Second Jefferson Airplane Original Member Has Died

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Photo of Jefferson Airplane via Marty Balin's Facebook page

Photo of Jefferson Airplane via Marty Balin’s Facebook page

In the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department: two original members of Jefferson Airplane have died on the same day. Signe Toly Anderson, who preceded Grace Slick as the band’s singer, died on January 28, 2016… the same day as fellow co-founder of the influential classic rock band, Paul Kantner. According to Best Classic Bands editor (and Jefferson Airplane biographer) Jeff Tamarkin she had been sick for some time and had recently entered hospice care. She was 74.

On his Facebook page, group co-founder Marty Balin wrote: SIGNE
“One sweet Lady has passed on. I imagine that she and Paul woke up in heaven and said “Hey what are you doing here? Let’s start a band” and no sooner then said Spencer was there joining in!” Heartfelt thoughts to all their family and loved ones.
Marty Balin

Airplane co-founder Jack Casady wrote (also on Facebook): I was just informed of the passing of Signe Anderson, the same day as we lost Paul. Signe was our, Jefferson Airplane’s first female singer. I had been in touch with Signe this past week as she had moved from her home to hospice care. She was a real sweetheart with a terrific contralto voice coming from a solid folk background. Listen to how she made the three part harmonies of JA Takes Off (first album) sound so thick…her wonderful tone between Paul’s and Marty’s.
A sad day …..for those of us still here.
RIP Signe.

Anderson joined the psychedelic band at the invitation of Balin, who had heard her sing at a local (San Francisco) club. She sang on their 1966 debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, but when she discovered she was pregnant she chose to leave the band rather than continue performing with a newborn.

The group had time to find her replacement and ultimately offered the role as co-lead singer to Grace Slick. At what would be Anderson’s final performances with the band on October 15, 1966 – two sets at San Francisco’s The Fillmore – Balin revealed to the audience that Anderson was departing. She announced: “I want you all to wear smiles and daisies and box balloons. I love you all. Thank you and goodbye.” (Slick made her JA debut the next evening.)

Kantner also died on January 28, the result of multiple organ failure following a heart attack earlier in the week. Jefferson Airplane began in 1965 and were among the founders of San Francisco’s so-called psychedelic era music scene in the ’60s. They scored twin 1967 “Summer of Love” hits with “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit” from their Surrealistic Pillow album.

Best Classic Bands Staff

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