Signe Anderson, original Airplane singer, dead at 74

NEW YORK -- 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.

See Full Article

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."

But by the time the album came out, Anderson had given birth to her first child and she left after a farewell concert at the Fillmore in October 1966. The switch from Anderson to Slick, formerly of the San Francisco group the Great Society, proved momentous for the Airplane and for rock history. Slick brought with her two future standards, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit," and a fierce vocal style and confrontational attitude that departed notably from Anderson's. The next album, "Surrealistic Pillow," was a landmark of psychedelic rock that made the Airplane superstars and representatives of the "San Francisco Sound."

"You have to look at the priorities in your life, the reality in your life," Anderson told radio station KGON in Portland in 2011, remembering the ordeals of bringing her baby on tour. "I had to wait in the San Francisco airport in July of 1966 for 36 hours before we got on the airplane and flew to Chicago. All the diapers were gone."

"I don't regret having left," she added.

Anderson was a footnote in the Airplane's history, but was regarded with respect and affection by fans and stayed in touch with Kantner, Balin and other band members with whom she performed on occasion over the following decades. On Facebook, bassist Jack Casady remembered her as "a real sweetheart with a terrific contralto voice." Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen wrote on his blog that Anderson was "our den mother in the early days of the Airplane" a voice of reason for "our dysfunctional little family." Balin, writing on Facebook, imagined that she and Kantner "woke up in heaven and said 'Hey what are you doing here? Let's start a band."'

Anderson was married twice, to Merry Prankster Jerry Anderson and to Michael Alois Ettlin, who died in 2011. She is survived by two children and three grandchildren.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Julie Snyder files sex-assault complaint against Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Julie Snyder, one of the biggest names in Quebec’s entertainment industry, has filed a complaint of sexual assault against Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon. The former wife of business tycoon Pierre Karl Peladeau went to police in the past few days to inform them of the alleged attack, a spokesman for Snyder’s production company said Monday. Source
  • Quebec TV personality Julie Snyder files sexual misconduct complaint against Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment CBC News
    Julie Snyder is the latest — and most high-profile person yet — to come forward with allegations of sexual assault or harassment against the founder of the Just For Laughs comedy festival, Gilbert Rozon. Snyder, a well-known television star and producer, filed a police complaint against Rozon Sunday night, according to her representative. Source
  • Sex assault complaint filed against Just for Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Julie Snyder, one of the biggest names in Quebec's entertainment industry, has filed a complaint of sexual assault against Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon. A spokesman for Snyder's production company says the former wife of business tycoon Pierre Karl Peladeau went to police in the past few days to inform them of the alleged attack. Source
  • Megyn Kelly on O'Reilly: Abuse, shaming of women has to stop

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Megyn Kelly took on her former Fox News Channel colleague Bill O'Reilly in blunt terms on Monday, revealing she had gone to her bosses to complain about O'Reilly's behaviour and saying the size of a newly revealed $32 million settlement of harassment charges made by a Fox analyst was "jaw-dropping. Source
  • Tragically Hip music sales jump 1,000% after Gord Downie's death

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Fans of the Tragically Hip flocked to the band’s music as they mourned the death of singer Gord Downie, which drove a huge boost in sales, streams and radio play. Eleven albums by the Kingston, Ont. Source
  • Drake throws swanky Andy Warhol-themed party for 31st birthday in Toronto

    Entertainment CBC News
    Toronto rapper Drake celebrated his 31st birthday this weekend with a lavish Andy Warhol-themed party in his hometown. Although his actual birthday is Tuesday, the multi-platinum artist got a head start on the celebrations with family and a star-studded crew of close friends at Casa Loma on Saturday night. Source
  • Harvey Weinstein faces civil rights investigation in N.Y.

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    ALBANY, N.Y. — State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor’s office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. Source
  • Tragically Hip album sales, audio streams soar after Gord Downie's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Fans of the Tragically Hip flocked to the band's music as they mourned the death of singer Gord Downie, which drove a huge boost in sales, streams and radio play. Eleven albums by the Kingston, Ont. Source
  • New York attorney general launches probe of Weinstein Co.

    Entertainment CBC News
    State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a civil rights investigation on Monday into The Weinstein Co. following sexual harassment and assault allegations against its co-founder, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. As part of the investigation, the prosecutor's office issued a subpoena seeking company records on harassment complaints and legal settlements to determine whether any civil rights and anti-discrimination laws were broken. Source
  • Hoser comedy 'Letterkenny' to get new episodes, international push

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — The hit hoser comedy “Letterkenny” is getting a commitment for more episodes, a tour and a push to expand internationally. CraveTV and “Letterkenny” producers New Metric Media have announced a multi-year partnership that includes the production of more than 40 new episodes. Source