Signe Anderson pre-dated Grace Slick as original Jefferson Airplane singer
Signe Toly Anderson, a vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick, has died.
Anderson died Thursday at her home in Beaverton, Oregon, according to her daughter, Onateska Ladybug Sherwood. Anderson was 74 and had been suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Anderson, who survived cancer in her 30s, died on the same day that another Airplane member, Paul Kantner, died.
Born Signe Toly in Seattle and raised in Portland, Oregon after her parents divorced, she was a folk and jazz singer who had performed in groups since high school. She moved to San Francisco in her 20s and began appearing at a popular folk club, the Drinking Gourd. Vocalist Marty Balin heard her sing and asked her to join what became the Jefferson Airplane, which in 1966 released “The Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.” Strongly influenced by the folk-rock sound of the time, “Takes Off” was a word-of-mouth hit that combined original songs and covers, including a showcase for Anderson and her soulful contralto, “Chauffeur Blues.”
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