Jefferson Airplane/Starship ever had, largely thanks to this ballad. The album sold more than four million copies.
  • A hit song can be an albatross for a band if it takes them in a direction they'd rather not go, and the very middle-of-the-road sound of "Miracles" didn't sit well with Grace Slick, who told BAM magazine in 1980: "All of that 'baby come back to me' stuff was us trying to copy 'Miracles.' We'd never been a real hot singles band. So, when 'Miracles' hit, it was all of a sudden 'better stick with that s--t.' But I felt odd doing it, felt like I was wearing a costume, a monkey suit or something."
  • The band's bass player, David Freiberg, came up with the organ riff on this song. In a Songfacts interview with Freiberg, he told the story. "We had rehearsed all the tunes for Red Octopus for quite a while, but that lick didn't show up until we were recording the basic tracks in the studio and we seemed to get a really great mix in headphones," he said. "I could really hear what everyone was playing really well and that lick just kind of rolled off my fingers. Everyone said, 'Hey, can you do that again?' So, I gladly did!"

Comments: 52

  • Nanodelle from NcHas to be one of my faves and one of the best love songs of all time:) The late Marty Balin wrote beautiful lyrics and had an incredible voice. 1975 was an awesome year, indeed (especially in the late Summer through Fall, and into '76). Lots of hit music with saxophones: Ohio Players, George Harrison, Bruce and the E St Band, Elton John, Leon Russell, Boz, etc. All wonderful, and this Jefferson Starship song was no exception They had Papa John Creech on violin, if I'm not mistaken. Magical!
  • Anonymouslove this song , its amazing
  • David from North SeattleI agree with others here about the unparalleled excellence and almost eerie ethereal magic of this song. It puts me in a state of devotional exaltation every time. Part of it is nostalgia for my childhood, when you could turn on the radio and hear this song somewhere on the dial at just about any time of day - ah, the good old days! - but this song is singularly important and represents communication with and manifestation of a higher energy, a higher Entity. Marty Balin was an incredible vocalist, musician, composer and arranger at times, and this, for me, is the height of his career. J. Starship had their moments and this was certainly one of them. I believe in Miracles.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm {09-29-2018}...
    Jefferson Airplane vocalist, guitarist and co-founder Marty Balin, who wrote and sang "Miracles" (#3 in 1975) with its off-shoot, Starship and had a top ten hit as a solo artist with "Hearts" (#8 in 1981), died Thursday (September 27th, 2018) at the age of 76...
    He had undergone open heart surgery two years ago in New York. Marty played on such Airplane hits as "Somebody To Love" (#5 in 1967) and "White Rabbit" (#8 in 1967) before leaving the band in 1971, though he re-joined the group in 1975 under it's newer name on tunes like "With Your Love" (#12 in 1976) and "Count On Me" (#8 in 1978). Leaving again in 1978 for a solo career, he formed the KBC Band with Paul Kantner and Jack Casady in 1985. He was inducted with Jefferson Airplane into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1996...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Sim from Cleveland RocksAnother great song from the banner year of 1975.
  • Steve from Ottawa"You ripple like a river when I touch you, when I pluck your body like a string". Some of the most passionate lyrics written.
  • Mike from Santa BarbaraThis song was used ironically in an episode of "Supernatural."
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 2nd 1975, Jefferson Starship was one of the acts to appear at the Great American Music Fair* at the N.Y.S. Fair Grounds in Syracuse, NY...
    At the time their "Miracles" was at #50 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; just under six weeks later on October 12th it would peaked at #3 {for 3 weeks} …
    Other acts that appeared at the Music Fair were the Doobies Brothers, the Beach Boys, America, and the New Riders of the Purple Sage...
    * And estimated 500 people attempted to crash the Music Fair, which resulted in 60 arrests.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 12th 1975, Jefferson Starship gave a free concert* for 60,000 fans in New York City's Central Park...
    Just a little over three months later on August 17th, 1975 "Miracles" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82... {See next post below}...
    Exactly four years later on May 12th, 1979 the group had a another free concert, with new lead singer Mickey Thomas, this concert was in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco...
    * The NYC concert was sponsored by radio station WNEW-FM, afterwards the station was presented with a $14,000 bill for cleaning up and damage done to the park.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 17th 1975, "Miracles" by Jefferson Starship entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #82; and on October 12th, 1975 it peaked at #3 {for 3 weeks} and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #22 on the Canadian RPM 100 Singles chart...
