Jefferson Airplane
performer
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Jefferson Airplane

 

JJefferson Airplane was formed in 1965 in San Francisco and was probably the first band from the San Francisco scene of the 1960s to achieve commercial success. Jefferson Airplane was formed by Marty Balin, and the original members consisted of Balin, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Signe Anderson, Jerry Peloquin, and Bob Harvey. This lineup opened at
Balin’s club, The Matrix, on August 13, 1965. Shortly after this debut, Peloquin left and was replaced by Skip Spence, and Harvey was replaced with Jack Casady. Anderson, the original female vocalist, departed in October 1966, shortly after the birth of her first child. She was replaced with Grace Slick. Jefferson Airplane's debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, was released in September 1966, and despite the fact that the group had not played outside the Bay Area or appeared on television, it sold enough copies to earn a gold record award. At the beginning of 1967, Bill Graham took over from manager Bill Thompson. Soon the group was playing on the East Coast, and on January 14, they headlined the Human Be-In along with the Grateful Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service. Graham’s management did not last long; in February 1968, he was fired after Slick gave an ultimatum that “either he goes or I go.”

Surrealistic Pillow, the group’s second LP, was recorded in13 days, at a cost of $8,000. It was released in February 1967, and quickly reached top placement on the charts, peaking at #3. During the period from 1967 to 1970, the membership of Jefferson Airplane remained stable, recording five more albums and touring extensively in the U.S. and Europe. The Airplane played at all three of the most famous American music festivals of the 1960s—The Monterey Pop Festival (1967), Woodstock (1969), Altamont (1969), as well as headlining at the first Isle of Wight Festival.

The band started to break up in early 1971 following the departure of Marty Balin and the injury of Grace Slick in a near-fatal car crash that saw her recuperation stretch into months. By the beginning of 1972, Jefferson Airplane was finished. In 1974, the band rose again as Jefferson Starship, and included Balin, Kantner, and Slick in the lineup. Since then, the members have played together in various combinations under various names. Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

 

Posters and Handbills Featuring Jefferson Airplane

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