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Jefferson Airplane, 1996 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees

In terms of music and lifestyle, Jefferson Airplane (Marty Balin vocals, b. January 30, 1943; Jack Casady bass, b. April 13, 1944; Spencer Dryden drums, April 7, 1938 - January 11, 2005; Paul Kantner vocals and guitar, b. March 17, 1941; Jorma Kaukonen guitar and vocals, b. December 23, 1940; and Grace Slick vocals, keyboards, flute, and recorder, b. October 30, 1939) epitomized the San Francisco scene of the mid-to-late 1960s. Their heady psychedelia, combustible group dynamic and adventuresome live shows made them one of the defining bands of the era. Much like their contemporaries on the San Francisco scene -- Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Big Brother and the Holding Company principal among them -- Airplane evolved from roots in folk and blues to become a psychedelic powerhouse and a cornerstone of the San Francisco sound. They were the first band on that scene to play a dance concert, sign a major-label record contract (with RCA), and tour the U.S. and Europe. In addition, they espoused boldly anarchistic political views and served as a force for social change, challenging the prevailing conservative mind set in “White Rabbit” and issuing a call to arms in “Volunteers.” In a sense, San Francisco became the American Liverpool in the latter half of the 1960s, and Jefferson Airplane were its Beatles.

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