Jefferson Airplane Founder Paul Kantner Dies At 74

We couldn’t get out of January without losing another rock legend. Billboard reports:

Jefferson Airplane guitarist, vocalist and founding member Paul Kantner has died. He was 74. Kantner passed away on Thursday (Jan. 28) of multiple organ failure, following a heart attack earlier in the week.

From 1965-1972, Jefferson Airplane was a pioneer in the Bay Area counterculture psychedelic rock scene, first defining what became known as the “San Francisco sound.” Kantner and guitarist and vocalist Marty Balin formed the band in a bar called the Drinking Gourd, intending the group to be a folk-rock group. Amidst the city’s drug experimentation, they developed something far more interesting.


As more and more flower children moved to San Francisco, Jefferson Airplane’s local following grew and it became the first of the city’s psych-rock bands to sign to a major label, releasing its debut Jefferson Airplane Takes Off in 1966. That same year, they became the first band to headline concert promoter Bill Graham’s now legendary Fillmore Auditorium.

By the following year, the band’s second album, Surrealistic Pillow, became a soundtrack to the Summer of Love. It hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with the help of singles “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit,” as the rest of the country began following in San Francisco’s hippy footsteps.