This Day in ’74: Jefferson Jumps Out of Airplane, Upgrades to Starship

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Jefferson Starship and Starship, STARSHIP ENTERPRISE Cover Art

45 years ago today, the members of the band formerly known as Jefferson Airplane kicked off their first under a new moniker, one which would last them until the day they decided to do away with the Jefferson, but the story of how it came to pass is one which starts with an airplane crash.


A Jefferson Airplane, that is.


Oh, come on, you didn’t really think it was an actual airplane crash, did you? Because if you did, you’re way more gullible than we thought you were.


In 1972, Jefferson Starship recorded LONG JOHN SILVER, an album which found the members of the band in the midst of such a dysfunctional relationship that they eventually had to record a number of tracks with each member recording their part separately. In the wake of the album’s release, the band embarked on a substantial tour, but when it came to a close after two final shows at the Winterland in San Francisco, so – for all practical purposes – did the band.


For awhile, anyway.


After Paul Kantner and Grace Slick spent a couple of years recording together more or less under their own names, the decision was made sometime in early ’74 to revive the old band, but when they did so, they borrowed from Kantner’s solo album, BLOWS AGAINST THE EMPIRE, and called themselves Jefferson Starship.


As noted, Jefferson Starship kicked off their first tour on this date, which is why we consider it to be their “birthdate,” if you will, and they soon thereafter released their first album as this new incarnation: DRAGON FLY. This spacefaring musical vessel would continue onward until 1985, when – in the wake of Kantner’s departure from the band – they would drop the “Jefferson” and continue onward as simply…Starship.


But, of course, you already knew that. Talk about your anticlimactic endings. But, hey, at least the music’s still awesome, right?


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