Tuesday, February 16, 2016

237.9 - RIP: Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson

RIP: Paul Kantner and Signe Toly Anderson

Finally for this week, we have an RIP and these are becoming uphappily frequent.

Paul Kantner, one of the giants of the San Francisco music scene, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died January 28. He was 74 and had suffered a heart attack, leading to death by multiple organ failure and septic shock.

Although later in his career he worked with different people, he is likely best known as a founding member of Jefferson Airplane, a group that defined what in the mid-'60s became known as the San Francisco sound.

Paul Kantner
The group, often known to its fans by the shortcut name Airplane - and by the way, the name was Jefferson Airplane; if someone called it "the" Jefferson Airplane, you knew they weren't really a fan - anyway, Jefferson Airplane was the first headliner when Bill Graham opened the Fillmore Auditorium and they played at the three most famous music festivals of the era: Monterey Pop in 1967, Woodstock in 1969, and, a few months later, the tragic Altamont concert, which some folks say was in Don McLean's song "American Pie" the coda to "the day the music died," a long slow death of the innocence of music that began with the death of Buddy Holly.

Originally intended to be a sort of folk-blues-rock group, Airplane's biggest hits such as "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" owed more to psychedelia than to folk. Still, when they turned out a ballad such as "Today" - which Kantner co-wrote with fellow band member Marty Balin - or "Comin' Back to Me," those folk-blues roots came through.

In time, of course, the band broke up, followed by several incarnations of Jefferson Starship, as people moved on personally and musically. Paul Kantner became something of a landmark on the San Francisco music scene, the only member of Airplane or Starship still living there, still singing, still touring, until his health failed.

Signe Toly Anderson
So RIP, Paul Kantner.

And as a sorrowful footnote to that, on the same day that Paul Kantner died, we also lost Signe Toly Anderson. She a vocalist with a voice described as a soulful contralto and another original member of Jefferson Airplane. She also was 74 and had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Anderson left the band after its first album to be a stay-at-home mother because she couldn't imagine touring with a newborn, a decision she said in 2011 she never regretted.

So RIP, Signe Toly Anderson.

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