Jefferson Airplane founder Anderson dead at 74
Original singer Signe Toly passed away on same day as band leader Paul Kantner
Founding Jefferson Airplane singer Signe Toly Anderson has died at the age of 74.
Anderson – who had suffered from ill health for many years and was in hospice care – passed away on January 28, the same day the band's leader Paul Kantner died.
The band's co-founder Marty Balin says: “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.'”
Anderson appeared on Jefferson Airplane's debut album Takes Off, but left the group soon after. She said that, as a new mother, she could not commit to touring responsibilities and she was replaced by Grace Slick.
Jefferson Airplane bassist Jack Casady says on Facebook: "I was just informed of the passing of Signe Anderson, the same day as we lost Paul.
"Signe was 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 Takes Off sound so thick – her wonderful tone between Paul's and Marty's. A sad day for those of us still here."
In the years after leaving Airplane, she occasionally sang with the Jefferson Starship and Airplane spinoff Hot Tuna.
Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen writes in his blog: “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.”