Paul Kantner

Paul Kantner

March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016
Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Starship
2016 was not been kind to music fans. Of course, the reality is that the musical heroes who rose to fame in the 1960s are in or approaching their 7th decade and the tables are weighted against many or any decades more.
                      I prefer to recognize these people by remembering their birthday, not the day they left us.
                      Like John Sebastian, the other person whose birthday I noted today [John Sebastian entry], Paul Kantner didn't have to move to find himself in the middle of the musical revolution. John was in the Village. Paul was in San Francisco.
                      Paul Kantner formed the Jefferson Airplane with Marty Balin in 1965. In 1966 the Airplane released its debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. It did well locally, but the Airplane's success grew when Grace Slick became its vocalist.
                      Kanter's mother died when he was eight and his father, a traveling salesman, sent him to boarding school. The lonely motherless child discovered science fiction in the school library and that influence became a bedrock for the Airplane's and later the Starship's music.
                      By 1969, the Airplane was successful and popular enough to close out day two of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The Who played until dawn and the Airplane came on.
Paul Kantner
Sunday 17 August dawn at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. (photo by J Shelley)
                       Kantner was the key to the Airplane evolution into the Starship. In fact, Paul Kantner had the longest continuous membership with the band; at times he was the only founding member still in the band from the original Jefferson Airplane lineup.

Paul Kantner

                      The Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Its performance at the induction ceremony was the first time original members Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden and Kantner had played together since 1970

                      From Wikipedia: Kantner died in San Francisco at the age of 74 on January 28, 2016 from multiple organ failure and septic shock after he suffered a heart attack days earlier.[1] Shortly after Kantner's passing, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart reflected, "He was kind of the backbone of that band. It was always about Grace and Jack and Jorma (Kaukonen), I don’t think he got the credit he deserved."  He died on the same day as Airplane co-founder Signe Toly Anderson.
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John Sebastian

John Sebastian

Happy birthday to you March 17, 1944
Lovin’ Spoonful
Surprise Woodstock performer
Solo artist
John Sebastian
2013-08-15 Richie Havens Memorial Service @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (photo by J Shelley)
                            The common thread to the story that many musicians of the 1960s share is that they moved to Greenwich Village in New York City to be part of its burgeoning folk scene and Bohemian lifestyle.
                            John Benson Sebastian didn't have to move there. He was born there to a father who was a classical harmonica player and a mother who was a writer for a radio program.
                            Early Villagers such as Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie visited his home regularly, so it was no surprise when he became part of the  Even Dozen Jug Band. From that platform others observed his skills on guitar, harmonica and auto-harp. Soon he accompanied artists such as Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Jesse Colin Young, Tom Rush, Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan and others.
                            It was the Lovin' Spoonful and "Do You Believe In Magic" that brought Sebastian national recognition. Here is a live performance of that song from 1965. How many of you remember wondering what that thing he was playing?

                            John Sebastian left the group in 1968 to go solo and other than an occasional return to the group format (J-Band), he continued and continues to perform as such. Of course, he also continues to be in demand as an accompanist.

John Sebastian

                            One of his most famous moments was his unscheduled performance at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. After the Festival's laborious delivery on Friday, Saturday dawned damp and the organizers faced a worrisome day.
                            The band Quill opened but the stage crew needed time to set up the next scheduled group. Organizers "volunteered" Country Joe McDonald and handed him a strapless guitar (he found a piece of rope). Santana's awesome set followed McDonald's rousing songs, but again time was needed for Keef Hartley to set up.
                            John was living in Woodstock at the time and wandered to Bethel to party. A much larger party than he or anyone realized was going to happen.
                            John was volunteered and filled in admirably.
John Sebastian
John Sebastian in his tie-died outfit at Woodstock on Saturday 16 August 1969. I am in the upper right area of the crowd. Do you see me waving? Photo by Henry Diltz.
                            His second moment of national fame came in 1976,  when he had an unexpected #1 single with "Welcome Back", the theme song to the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.
                            Check out the link to his site below and see where he's playing next. If it's near you, it'd be a great event to attend.
                            As part of the Lovin' Spoonful, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. 

John continues to live in Woodstock, NY ("Where Woodstock is, but not where Woodstock was.") and will show up to play at Levon Helm's Barn (The Barn)
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