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Jefferson Starship was an American rock band popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It developed from San Francisco-based psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane.

Paul Kantner/Jefferson Starship:
During the transitional period of the early 1970s, singer-guitarist Paul Kantner recorded Blows Against The Empire, a concept album featuring an ad hoc group of musicians and credited on the LP as "Paul Kantner - Jefferson Starship", marking the first use of the latter name.
This 'prototype' version of Jefferson Starship included David Crosby and Graham Nash and Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, as well as some of the remaining members of Jefferson Airplane, lead singer Grace Slick, drummer Joey Covington and bassist Jack Casady.
In Blows Against the Empire, Kantner (and Slick) sang about a group of people escaping Earth in a hijacked starship. In 1971, the album was nominated for the prestigious science fiction prize, the Hugo Award, a rare honor for a musical recording. It was while that album was being made that Kantner sealed his love affair with Grace Slick; their daughter China Kantner (who made a name for herself as an MTV veejay in the 1980s) was born shortly thereafter.
Kantner and Slick (with a similar group of musicians, but without a 'Jefferson Starship' artist credit) released two follow-up albums: Sunfighter, an environmentalism-tinged album released in 1971 to celebrate China's birth, and 1973's Baron von Tollbooth & The Chrome Nun, titled after the nicknames David Crosby had given to the couple. The artist credit on Baron von Tollboth gave ex-Quicksilver Messenger Service bassist-keyboard player-vocalist David Freiberg equal billing with Kantner and Slick. Freiberg had known and played with Kantner on the folk circuit in the early 1960s and also appeared on Blows Against the Empire, and he had joined Jefferson Airplane in time to appear on their live LP Thirty Seconds over Winterland. Also in 1973, Slick released Manhole, her first solo album.
Kantner is also credited with discovering teenage guitarist Craig Chaquico during this time, who first appeared on Sunfighter and would play with Kantner, Slick and their bands and then with Starship through 1991. He later embarked on a successful solo career as a smooth jazz artist.

Jefferson Starship:
By 1973, with Kaukonen and Casady now devoting their full attention to Hot Tuna, the musicians on Baron von Tollbooth formed the core of a new lineup that was formally reborn as "Jefferson Starship" in 1974. Kantner, Slick, and Freiberg were charter members. The line-up also included late-Airplane holdovers drummer John Barbata, and fiddler Papa John Creach (who also played with Hot Tuna), along with Pete Sears (who, like Freiberg, played bass and keyboards) and twenty-year-old guitarist Craig Chaquico. Although Marty Balin was originally not among the re-christened Jefferson Starship, he joined the band while their first album, Dragonfly, was still in the works. His only contribution to the new incarnation's first effort was the haunting ballad, "Caroline". Balin stayed with the group for nearly the remainder of the decade. This line-up proved to be the band's most commercially successful so far, although some Airplane fans were less than happy with its more mainstream direction. Balin's sophisticated ballad "Miracles" helped 1975's Red Octopus reach multiple-platinum status. The follow-ups, Spitfire (1976), and Earth (1978), were both big sellers.
However, Slick's alcoholism became a problem, which led to two nights of disastrous concerts in Germany in 1978. The first night, fans ransacked the stage when Slick failed to appear. The following night, Slick, in a drunken stupor, shocked the audience by using profanity and sexual references throughout most of her songs. She also reminded the audience that their country had lost during World War II, repeatedly asking "Who won the war?", and implied that all residents of Germany were responsible for the wartime atrocities. After the debacle, she left the band.
Towards the end of 1978, Jefferson Starship (now without Grace Slick) recorded "Light the Sky on Fire" for their forthcoming greatest hits album Gold, and performed it (under its original title "Cigar-Shaped Object") on-camera for The Star Wars Holiday Special. Gold, highlighting their work from 1974's Dragonfly through to 1978's Earth, was released early the following year. "Light the Sky on Fire" (backed with "Hyperdrive", from Dragonfly) was included as a bonus single in the original packaging of album. (When Gold was issued on CD, both tracks were included on the album.) The album originally had a shortened version of the hit "Miracles"; early pressings of the CD repeated this, but later editions had the full length version from the album Red Octopus.
Shortly before the release of Gold, Balin too left the group, leaving Kantner and company to find a new lead singer in Mickey Thomas (who had sung lead on Elvin Bishop's "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"). Thomas's soaring falsetto steered the band toward a harder rock sound, leading to comparisons to Journey. It didn't help that former Journey drummer Aynsley Dunbar had replaced Barbata, who had been injured in a car accident.
After the 1979 release of Freedom at Point Zero (which spawned the hit single "Jane"), Grace Slick suddenly returned to the band. She joined in time to contribute one song, "Stranger", on the group's next album, Modern Times (1981). Modern Times also included the notorious "Stairway to Cleveland," in which the band defended the numerous changes it had undergone in its musical style, personnel, and even name. One noted personnel change in the group was when Dunbar left and was replaced by Donny Baldwin, who performed with Thomas in the Elvin Bishop Group. Slick remained in the band for Jefferson Starship's final two albums, Winds Of Change (1982) and Nuclear Furniture (1984). Around this time, the band began enthusiastically embracing the rock-video age. Grace Slick would appear frequently on MTV and such music-oriented television shows as Solid Gold, giving the band a high visibility in the MTV era. However, the Jefferson Starship albums of this era were only modestly successful, yet the band remained a gold-selling (and thus commercially credible) act, and a popular concert draw.

