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Song of the Day for January 27: "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane

Members of the rock and roll group Jefferson Airplane are shown in 1966. At top right is vocalist Grace Slick. From left are Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner, Spencer Dryden and Jack Casady. (AP Photo)

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born January 27, 1832 in Cheshire, England. He was a mathematician, logian, photographer and best-selling novelist.

You might know him better by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.”

Carroll often told stories to the daughters of the college dean he worked for. One of the daughters happened to be named Alice. She suggested he write down one particular story that was better than most-- the one about a picnic they had where they’d been caught in the rain.

He wrote the story…added a couple of other adventures and even did some illustrations for it. He had no plans to publish it, but Alice’s mother persuaded him. He added the second book seven years later. By the time of Carroll’s death, the two volumes were the most popular children’s books in England.

The Song of the Day, “White Rabbit,” is named after one of the characters in “Alice in Wonderland.” The white rabbit appears early in the book when Alice follows him down a rabbit hole and makes several more appearances.

Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane wrote the song, which actually never mentions specifically White Rabbit in the lyrics. The song became a hit for the band in 1967, reaching number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

Slick believed the book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” had loads of drug references. She wrote the song to parents, telling them they shouldn’t be surprised their kids were taking drugs because as parents they read this book filled with drug references to their them. It probably helped that she wrote the song after an acid trip.

“White Rabbit” became the first song of the 1960s with drug references to make it on the radio.

Song of the Day is a daily feature created by Sheldon Zoldan during the pandemic. WGCU now produces one a week for a little music, a little history and a little trivia.