1965 1965
1966 1966
1967 1967
1968 1968
1969 1969
1970 1970
1971 1971
1972 1972
1973 1973
1989 1989
1996 1996


  • January – Marty Balin becomes roommate with Bill Thompson, who eventually becomes the band manager. They live in an apartment at 16th and Clement in San Francisco, CA.  Marty starts auditioning people for the band.
  • July – Balin has persuaded three investors to contribute $3,000 each, with his newly-formed group to retain a 25% interest, to purchase and renovate a failing pizza restaurant. His first recruit is guitarist Paul Kantner, whom Balin meets at local club the Drinking Gourd.  Kantner, in turn, recommends Jorma Kaukonen, whom he has met at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA, and who is about to head for Europe when he is approached.
  • Upright bass player Bob Harvey and drummer Jerry Peloquin round out the new band’s rhythm section. Signe Anderson, who had sung in Portland, WA, as the girl of Two Guys & A Girl, is heard by Balin at the Drinking  Gourd, where her brother is tending bar, and completes the line-up. They adopt their moniker after local blues musician Steve Talbot gives Kaukonen the name of a fictitious blues singer, Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane, a parody of Blind Lemon Jefferson.
  • August – The group makes its debut on the opening night of the Matrix club, a gig reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wasserman, which along with a later review from Ralph Gleason (who is convinced to see the band by Thompson, who worked as a copy boy at the Chronicle), leads to Airplane receiving contract offers from several major companies. Thompson, who worked as a copy boy at the San Francisco Chronicle, convinces Gleason to see the show at the Matrix. Peloquin is soon replaced by Skip Spence, who Balin thinks looks right for the part despite the fact that he has had little experience playing drums.
  • October – A Tribute to Dr. Strange — an evening of music, dance and light shows — is organized by the Family Dog, a pioneering group of hippie promoters. Performing at the event are Jefferson Airplane, the Great Society’s singer. Kantner is much taken with Grace Slick, who is singing with another band on the bill, the Great Society.
  • November – Also, in October, Harvey is replaced by Jack Casady, with whom Kaukonen played in Washington rock ‘n’ roll band, the Triumphs, in the late ’50s. He is about to start a new term at Montgomery Junior College in Maryland, when he receives the call from Kaukonen to join.  The band participates in the first San Francisco Mime Troupe benefit, organized by Bill Graham, also featuring Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg and John Handy.
  • December – Jefferson Airplane performs at the inaugural concert held at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium with the Great Society, the John Handy Quintet, the Mystery Trend and Sam Thomas & the Gentlemen’s band.
  • With a $25,000 deal signed by newly-appointed manager Matthew Katz and RCA’s West Coast A&R man Neely Plumb, the group cuts its first tracks (It’s No Secret, Runnin’ Round The World, High Flyin’ Bird, It’s Alright and Run Around) for the label in Los Angeles, with Tommy Oliver producing.


  • February – Following the release of its debut single, It’s No Secret, in January, the band plays at the Fillmore Auditorium on a bill with Big Brother & the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, the Grass Roots and the Great Society. Throughout the year, the band will play the Fillmore over 10 times, sharing the bill on most of those occasions with either the Grateful Dead or Paul Butterfield.
  • May – Spence parts with the band and heads to Mexico, before returning to the Bay Area to form Moby Grape. His replacement is jazz-schooled drummer Spencer Dryden, who is currently drumming with the Ashes (who later evolved to become the Peanut Butter Conspiracy).
  • June – The group takes part in the “KFRC Presents The Beach Boys Summer Spectacular” at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, sharing the bill with the Beach Boys, Lovin’ Spoonful, Chad & Jeremy, Percy Sledge, The Byrds and Sir Douglas Quintet, among others. It was there that a group of fans handed out bumper stickers and buttons that read, “Jefferson Airplane Loves You”.
  • August – Just prior to the release of its debut album, the band fires manager Katz, replacing him with the interim Bill Thompson.
  • September – The band appears at the “Monterey Jazz Festival”, Monterey, CA, the first rock group to do so.
  • October – Anderson, unable to cope with the demands of being a new mother and playing in a band, makes her final appearance with the Airplane at a 3-day stint at the Fillmore Auditorium.
  • Slick makes her debut with the group, bringing with her two songs she has performed with the Great Society, White Rabbit and Somebody to Love.
  • November – A Press party is held for the band at the Whisky a Go-Go, Hollywood, CA.


