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One of the defining acts of the 1960s, San Francisco’s Jefferson Airplane brought psychedelia into the mainstream and onto the radio with their classic hit singles “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” The politically radical band embodied the hippie era, extolling the virtues of recreational drug use and free love, and was the only act to play all the major ’60s rock festivals: Monterey Pop, Woodstock and even the controversial Altamont. As the ’70s began, Jefferson Airplane formed its own label, Grunt Records, which provided an outlet for solo and side projects, releases by the extended Airplane family, and new material from the mothership. While its members’ focus may have shifted, Jefferson Airplane itself remained a powerful band, especially live. The departure of singer Marty Balin opened more room for guitarist/singer Jorma Kaukonen, singer Grace Slick, and singer/guitarist Paul Kantner. Jefferson Airplane touched down in 1973 but its legacy lives on.

Did you know?

  • A friend of Jorma Kaukonen’s nicknamed him ‘Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane’ (for blues pioneer Blind Lemon Jefferson), which later inspired the band’s name
  • After being fired from the group, original Jefferson Airplane drummer Skip Spence founded Moby Grape as their guitarist/vocalist
  • Grace Slick is the only common member between Jefferson Airplane and Starship


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