BMI Mourns the Loss of Rock Pioneer Paul Kantner

Posted in News on January 29, 2016

BMI is mourning the passing of longtime affiliate, songwriter Paul Kantner, who died Thursday, January 28, at the age of 74. As co-founder, rhythm guitarist, singer and songwriter for seminal San Francisco rock ensemble, the Jefferson Airplane, Kantner was a crucial pioneer in the evolution of rock and roll, by infusing Jefferson Airplane’s folk-rock with elements of pointed political consciousness and potent psychedelia. The band’s groundbreaking second album, 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow, established Kantner and the band as a viable commercial entity as well as an influential template for generations of rock bands to emulate. Kantner’s political leanings further surfaced on the iconic antiwar anthem, “Wooden Ships,” co-written with David Crosby and Stephen Stills, which appeared on both Jefferson Airplane’s 1969 opus Volunteers and on the classic debut by Crosby, Stills & Nash.

In the `70s, following the dissolution of the original Jefferson Airplane, Kantner formed Jefferson Starship, maintaining a formidable presence into the `80s with chart-toppers like “Jane,” a classic rock staple that continues to be routinely played on radio to this day.

Kanter reformed with his Surrealistic Pillow-era bandmates for a brief Jefferson Airplane reunion in 1989. In more recent years, Kanter continued to record and tour with new editions of Jefferson Starship.  A brilliant and ambitious talent, Paul Kantner will be sadly missed by his friends at BMI.