Paul Lorin Kantner (March 17, 1941 – January 28, 2016) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Kantner is known for co-founding Jefferson Airplane, a leading psychedelic rock band of the counterculture era, and its more commercial spin-off band Jefferson Starship. He was born in San Francisco, California.
Formed in 1965 when he and Marty Balin met, Kantner eventually became the leader of Jefferson Airplane and led the group through its highly successful late 1960s period. In 1970, while still active with Jefferson Airplane, Kantner and several Bay Area musicians recorded a one-off side project under the name “Paul Kantner and the Jefferson Starship.”
Jefferson Airplane continued to record and perform until 1972. When the band officially broke up, Kantner revived the Jefferson Starship name and continued to record and perform with that band for the next five decades. Kantner had the longest continuous membership with the band; at times he was the only founding member still in the band from the original Jefferson Airplane lineup, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other band members in 1996.