Published Jan 31, 2016Last Thursday (January 28), Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner passed away at the age of 74. Sadly, it turns out that one of his bandmates died on the exact same day, as fellow original member Signe Toly Anderson also passed away.
Anderson was 74, and Psychedelic Sight reports that she had been suffering from longtime health problems. She recently moved into a hospice.
Anderson was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and she became a singer in the original formation of Jefferson Airplane when she moved to San Francisco in the mid-'60s. She had a child and left the band in 1966, but not before she appeared on the outfit's debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. She sang lead vocals on that album's "Chauffeur Blues." Anderson was replaced by Grace Slick, and the band achieved commercial success soon after.
Anderson continued to sing in various projects throughout her life. This included contributing to the Jefferson Airplane spinoff band Jefferson Starship in the '90s. She battled cancer in in the '70s and '80s. Her husband Michael Alois Ettlin died in 2011.
A few of Anderson's former bandmates have commented on her death. Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen wrote on his blog, "Signe was one of the strongest people I have ever met. 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."
Bassist Jack Casady wrote on Facebook, "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."
Singer Marty Balin wrote on Facebook, "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 Spencer was there joining in!"