For rock fans who lived through the Summer of Love, that era has truly come to an end. Paul Kantner, a founding member of the pioneering psychedelic ’60s San Francisco rock group the Jefferson Airplane, died from multiple organ failure after suffering a heart attack earlier this week, according to media reports Thursday evening.
Kantner's death at age 74 was confirmed by his longtime publicist Cynthia Bowman. He was a legend who helped define the psychedelic-rock scene in 1967. He and singer Marty Balin played the San Francisco folk circuit before expanding the band and exploring the psychedelic electric rock sound that eventually made them one of the country's most iconic bands.
Early hits included “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit” from the group’s breakout album "Surrealistic Pillow" in 1967. The band's fame saw them perform at the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the infamous Altamont Speedway Free Festival with the Rolling Stones.
Kantner eventually left the band and formed Jefferson Starship, with hits including “Jane,” “We Built This City” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” in 1987.
Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the band is being honored by the Recording Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
Kantner's health began to falter last year when he was hospitalized with a likely heart attack. A statement released Thursday by Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow read in part, “The music community has lost a true icon, and we share our deepest condolences with Paul’s family and friends, and with those who had the privilege of collaborating with him.”
Kantner grew up in California's Bay Area and attended both Santa Clara and San Jose State universities.
Below are some of the most memorable lyrics from Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship:
"One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small" - "White Rabbit"
"Don't you need somebody to love? Wouldn't you love somebody to love?" - "Somebody to Love"
"Here's your favorite radio station, in your favorite radio city, the city by the bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps," - "We Built This City"
And some of his qoutes are included below:
"If you can remember anything about the '60s, you weren't really there."
"I think most non-Christians who try to be good people are probably better Christians than Christians."
"Compared to what they were, rock concerts now are like business meetings."
"You can't just sit around and make protest albums all your life; eventually it comes to the point where you have to do something."