Jefferson Starship: “Light The Sky On Fire” (1978)

[Starlog 4.5]
Star Whores.

Yes, Virginia, there really was a Star Wars Holiday Special and the only kind thing I can say about that is the merciful absence of Ewoks. Oh, and it had a video of Jefferson Starship (minus Grace Slick) playing “Light The Sky On Fire,” which premiered on the special before catapulting up the charts to number 66. Written by Craig “light my hair on fire” Chaquico, the song is a rare case of Marty Balin in the role of psychedelic stargazer, who manages to be nearly as menacing as Eric Bloom. The nonalbum B side, “Hyperdrive,” is even more proggy, with a guitar/violin attack that’s almost Crimson in effect. The 7-inch single was also included with the 1979 greatest hits compilation, Gold (which is the orphan I own, known by its gold sleeve).

Original 7-inch Single Version
A1. Light The Sky On Fire (Craig Chaquico) 3:56
B1. Hyperdrive (Grace Slick/Pete Sears) 6:11

The Players
Both songs were produced by Larry Cox and Jefferson Starship, and as such mark the end of an era that started with 1974’s Dragon Fly.

The Plastic
Originally released on 7-inch in November 1978 in the US and Canada (Grunt, FB-11426) with a picture sleeve; reached #66 on the US charts (charted December 2, 1978 for 6 weeks). Also released on 7-inch in 1979 as part of the Gold compilation in the US (Grunt, FB-11426) with a gold sleeve.

1 thought on “Jefferson Starship: “Light The Sky On Fire” (1978)

  1. The band and its management, logically, must have thought that being associated with “Star Wars” was the perfect promotional vehicle for their music. They taped their segment in isolation from the rest of the Special. I would have LOVED to be a fly on the wall when the band saw the whole thing. Their reactions would have been priceless to behold, especially Kantner’s. Even though the Starship had drifted light years from the ethos of the Airplane, this must have seemed really appalling. Small wonder that the single got to only #66 — the Special may have KEPT people from buying it, especially since that was prominently featured on the picture sleeve.

    As for the song itself, it’s pretty good. Better than anything on “Earth” and half of “Spitfire” . Balin never performed it live, but it featured on the next two tours, with Mickey Thomas creditably singing the lead. Oddly enough, he never mentioned “Star Wars” when introducing it.

    The B-side is an edit of “Dragonfly” track, with about a minute of the instrumental interlude removed. The first, but not the last, time that Pete Sears brought the influence of British prog into the Starship.

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