Starship:
In 1984, Kantner (the last remaining founding member of Jefferson Airplane) left the group, but not before taking legal action over the Jefferson name against his former bandmates, who wanted to continue as Jefferson Starship. Kantner won his suit. The band briefly changed its name to "Starship Jefferson", but ultimately the name was reduced to simply 'Starship', marking the third incarnation of the band. Freiberg, who had been increasingly marginalized, left as well.
In 1985, Starship released Knee Deep In The Hoopla and immediately scored two #1 hits. The first was "We Built This City", written by Bernie Taupin, Martin Page, Dennis Lambert, and Peter Wolf; the second was "Sara". No previous incarnation of the Airplane had ever had a #1 hit. The album itself reached #7, went platinum, and spawned two more singles: "Tomorrow Doesn't Matter Tonight" (#26), and "Before I Go" (#68).
In 1987, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" was featured in the film Mannequin and hit #1, although only Slick and Thomas (plus Craig Chaquico's guitar solo) appeared on it. At that time, the song made Slick the oldest female vocalist to sing on a number-one Billboard Hot 100 hit, at the age of 47. She held this record until Cher broke it at the age of 52, in 1999 with "Believe".) The following year, the band's song "Wild Again" (which reached #78 on the Billboard singles chart) was used in the movie Cocktail.
By the time No Protection was released, bassist Pete Sears had left. The album was not released until well after "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (its most popular single) had peaked on the charts, but still went gold; in addition to "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" (#1), it featured the singles "It's Not Over ('Til It's Over)" (#9), and "Beat Patrol" (#46). The last song on the album, "Set The Night To Music", would later become a huge hit when re-recorded as a duet between Roberta Flack and Maxi Priest.
Grace Slick left Starship in 1988, having become disillusioned with the band's new pop image and swearing never to perform with them again. In addition, Slick, now in her late forties, was becoming more self-conscious about her age. As Kantner and Frieberg had left the band, all the new and remaining members were more than a decade younger than her. To this day Grace maintains that old(er) people "don't belong on a rock and roll stage." With Slick's departure, Thomas became sole lead singer, an amazing feat, since he was leading a band that had been founded when he was just 15 years old. The revamped lineup released Love Among the Cannibals in 1989; however, they had disbanded by 1990.
Today, there are two versions of 'Jefferson Starship' one (with Thomas at the forefront) is officially billed as 'Starship featuring Mickey Thomas' which focuses on newer music of Jefferson Starship/Starship from 1979-1990. The other is a revived 'Jefferson Starship' (often called 'Jefferson Starship: The Next Generation' or 'Jefferson Starship-TNG') which is a throwback to the original Jefferson Airplane, with Kantner and Balin as leaders, and Diana Mangano replacing Grace Slick as female singer (although Slick did do guest vocals on Jefferson Starship's 1999 album Windows Of Heaven). This latter band plays frequent concerts, and on occasion, Jack Casady joins them as well. In 2005, longtime bassist David Freiberg rejoined the group for their "Jefferson Family Galactic Reunion" Tour, and continues to tour with the band


Former members:
-Paul Kantner.
-Grace Slick.
-Marty Balin.
-Mickey Thomas.
-Craig Chaquico.
-Pete Sears.
-David Freiberg.
-John Barbata.
-Aynsley Dunbar.
-Donny Baldwin.
-Papa John Creach.
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