Signe Toly Anderson

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Signe Toly Anderson
Signe Toly Anderson.jpg
Anderson in a 1966 Jefferson Airplane photo.
Background information
Birth name Signe Toly
Born (1941-09-15)September 15, 1941
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Died January 28, 2016(2016-01-28) (aged 74)
Beaverton, Oregon, US
Genres Rock, folk rock, blues
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1965–1997
Associated acts Jefferson Airplane, Carl Smith and the Natural Gas Company, KBC, Jefferson Starship

Signe Toly Anderson (/ˈsɪɡ.n/ SIG-nee;[1] September 15, 1941 – January 28, 2016) was an American singer who was one of the founding members of the American rock band Jefferson Airplane.

Biography[edit]

Early life and joining Jefferson Airplane[edit]

Born in Seattle on September 15, 1941, Signe Toly was raised in Portland, Oregon.[2] She was a locally known and well-respected jazz and folk singer in San Francisco, where Marty Balin heard her perform and invited her to join his band, soon named "Jefferson Airplane."[2]

Soon after joining the Airplane, she married one of the Merry Pranksters, Jerry Anderson, a marriage that lasted from 1965 to 1974. She sang on the first Jefferson Airplane album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, most notably on the song "Chauffeur Blues".[3] Anderson distrusted the Airplane's original manager, Matthew Katz, and refused to sign a contract with him until he inserted a special escape clause freeing her from him if she left the band for any reason.[4]

Departure from Jefferson Airplane[edit]

Anderson, in July 1966, informed Bill Graham that she was quitting the band after a series of shows they were playing in Chicago, realizing that bringing her newborn child, with then-husband Jerry Anderson, on the road was not feasible. Graham, however, asked her to stay with the band through the October shows at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, to which she agreed.[1] This gave the band time to search for her replacement, eventually choosing Grace Slick after Sherry Snow declined their offer.[5] Allegedly there were other factors, such as the hostility of other band members towards her husband.[6]

Final shows[edit]

Anderson's last live performances with the Jefferson Airplane were two sets on October 15, 1966 at The Fillmore.[3] Both performances were recorded (as were most Fillmore shows) and have surfaced on some bootleg albums. In August 2010, Collector's Choice music in cooperation with Sony finally released the second show on a legitimate CD issue.[7] At what seemed to be the end of the second set, Marty Balin returned to announce that Anderson was leaving the group. Her goodbye to the fans, recorded for posterity, was as follows: "I want you all to wear smiles and daisies and box balloons. I love you all. Thank you and goodbye." At several fans' request, Anderson and the band performed her signature number, "Chauffeur Blues".

They finished the night with "High Flying Bird," and thus ended Anderson's tenure with the Airplane. The band returned to play two more shows the following night with Grace Slick on board for the first time. This entire performance was officially released in 2010 as Jefferson Airplane: Live at The Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Signe's Farewell.[7] The track listing as follows:

  1. "Jam" (Signe Anderson, Paul Kantner, Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden)
  1. "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds" (Balin)
  2. "Runnin Round This World " (Balin, Kantner)
  3. "Tobacco Road" (John D. Loudermilk)
  4. "Come Up The Years" (Balin, Kantner)
  5. "Go To Her" (Kantner, Irving Estes)
  1. "Fat Angel" (Donovan Leitch)
  2. "And I Like It" (Balin, Kaukonen)
  3. "In the Midnight Hour" (Wilson Pickett, Steve Cropper)
  4. "Goodbye To Signe 1" (Balin)
  5. "Chauffeur Blues" (Lester Melrose)
  6. "High Flyin' Bird" (Billy Edd Wheeler)
  7. "Goodbye To Signe 2" (Bill Graham)

Life after Jefferson Airplane[edit]

After leaving the Airplane she returned to Oregon where she sang for nine years with a ten-piece band, Carl Smith and the Natural Gas Company.[8] In the mid 1970s she recovered from cancer.[2] In 1977 she married local building contractor Michael Alois Ettlin, and continued to sing with Carl Smith.[9]

In the mid 1990s, Anderson suffered further serious health problems, including a broken neck and bypass surgery, which led to serious financial problems for her family.[10] She made guest appearances with the KBC Band and Jefferson Starship. Anderson's husband, Michael Alois Ettlin, died at the age of 62, on February 21, 2011.[2]

Death[edit]

Anderson died at her home in Beaverton, Oregon at the age of 74 on January 28, 2016, from the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).[2]

She died on the same day as Airplane co-founder Paul Kantner.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Harrison, Iris (October 26, 2010). "Iris Harrison talks to Signe Anderson, founding member of Jefferson Airplane". KGON. Retrieved February 13, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Signe Anderson, Jefferson Airplane Singer, Dies at 74". New York Times. February 2, 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Signe Anderson, Original Jefferson Airplane Singer, Dead at 74". Rolling Stone. January 31, 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria Books. p. 52. ISBN 0671034030. 
  5. ^ Unterberger, R. (2003). Eight Miles High: Folk-rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock. Backbeat Books. p. 16. ISBN 9780879307431. Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  6. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria Books. p. 105. ISBN 0671034030. 
  7. ^ a b Valish, Frank (December 15, 2010). "Jefferson Airplane Live at The Fillmore Auditorium 10/15/66 Late Show – Signe’s Farewell Collector's Choice Live". Under the Radar. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  8. ^ "Meet the Oregon Music Hall of Fame's class of 2014". OregonLive.com. October 3, 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  9. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria Books. p. 361. ISBN 0671034030. 
  10. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution!: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Atria Books. p. 105. ISBN 0671034030. 
  11. ^ "Signe Anderson, Jefferson Airplane's original singer, dies at 74... on the same day founding member Paul Kantner died". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-01. 

External links[edit]