    Between 1974 and 1984 'Starship' had nineteen Top 100 records; two made the Top 10, their other Top 10 record was "Count On Me", it peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks} on May 7th, 1978...
    They almost had two more Top 10 records when "With Your Love" and "Runaway" both peaked at #12.
  • Lisa from Atlanta, GaCan't believe ANYBODY could dislike this song. My god, it is practically orgasmic! The absolute ultimate make-out song, if this doesn't make it happen, nothing will.
  • Scott from Columbus, OhJim From Morgantown... I can totally appreciate your opinion... be it negative or not. But to claim that it's the worst song that you have ever heard would imply your
    blindness to the obvious genious of the song (I feel). There is nothing "hallmark" about the lyrics: " I had a taste of the real world... (just a drop of it) When I went down on you (Don't stop it). It was the 1970s and they slipped in a the action of cunnalingus without being banned form mainstream radio. I invoke you to look deeper into the song my friend and find a greater argument than the drop of sugar line. It is a love song filled with lust, adoration and passion but it reaches way beyond that in it's sensual experience. Just give it a shot... lyrically. Thanks!!
  • Jim from Morgantown, WvTo Scott from Columbus. So I'm a troll because I'm not a fan of songs that sound like Hallmark greeting cards? I guess you're entitled to your opinion, as am I. I assure you, there's absolutely no jealousy involved in my viewpoint. None.
  • Scott from Columbus, OhThis comment is meant for Jim. Morgantown. You must be a troll because anyone who I have ever introduced this song to have been amazed by it. It is a timeless and powerful piece of music by Jefferson as a love ballad. It wasn't meant as anything else and it hit the target in a substantial way. It shows that they can not only rock, but they could create a sound, melody, and feeling outside of their norm... and do it with a serious conviction. Be jealous if you must, but this song is almost a spiritual experience for those who love it.
  • Anne from Mountain View, CaMy alarm woke me up with the long version of this song in the summer of 1975 and I was hooked. So beautiful, so romantic, so rich, so sexy. Now, so many years later, I can't believe it but I just met a guy who makes me feel this way. I'm dancing around my room to this song and loving it.
  • Jim from Morgantown, WvI hate to be the turd in the punchbowl but not only is this the worst song I ever heard from them, it's one of the worst songs I've ever heard. Period! The band that gave us "Volunteers", also a duet between Marty Balin and Grace Slick, gives us "pretty please, sugar on it". This is one of the sappiest songs in history. It should have been recorded by Air Supply.
  • Janice from Amesbury, MaA guy I dated actually said to me once, " you ripple like a river when I touch you" I thought he was so clever, until I told my sister he said it and she informed me it was from a song!! Made me like him even more!
  • Marlene from Montreal, QcA perfect example of a love ballad: haunting, dreamy, romantic, sexual, not the least bit sappy.
  • Matt from Washington, Dc, DcSounds like the theme song to blacksploitation film, but it works. Sometimes too much is just the right amount.
  • Chet from Southfield, MiThere are few corrections that need to be clarified: First, in the Rolling Stone edition (01/01/76), it is noted that Marty orchestrated the background vocals so that Grace (or anybody else for that matter) wouldn't sing over his lyrics. Secondly, the "Jefferson Starship" monicker didn't occur until 1970,when Paul was recording the "Blows Against the Empire" sessions. There he had assembled his "back-up" band consisting of among others: Jerry Garcia, Steven Stills, and Mickey Hart. Then Paul decided to contemperize the name of Jefferson Airplane to Jefferson Starship. Thirdly,Grace never married Skip Spence. She married Skip Johnson, JS's lighting director in 1976. Fourthly, After the Lorelei Fiasco, both Grace and Marty left the band and Mickey Thomas started doing vocal duties for JS in 1979. It is my all-time favorite song with so many of personnal memories attached to it, but that's for another time. I hope this helps in clearing things up
  • Camille from Toronto, OhYes, everything about this song is pure musical, magical genius. The pairing of Mary Balin & Grace Slick on Miracles is genius. Who cares what their personal relationship was like. The flawless perfection of the tune combined with lyrics and vocals transcends all of that. One of my all time favorites.
  • André from Amsterdam, NetherlandsYeah, well a pity to spoil the Sai Baba fun and all the loss of virginity, but this so-called JS song is actually a rip-off of Gayle McCormick's "If only you believe", a Lambert-Potter song of 1971.
  • Jeff from Bradenton, FlTo be 13 in the fall of 1975, and on the cusp of being exposed to music at that would shape my personal vibe linking music and romance during my teenage years, was a blessing. I remember how girls responded to this song in jr. high that year. I got it. This song is on par with any Barry White song that was on the radio at that time...and from a rock band.

    I wore out this album on my old Radio Shack stereo/8 Track that fall. Looking back 35 years later...it was genious. The BEST work Marty Balin did bar none.

