Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner dies aged 74

He had suffered a heart attack this week

Trending Now

Paul Kantner, who co-founded Jefferson Airplane, had died aged 74.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that his death was confirmed by longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman, who said he died of multiple organ failure and septic shock. He had suffered a heart attack this week.

“Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane on the news of his passing,” members of the Doors wrote on their Facebook page. “Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, which both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the Sixties and Seventies.”


Born in San Francisco on March 17, 1941, Kantner began as a folksinger before teaming up with Marty Balin in 1965. Together, they recruited guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, bassist Jack Casady, drummer Skip Spence and vocalist Signe Anderson and released Jefferson Airplane Takes Off in 1966.

Spencer Dryden and Grace Slick replaced Spence and Anderson and the band’s next album, Surrealistic Pillow, peaked at #3 on the Billboard album chart.

It spawned Top 10 singles, “Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit”.


Jefferson Airplane continued until 1972, but during a hiatus, Kantner and Slick recorded the 1970 album, Blows Against The Empire, credited to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship.

Reuniting with Balin, Kantner and Slick enjoyed great success with Jefferson Starship, including 1975’s double-platinum album, Red Octopus.

Kantner continued to play with various incarnations of Jefferson Starship until 1984, when Starship was formed.

Kantner rejoined in 1992 and continue to play with them until his death.

Jefferson Airplane were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

The March 2016 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – featuring our 19 page David Bowie tribute plus Loretta Lynn, Tim Hardin, Animal Collective, The Kinks, Mavis Staples, The Pop Group, Field Music, Clint Mansell, Steve Mason, Eric Clapton, Bert Jansch, Grant Lee Phillips and more plus our free 15-track CD

Uncut: the spiritual home of great rock music.


Latest Issue