Grace Slick turned 80 today.
Grace Barnett Wing Slick played an important role in San Fransisco’s burgeoning psychedelic music scene in the mid-1960s. Her music career spanned four decades. She performed with The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship. She also had a sporadic solo career.
Slick has publicly acknowledged her alcoholism, discussed her rehabilitation experiences, and commented on her use of LSD, marijuana, and other substances in her autobiography, various interviews, and several celebrity addiction and recovery books. During Jefferson Starship’s 1978 European tour, Slick’s alcoholism became a problem for the band. The group had to cancel the first night in Germany because she was too intoxicated to perform, causing the audience to riot. She performed the next night with the band but was so inebriated that she could not sing properly. She also attacked the audience, mocking Germany for losing World War II and groping both female audience members and bandmates.
Slick was one of the earliest female rock stars alongside her close contemporary Janis Joplin, and was an important figure in the development of rock music in the late 1960s. Her distinctive vocal style and striking stage presence exerted influence on other female performers, including Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, and Terri Nunn (Berlin).
She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 as a member of Jefferson Airplane.
She was ranked number 20 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll in 1999.
Happy birthday, Acid Queen of Haight Ashbury!