    I do disagree with earlie posters that Grace was taunting Marty during this song. No way. Grace was smart enough to leave ego and feelings at the door. She knew she was recording a classic and the proof was in Red Octopus' success.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, Mimy favorite Jefferson Starship song!
  • Belinda from Cresskill New Jresey, NjTo: Lisa in Los Angeles/From;Belinda in Cresskill,New Jersey. I'll answer your question: Ryan from Des Moines, IA answers your question correctly,but if you look on Y**Tube, the bass player playing on that fantastic track(Pete Sears from Scotland)explains in a fascinating narrative everything you might want to know about that session, ie; the song "Miracles" on the fantastic Red Octopus album of 1975 the unbeleivably fantastic unreal dreamlike paradise time of total rock geniuses.I love Marty,Paul,Grace,Jorma and Jack for making the summer and autumn and winter of 1975 a dream. Jefferson Starship and the Airplane rule.From Belinda;Your Italian/American friend from Cresskill, New Jersey.
  • Danny from Your Town, IaThis was the first song I smoked a joint too. I put my big old 80's headphones on, lit candles and tuned out the outside world. Later on I would use the song as an aphrodesiac. Women crumbled when it came on. Great song.
  • Frenchie from Orange County, CaThe biggest hit from their 1975 Album 'Red Octopus' and their greatest ballad in my opinion. Lyrics written by Marty Balin.

    Balin says of the song: "I wrote 'Miracles" about Barbara (his girlfriend at the time), and also about the miraculous powers of Sai Baba. I went to Puttaparti with Barbara and saw Sai Baba. We journeyed through the South Indian desert to the village; the song emerged from that darshan, that experience."

    "When I wrote 'Miracles,' I had my love for Barbara and my love for Sai Baba -- two very different forms of love -- running through me. So the song is about both of them. I picked up my guitar and I started singing: 'If only you believe, if only you believe like I believe, we'll get by' The words flowed one after another, along with the music; I got the song written down in one draft, on a sheet of yellow paper."


  • Joe from Radcliff, KyI hear this song and it takes my back to 75 and I am cruising down Dixie Hwy in my 64 Impala
  • Rob from Jacksonville, FlThis song is perhaps the best love song ever written, make no mistake. And certainly the most sensuous. I first heard this sone in 1975 (when it was released) and am still blown away by the intimacy, the intensity of the lyrics. Balin was undoubtably deeply smitten about the woman.
    I would love to have a love like that.
  • Beck from Columbus, OhIt's a beautiful song...and my most favorite. I was born in 78' and heard this song for the first time about 10 years ago. The first thing I thought after this song was "Wow, people actually feel like this towards each other? I'm missing out!". The instrumentals are almost dream like, and I get goose bumps each time I hear it.
    "Musical Panty Remover"..
  • Sharyn from Baton Rouge, LaReading the comments from the gentlemen posters is almost as good as the song. Thanks Dale, Scott, Scott and Joe.
  • Rob from Palmyra, Vagreat song.i lost my virginity to this in 1975!!
  • Dale from Santa Fe, NmThis song, along with "Son of a Preacher Man" are classic examples of how to build passion in music without screaming.
  • Rob from Palmyra, Vai actually lost my virginity to this song in 1975
  • Camille from Toronto, OhA song that was popular as I was transitioning out of a teenage girl into a young woman & it captured the feelings I wanted to have with the "right someone". It could transport me out of the everyday hum drum of life to a place where I believed if you could find this kind of love it'd be ecstasy. The long version was played on the FM station I always listened too, and eventually I got the albumn. These days, it's on my ipod.
  • Meredith from Chesapeake, VaIs it any wonder that I'm such a huge fan of Marty?

    Also: Lulz at the comment on the bottom. As everyone said, THEY HATED EACH OTHER. XD
  • Taryn from Nashville, TnSexy, sexy..... silky smooth singer Marty Balin melts me with this song.

    I haven't listened to it in years but I've had it in my head for four days now.
  • Shoshannah from Seattle, WaWow what a masterpiece! Makes me want to have a cigarette when it's over--and I don't even smoke.
  • Katy from Chattanooga, United StatesThis song is the BEST love ballad I have ever heard. Bought Red Octopus when it was first released and have replaced it numerous times ever since. It is a very sensuous song and lets a gal imagine "that special someone" actually singing this to her. It makes me feel today the same as I did when I first heard it.
  • Ryan from Des Moines, IaI wish there was an edit tab, Im sorry I believe the backup vocals are "I had a taste of the real world." "Dont waste a drop of it" "when i went down on you, girl." "Dont ever stop it."
  • Ryan from Des Moines, IaTo Lisa in los angeles. Between "I had a taste of the real world." and "when I went down on you girl" the backup vocals are "At least a drop of it." hope that helps
  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandWhy did they change from "Jefferson AIRPLANE" to "Jefferson STARSHIP?"

