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About Grace Slick

Grace Slick is more than just one of the first female singers to infiltrate—and hold her own in—a male-dominated ’60s rock landscape. For many impressionable teens, the Jefferson Airplane frontwoman was their conduit into psychedelic counterculture, one who shrewdly crafted the childlike Alice in Wonderland imagery of “White Rabbit” as a gateway to a very different kind of trip. But where her band’s penchant for socially conscious statements cast them as San Francisco hippie heroes, the Illinois-born Slick often played the tough foil to her more whimsical singing partner Marty Balin, inverting the traditional male/female dynamic. She invested a raw urgency in hard-charging anthems like “Somebody to Love” that anticipated future punk icons like Patti Smith and Exene Cervenka, while her willingness to contort her voice from a folky lilt to a blaring siren blazed the trail for idiosyncratic singers like Siouxsie Sioux and Karen O. As the Airplane morphed into the more arena-rockin’ Jefferson Starship and then the pop-oriented Starship, her spotlight-seizing turns on ’80s FM mainstays like “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” and “We Built This City” proved her powerhouse pipes could cut through even the era's glossiest production.

Chicago, IL
30 Oct 1939

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