White Rabbit is a song written in 1966 by Grace Slick. It became well known after Slick recorded it with her band, Jefferson Airplane, a year later. The song was released as a single and appears on the album "Surrealistic Pillow.” It includes comparisons of the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin mushrooms with the imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll: 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass. Events in these books, such as changing size after eating mushrooms or drinking an unknown liquid, are referenced in the song. Characters referenced include Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, The White Knight, the Red Queen, and the Dormouse.
For Grace and others in the '60s, drugs were an inevitable part of mind-expanding and social experimentation. With its enigmatic lyrics, White Rabbit became one of the first songs to sneak drug references past censors on the radio. Even Marty Balin, Grace's eventual rival in the Airplane, regarded the song as a "masterpiece.” In interviews, Grace has related that "Alice in Wonderland" was often read to her as a child and remained a vivid memory into her adult years.
The drug references in this song are mentioned in the popular young adult book Go Ask Alice, in which the narrator (an unnamed teenage girl) wonders if Carroll, himself had been on drugs when he wrote the novels.