    I know that later became just "Starship" because an ex band member sued them for some reason, but why did they change from airplane to starship?
  • Lisa from Los Angeles, Cai have a question and if anyone could help me out, i would appreciate it: there are several places in this song where there are distinct background lyrics. they are distinct in that they are obviously words, but they never appear in the lyrics, at least not online. between the verses, "i had a taste of the real world" and, "when i went down on you girl" grace slick or someone, is singing another line, but what is it...? there are other indistinguishable background lyrics, other than, "baby, baby", or moans, etc....anybody know what they are??
  • Lisa from Los Angeles, Cato joe in philly: i read in the cd insert (a jefferson starship greatest hits collection) that marty balin wrote the song for his girlfriend at the time, i don't recall her name right now, but it was not grace slick. but what an absolutely incredible song.
  • Julie from Midland, Mibrings back great memories...guess you had to be there...
  • Dennis from Anchorage, AkSometimes you hear a song on the radio, and then you hear it on the album and it just sounds different. This was especially true in the seventies before FM radio, which has much better sound quality, became so commonplace, and also because many people had radios that didn't have good sound quality either, like the little clock radio that was always by my bed until I went to college and bought a real stereo to go by my bed. Which goes a long way toward explaining why, as a kid, I hated this song. I couldn't hear all the music that was going on and how cool it was.
  • Scott from Columbus, OhThis is one of those songs you hear in the background at a grocery store or office and it never quite sinks in, But... when I bought Red Octopus I had no idea that what I was purchasing. I was bowled over by this song and left in on repeat that night when I went to sleep.
    Miracles is truely a masterpiece of blended vocals and music that never stops giving. It's a fluid song with a continuous streaming of it's cushion that surrounds you in ambience. Marty Balin is a stunning vocalist and an amazing writer. I don't know who he wrote the song for, but I only wish I could feel what he was feeling when he did.
  • Scott from Chicago, IlMarty Balin was capable of writing great ballads.
    THis one happens to be a classic......reminds me
    of the crazy energy when one is infatuated with another, typical of first loves, but a type of love we are all capable of, at least I hope..
    let's just say that Balin and slick encapsulate
    Yin and Yang itself here, especially with the call-and response style....the climax at the end
    indeed is almost orgasmic....Yin and Yand meet
    and explode.......ahhh, sweet infatuation!
  • Lauren from Denver, CoOk this is my fave love song! Marty and Grace did not have an affair though - the person that wrote they hated each other and that she slept with all in the band but him is true. This song was not for Grace - Marty wrote it I believe for a girlfriend at the time. Such a beautiful song. What a shame all the good lines are edited on the radio (still!). There are several edited versions. If you haven't heard the full one run and get Red Octopus!
  • Denise from Sinton, TxFor Joe in Philadelphia: Marty and Grace absolutely hated one another. Grace had sex with every one in the original Airplane EXCEPT Marty to which Marty stated, "I wouldn't let Grace Slick blow me." Grace Slick sang those back ground vocals as a way to taunt and tease Marty about what she considered a "sappy" love song that was too commercial. I don't know who Marty wrote that song for but it sure as hell wasn't Grace Slick. Grace and Marty had a power struggle going on. Miracles is great love song but it also shows the power struggle between two brilliant artists. Marty left the band - again (remember Mickey Thomas became lead male vocal in about 1978 'cause Marty left)- because Grace and Paul Kantner wanted the band to move in a different direction. And Grace Slick got married again during this time to Skip Spence.
  • Chris from Hull, MaRadio edited "Everytime you come by let me try...pretty please, sugar on it, that's how I like it" because it was too suggestive, but left in "I had a taste of the real world when I went down on you girl."? Go figure.

  • Joe from Philadelphia, PaThis is a wonderful love song...sung by two lovers at the beginning of their love affair...Mary Balin and Grace Slick. Read and follow along with the lyrics as you listen to the song. Hear how when Marty sings the lead Grace is heard in the high background responding to his words. Sometimes in a breathy, turned-on voice. Other times she sounds like the flock shouting amen to the minister's (Marty's) sermon. She doesn't always answer with words...sometimes with sighs or moans. It's incredibly sexy and only so because the two of them were giving us a peek into their relationship at the time. Near the end when their voices blend during the Oh Baby, Baby, Baby segment of the song it's like lovers' climax.
    It's a wonderful song...at times very romantic and at times very erotic...but throughout, always harmonic. A love song for the ages.
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