"We Can Be Together" was released in 1969 as the first cut on Jefferson Airplane's Volunteers album. Based on an old bluegrass lick (like its sister anthem and title track "Volunteers," track ten), its aggressive, if not incendiary, lyrics placed Jefferson Airplane on the front lines of a perceived youth revolution that was flaring up at that time in the U.S., and countries around the world for that matter. Airplane was seen as a confrontational, angry, activist band, and the lyrics of this song tend to support this conception. However, in vocalist Paul Kantner's words, writer of "We Can Be Together," "If people saw us as political, then that's their misconception. We didn't see a need to correct {that conception} because there was a certain value even in that. But those anthems on Volunteers aren't saying, 'let's go out and burn down buildings, let's go out and change politics.' They are almost like nightly news editorials or observations, news reports of what happening out in the streets. It's 'Look what's happening. What do you think about what's happening out in the streets? Are there any alternatives to what's happening out in the streets?' It was more, rather than a call to arms, a call for attention to what's going on around you, and maybe that you have to foment in your own minds something to do about that that's coherent, rather than responding in the old tried-and-true ways. That's part of the process of reconstruction."

Either way, I like to think of "We Can Be Together" as the anthem of the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s. Not having lived through that turbulent time, not living through the riots, the anti-war protests, the peace-and-love music festivals, the revolutionary rock and roll, the "experimentation," hardly being able to remember the tearing down of the Berlin wall and the cold war, this song has helped me understand, perhaps, part of the counter-culture mentality. Eat your heart out Tom Wolfe-- so the hippies grew up, got jobs and retirement funds, and portfolios. At least they had the questioning of society and the political and social awareness of the 60s. What can the youth of today claim? Inactivism? Passive observation? Blind acceptance?
Ostracize the "pseudo-hippies" and anti-war-on-Iraq protesters of today all you will, but at least they don't cut their hair.
The lyrics to the song are as follows:

We can be together
Ah you and me
We should be together

We are all outlaws in the eyes of America
In order to survive we steal cheat lie forge fuck hide and deal
We are obscene lawless hideous dangerous dirty violent and young

But we should be together
Come on all you people standing around
Our life's too fine to let it die and
We should be together

All your private property is target for your enemy
And your enemy...is we

We are forces of chaos and anarchy
Everything they say we are we are
And we are very proud of ourselves

Up against the wall
Up against the wall, motherfucker
Tear down the wall
Tear down the wall

Come on now together
Get it on together
Everybody together
We should be together
We should be together my friends
We can be together
We can be

We must begin here and now
A new continent of earth and fire
Tear down the wall
Tear down the wall (Come on now gettin higher and higher)
Tear down the wall
Tear down the wall
Tear down the wall (Wall)
Won't you try?

A timeless piece of music. Don't even try telling me that the status quo is satisfactory, that our country can't be improved. Move people, move! Turn on, tune in, drop out!

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