Leading Lady : Grace Slick

"In school, I learned about artists and how they were free to express themselves. I was allergic to conformity, and the lifestyle attracted me. I wanted to express myself in a way that slammed people up against the wall."

When you think of 1960s psychedelic rock, Jefferson Airplane and front woman Grace Slick probably come to mind. Slick got her start in music with The Great Society, a band she formed in 1965 that became a part of the burgeoning Bay Area music scene. Slick was asked to join Jefferson Airplane in 1966, contributing unique, commanding vocals and a stage presence that was vital to the band's success.

As one of the first females to front a rock and roll band and with a career that spanned over 25 years, Grace Slick helped redefine women's role in modern music. One of the earliest songs she composed, "White Rabbit," is on The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list and is among Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. She held the record for the oldest female vocalist with a Billboard Hot 100 number one song for 12 years.

Slick retired from music and has since found a career in painting, but the rock and roll spirit that once incited her (unsuccessful) plan to spike Richard Nixon's tea with LSD lives on. Slick recently licensed a Jefferson Starship song to be used in a commercial for Chick-fil-A, a restaurant chain with a history of funding organizations that are against gay marriage. She donated the profits to Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV. Slick encourages artists to take a stand against intolerance and the companies that support it. - Kelly Longhurst


Photo Credit : Ray Stevenson/REX