Original vocalist eventually replaced by the soon-to-be-iconic Grace Slick. Passing occurs on same day as the band’s Paul Kantner. Below, listen to a wonderful interview with her. God bless you, young lady.
By Fred Mills
The Jefferson Airplane’s first singer, Signe Toly Anderson, has died at the age of 74. The New York Times reports that Anderson passed away Jan. 28 at her home in Beaverton, OR, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as confirmed by daughter Onateska Ladybug Sherwood.
Anderson, of course, helped forge the legendary group’s initial folk-rock sound, having been recruited by the nascent Airplane’s Marty Balin and subsequently appearing on the Jefferson Airplane Takes Off debugt LP. Following the birth of a child, however, she opted to leave and was replaced by Grace Slick of fellow San Francisco group The Great Society—which, with two notable songs already in its repertoire, “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” helped set the stage for Slick’s ascent to stardom along with the Airplane when those songs got remade for the group’s second LP and became huge radio hits
Original Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen posted online, of Anderson’s passing: “I got a call from Grace who told me that Signe, the Airplane’s first female voice, passed on the same day as Paul [Kantner]. Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met. 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. I always looked forward to seeing her when we played the Aladdin in Portland. She never complained and was always a joy. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest sister… You will always live in my heart…Now we are four… We can be together… always…”
Meanwhile, Marty Balin, writing on Facebook, said, “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.”