  • January – The band plays at the first “Human Be-In”, in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, before embarking on their first east coast tour.
  • February – Performed for two weeks at the Cafe au Go-Go, with supporting act Richie Havens. They also perform at the Stony Brook College on Long Island, NY.
  • March – Somebody to Love is released as a single with a six page spread on the Airplane in Look Magazine. The band is credited as one of the main influences on the Summer of Love.
  • May – The group guests on CBS-TV’s “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
  • June – Surrealistic Pillow, the first album to feature Slick’s vocals, and produced by Rick Jarrard, with the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia as a musical adviser, hits the US charts at #3, earning a gold record.The band is the sixth act to appear on the second evening of the “Monterey International Pop Festival” at the County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA.
  • Somebody to Love hits #5 on the US charts.The Airplane plays at the Fillmore with supporting act The Jimi Hendrix Experience, fresh from wowing the audience at Monterey.
  • July – White Rabbit hits #8 on the US charts, also becoming a million seller.
  • September – Surrealistic Pillow is released in the UK, in an edited form which excludes major tracks, such as White Rabbit and Plastic Fantastic Lover, and substitutes tracks from unissued in the UK first album.The band plays with the Grateful Dead at the Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA.
  • The Ballad Of You And Me And Pooneil hits #42 on the US charts.
  • December – Watch Her Ride reaches #61 on the US charts.Jefferson Airplane performs a New Year’s Eve concert, with Big Brother & The Holding Company, at the Fillmore Auditorium.


  • February – After Bathing at Baxter’s reaches #17 on the US charts.  Jack Casady is featured on Jimi Hendrix’s album, Electric Ladyland, and Country Joe & The Fish’s Together.  The Airplane and the Grateful Dead each take a 10% interest in a partnership to administer the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco.
  • April – Greasy Heart stops at #98 on the US charts.
  • The band opens the Kaleidoscope club on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles with Canned Heat.
  • June – The Group appears on the cover of Life Magazine, which features articles on Cream, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Mothers of Invention and The Who, under the caption of “Jefferson Airplane, Top Rock Group, With Music That’s Hooked The Whole Vibrating World.”
  • 2400 Fulton St, in San Francisco is bought as the band’s headquarters for $73,000 (later sold in 1985 for $700,000).
  • August – The group performs at the “Newport Pop Festival” in Costa Mesa, CA, alongside The Byrds, Canned Heat, The Grateful Dead, Sonny & Cher, Steppenwolf and others.
  • September – Band plays two nights at London’s Roundhouse, on a bill with The Doors.
  • October – Returned home, they perform at the Fillmore West.
  • November – Crown Of Creation hits #6 on the US charts.
  • December – The extracted title track, Crown of Creation, makes it to #64 in the US.
  • French movie director Jean-Luc Godard films the band playing on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan, for his projected “One American Movie” film. After Godard drops his plans, the footage is picked up by documentary film-maker D.A. Pennebaker, and is used in “One P.M.”
  • Kaukonen and Casady form a splinter group, Hot Tuna


  • January – Slick is hospitalized with a suspected throat growth, undergoing a csecond operation for nodes on her vocal cords.
  • April – Live album, Bless Its Pointed Little Head, recorded at the Fillmore West on October 24-26th, 1968, and the Fillmore East, November 28-30th, 1968, makes #17 in the US.
  • May – Casady is arrested for possession of marijuana, in New Orleans, and will receive a 2 1/2 year suspended sentence.
  • June – Bless Its Pointed Little Head becomes the group’s first UK chart entry, spending a week at #38.
  • August – The band performs at the “Atlantic City Pop Festival”, Atlantic City, NJ, before an audience of 110,000.The group headlines a concert in Tanglewood, Lenox, MA with B.B. King and The Who.
  • Airplane headlines the second day, by now early Sunday morning, of the “Woodstock Music & Art Fair”, Bethel, NY.
  • October – Kantner is busted for marijuana possession in Honolulu, HI, found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined $350.
  • November – The group plays at the Fillmore East, with Slick dressed as Hitler and actor Rip Torn making an appearance as Richard Nixon. Also performs the  “First (and last) Annual Palm Beach International Music and Arts Festival in late November, 1969.”
  • December – Volunteers, the band’s most overtly political work, reaches #13 in the US.
  • The band takes part in the Rolling Stones’ ill-fated concert at Altamont Speedway, CA. Balin is attacked halfway through a song, by one of the Hell’s Angels “handling” security.
  • The extracted title track, Volunteers, makes #65 in the US.
  • The group plays a New Year’s Eve show at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.


