Original Jefferson Airplane vocalist Signe Anderson died Thursday at the age of 74 – the same day bandmate and guitarist Paul Kanter passed away.
“One sweet Lady has passed on,” wrote Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin on Facebook. “I imagine that she and Paul woke up in heaven and said ‘Hey what are you doing here? Let’s start a band.'”
“She was a real sweetheart with a terrific contralto voice coming from a solid folk background,” posted Airplane bassist Jack Casady on Facebook. “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.”
“Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met,” wrote Airplane lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen on his blog. “She was our den mother in the early days of the Airplane … a voice of reason on more occasions than one … an important member of our dysfunctional little family.”
Psychedelic Sight reports Anderson had suffered from longtime health problems although no cause of death has been revealed.
The Seattle-born Anderson was raised in Portland, OR where she performed as a folk and jazz singer before joining Jefferson Airplane when they formed in San Francisco, CA in the summer of 1965.
She appeared on the group’s debut album, 1966’s “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off”, a record that included her best-known song, “Chauffeur Blues.”
Anderson, a new mother, found the road intolerable and decided to leave the band in the fall of 1966. Her final performances were at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA on October 15 of that year, while Grace Slick took over as female singer the following night.
Anderson’s farewell gig was released to CD in 2010.
After leaving the Airplane, she returned to Oregon where she sang for nine years with a ten-piece band, Carl Smith and the Natural Gas Company.
Jefferson Airplane guitarist Paul Kantner dead at 74