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Jefferson Airplane's Kantner dead at 74

Jefferson Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner has died at the age of 74.

The guitarist and vocalist passed away of multiple organ failure and septic shock after suffering a heart attack earlier this week. He’d been battling poor health for some time.

Kantner formed Jefferson Starship in 1966 and they became the first San Fransisco band to sign a major record deal that same year. Vocalist Grace Slick joined after Signe Toly Anderson left and they released breakthrough album Surrealistic Pillow in 1967.

Kantner and Slick went on to form Jefferson Starship, which he left in 1984. The original band reunited in 1989 and 1996, and he’d remained on board through a number of lineup changes since then.

Grammys boss Neil Portnow has paid tribute, saying: “Paul was a key architect in the development of what became known as the San Francisco Sound. The music community has lost a true icon.”

A post on The Doors’ Facebook page reads: “Our condolences go out to the friends, family and fans of Paul Kantner. Music would not be the same without the sounds of The Doors and Jefferson Airplane – both contributed so heavily to the signature sound of the sixties and seventies.”

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Kantner, second left, with Jefferson Airplane in the 1970s

Kantner, second left, with Jefferson Airplane in the 1970s (Image credit: Getty)
Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.