Grace Slick Timeline: The Woman Who Wrote “White Rabbit,” Became the Acid Queen and an Accomplished Painter

Born in the Chicago, Illinois suburbs of Highland Park on October 30, 1939, Grace Barnett Wing moved around as a child before her family eventually settled in San Francisco, California.

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Wing became Grace Slick in 1961 after marrying drummer and cinematographer Jerry Slick and briefly modeled for the now-defunct department store I. Magnin in San Francisco, prancing around in $10,000 couture dresses, before pursuing music more seriously in the mid-’60s.


Moving on from her first band The Great Society, in 1966 Slick replaced singer Signe Toly Anderson in Jefferson Airplane. Devouring the freer range of LSD and other substances rampant in the early ’60s, Slick earned the title “The Acid Queen,” while her lush vocals wrapped around Jefferson Airplane hits “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

Grace Slick held her own among the few female rockers in the 1960s and melted through any song she sang with her powerhouse vocals. Surprisingly, she crafted her vocal style by singing along to a jazz great.

“Miles Davis—there are no lyrics that go with that, so I would imitate, with my voice because it’s very loud, either a horn or a guitar sound,” said Slick. “Because there was nobody to look to as far as women were concerned with hard rock at that time.”


By 1970, Slick formed Jefferson Starship and also kicked off her solo career with the release of the debut Manhole in 1974, followed by Dreams in 1980, Welcome to the Wrecking Ball! in 1981, and her final release Software in 1984.

Also dubbed “The Chrome Nun” in the ’70s by David Crosby, Slick used the moniker as the album title for her 1973 collaborative album with Jefferson Airplane bandmate and then-boyfriend Paul Kantner (also dubbed Baron von Tollbooth by Crosby) and David Freiberg.


By the late 1980s, Slick began slipping away from the music under the band’s third iteration Starship before ultimately retiring. At the time, Slick was at the height of her career with Starship, who released three No. 1 hits within two years with “We Built This City,” “Sara,” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

[RELATED: Behind Starship’s Final Hit with Grace Slick “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”]

In 1988, Slick, who was a decade older than her Starship bandmates, left the band. After briefly rejoining the newly reformed Jefferson Airplane, Slick retired from music in 1990.


In 1996, Slick was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as part of Jefferson Airplane but years before then, her creative life took a major turn. Not long after retiring, a house fire destroyed Slick’s home and music memorabilia in 1993. Around this time, she also divorced her second husband Skip Johnson, and started using art to help her get through the difficult times.

Drawing and painting since she was a child Slick even painted the cover of her solo debut Manhole, titled “Child Type Odd Art by Grace.” By the early ’90s, she started painting animals at first before expanding into more complex pieces, many of which are peppered throughout her 1998 book Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

Working within numerous mediums, Slick’s art crosses the abstract through the portraitures of other music artists and her ubiquitous white rabbit.

A recurring piece for Slick is her many interpretations of the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. Nearly 60 years earlier, Slick wrote “White Rabbit” for Jefferson Airplane’s second album Surrealistic Pillow while she was still in The Great Society and pulled its trippy imagery from Lewis Carroll’s classics Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

In 2006. Slick even partnered with publisher Dark Horse Comics to release her White Rabbit Rides a Dark Horse line of themed stationery in 2006.

[RELATED: Meaning Behind the Song “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane]

“I can draw a white rabbit blindfolded by now, so I’ve drawn a lot of pictures of a white rabbit in various poses and conditions,” said Slick. “That is a reoccurring thing, and that’s fine. I was born in the year of the rabbit, and the whole thing about rabbits has just continued all through my life.”

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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