The original band singer and guitarist both said goodbye at the age of 74
On this day in 2016, two of the Jefferson Airplane original members, Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson passed away at the same age
In 2016, the music world lost several of it’s most influential and popular artists, it was a bizarre sequence of losses that started with David Bowie and culminated in George Michael, and on January 28th, in oddly enough, two of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane, Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson passed away at the same age of 74. Born on March 17, 1941, in San Francisco, California, Paul Kantner formed Jefferson Airplane in 1965 with Marty Balin. Aside of being one of the band’s guitar player, Kantner was also the major creative force behind the band, writing and co-writing many of the band hits such as “The Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil”, “Watch Her Ride”, “Crown of Creation”, “Volunteers” and “We Can Be Together” and “Today”. The band gained a quick reputation for being the best and most popular Psychedelic band of the West Coast, their signature songs remain “White Rabbit” (the Psychedelic anthem) and “Somebody To Love” from the 1967 album “Surrealistic Pillow”. Jefferson Airplane toured Europe with The Doors in 1968 and remain to this day a popular and influential band among Rock fans. Kantner lived together with Grace Slick, the band’s singer that replaced Signe Toly Anderson, the two had a relationship for several years, from which, their daughter China Wing Kantner, was born in 1971. Kantner remained an active musician during the subsequent decades, he formed Jefferson Starship during the 1970’s from the ashes of Jefferson Airplane and the short-lived KBC Band in 1985 also with former Jefferson Airplane members. Kantner passed away on January 28th, 1968 from from multiple organ failure and septic shock after he suffered a heart attack days earlier. On the same day, Signe Toly Anderson, the Jefferson Airplane original singer, who was born Signe Toly in Seattle, Washington, on September 15, 1941, also passed away. Anderson joined Jefferson Airplane in 1965, she recorded the vocals for their first album “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off” released in 1966, but the same year, as the band was starting to gain attention from Rock fans and as the West Coast Psychedelic movement was also taking off, Anderson left the band after she got pregnant and married with music manager Jerry Anderson. Anderson’s last live performances with the Jefferson Airplane were two sets on October 15, 1966 at The Fillmore. Her farewell to the audience was: “I want you all to wear smiles and daisies and box balloons. I love you all. Thank you and goodbye.” She was replaced by Grace Slick (who had a similar vocal tone and range and became the most charismatic member of the Jefferson Airplane bringing also a burst of creativity to the band as a songwriter). After leaving Jefferson Airplane, Anderson joined minor bands as a singer, she also went through several health problems during her lifetime including cancer. On January 24th, 2016 Signe Toly Anderson passed away from the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Watch Jefferson Airplane featuring Paul Kantner on guitar and Signe Toly Anderson on vocals, performing “It’s No Secret” during their last concerts with the singer at The Filmore, 1966
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