  • February – Dryden parts with the band and joins New Riders of the Purple Sage in 1971. He is replaced by Joey Covington, who has been drumming with Hot Tuna.
  • March – Volunteers reaches #34 in the UK.
  • May – Balin is arrested for drug possession in a Bloomington, Minnesota hotel room. He will be sentenced to one year’s hard labor and a $100 fine, reduced on appeal to just the fine.
  • June – The group co-headlines the “Bath Festival of Blues & Progressive Music” at the Royal Country Fairgrounds, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, England, with Led Zeppelin.
  • October – Slick, now pregnant by Kantner, is unable to make live appearances.
  • Casady and Kaukonen, who have, for some time been playing occasional support gigs to Jefferson Airplane as Hot Tuna, either with other musicians or an acoustic duo, formalize the offshoot group. They recruit violinist Papa John Creach, who also becomes a member of Jefferson Airplane, making his debut with the band at Winterland on October 5th (Balin refuses to play the show in a tribute to Janis Joplin, who had died the previous day).
  • A Hot Tuna gig at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, is recorded and given a low-key album release.
  • December – Hot Tuna plays US dates with Covington as drummer and Papa John Creach on violin.


January – Slick gives birth to a daughter, who she and paul name China.

February – Compilation album, The Worst of The Jefferson Airplane, reaches #12 in the US.

April – Balin leaves the group, taking a year off before returning to produce the band Grootna for Columbia records in 1972, before becoming lead vocalist for Bodacious D.F. the following year.

May – Slick crashes her Mercedes into a wall near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. She is hospitalized briefly, causing Jefferson Airplane recording sessions to be cancelled.

July – Hot Tuna’s second album, First Pull Up Then Pull Down, makes #43 on the US charts.

August – Jefferson Airplane launches its own RCA distributed label, Grunt Records.

October – The first Grunt release, Jefferson Airplane’s Bark, climbs to #11 in the US, eventually earning a gold record. Bark makes #42 in the UK.


April – Jefferson Airplane members regroup for a fresh recording session, during which Covington leaves to join Black Kangaroo, and is replaced by ex-Turtles drummer, John Barbata.

May – Hot Tuna’s Burgers makes #68 on the US charts.

August – Airplane plays at the Roosevelt Raceway, Long Island, NY, as a part of the “Festival of Hope” benefit for the Nassau Society For Crippled Children And Adults.
Slick is maced and Kantner slightly injured when a scuffle ensues, after the group’s equipment manager, Jack Casady’s brother Chick, calls police “pigs” during a show at the Rubber Bowl, Akron, OH. Police arrest Chick and drag him offstage.

September – Long John Silver reaches #20 in the US. Long John Silver charts for one week at #30 in the UK.
US tour, which has included guitarist David Freiberg, fresh from Quicksilver Messenger Service, ends at Winterland, with Balin guesting. It will prove to be the last Jefferson Airplane gig.

The Hot Tuna members make a final break and resist any attempts to woo them back.


April – Jefferson Airplane release a live album, Thirty Seconds Over Winterland, which will be their swan song.


August – The core members of Jefferson Airplane reunite for an album and tour. Following a series of partial reunions, Grace Slick, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady release Jefferson Airplane, their first new recording together in 17 years. Grace had recently left Starship, the band that had evolved out of Jefferson Starship, which itself had emerged from the wreckage of the Airplane. Paul, Marty and Jack had performed and recorded together for a brief while as the KBC Band. Paul had also joined Jorma and Jack’s band Hot Tuna onstage during a recent tour, setting the scene for the full Airplane to make music again. Rather than recall any of the drummers from their original run, the group recruits Kenny Aronoff, who had worked for many years with John Mellencamp. Ron Nevison, who had produced some of Grace’s and the Starship’s records, is hired to produce the album, which peaks at a disappointing number 85. Critics largely dismiss the album, but the tour receives mostly positive reviews, despite the fact that the Airplane are augmented by several other musicians onstage.

September – Following the tour, which encompasses more than 25 dates, concluding with a free show in Golden Gate Park, Jefferson Airplane breaks up again, this time apparently for good, as Grace and Spencer both head into retirement. Rolling Stone Magazine calls the Airplane’s tour “most unwelcome” comeback of the year.


January – Jefferson Airplane is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame at the eleventh annual induction dinner. Mickey Hart and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead are their presenters.