Friday, January 29, 2016
With Jefferson Airplane, Mr. Kantner pioneered what became known as the San Francisco sound in the mid-1960s, with such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” The Airplane was renowned for thrilling vocal gymnastics by singers Marty Balin, Grace Slick and Mr. Kantner, the psychedelic blues-rock sound developed by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady and the LSD-spiked, ’60s-era revolutionary fervor of its lyrics.
The band was formed in 1965 in a Union Street bar called the Drinking Gourd, when Balin met Mr. Kantner and expressed his interest in creating a “folk-rock” band. It didn’t take long for the Airplane to attract a sizable local following, enough so that when fledgling promoter Bill Graham opened his legendary Fillmore Auditorium, the Jefferson Airplane served as the first headliner.
The Airplane was the first of the so-called “San Francisco sound” bands to sign a recording contract with a major label, and in August of 1966, its debut album, “Jefferson Airplane Takes Off,” was released. Slick joined the band a year later and songs like “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” became national hits as the love children came streaming into San Francisco.
Mr. Kantner is survived by three children; sons Gareth and Alexander, and daughter China.
Posted by Michael Godin at 6:58 AM