Tributes have been paid to Signe Anderson, the original singer with Jefferson Airplane, who has died aged 64.
The band’s guitarist Jorma Kaukonen called her “an important member of our dysfunctional little family” while Marty Balin descibed her as a “sweet Lady”.
Although an official cause of death has not yet been confirmed, but Psychedelic Sight reports that Anderson had suffered health issues in recent years.
Writing on his Facebook page, Airplane co-founder Marty Balin said, “One sweet Lady has passed on. I imagine that she and Paul woke up in heaven and said ‘Hey what are you doing here? Let’s start a band’ and no sooner then said [late drummer] Spencer [Dryden] was there joining in! Heartfelt thoughts to all their family and loved ones.”
Born in Seattle as Signe Toly, she began her career as a folk artist before joining Jefferson Airplane in 1965, reports Rolling Stone. She sang on the band’s 1966 debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. She left the band after giving birth to her first child from her marriage to Jerry Anderson, one of the Merry Pranksters. She was replaced in the Airplane by Grace Slick.
“Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met,” guitarist Jorma Kaukonen wrote on his Cracks In The Finish blog. “She was our den mother in the early days of the Airplane… a voice of reason on more occasions than one… an important member of our dysfunctional little family. I always looked forward to seeing her when we played the Aladdin in Portland. She never complained and was always a joy. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest sister. You will always live in my heart…”
Bassist Jack Casady added on Facebook, “I was just informed of the passing of Signe Anderson, the same day as we lost Paul. Signe was our, Jefferson Airplane’s, first female singer. I had been in touch with Signe this past week as she had moved from her home to hospice care. She was a real sweetheart with a terrific contralto voice coming from a solid folk background. Listen to how she made the three part harmonies of JA Takes Off (first album) sound so thick…her wonderful tone between Paul’s and Marty’s. A sad day… for those of us still here.”
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