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Last Updated: Friday, 14 January, 2005, 10:26 GMT
Jefferson Airplane drummer dies
Spencer Dryden in 1968
Jefferson Airplane had two US top 10 hit singles in 1967
Spencer Dryden, drummer with rock group Jefferson Airplane in the group's heyday of the late 1960s, has died.

Dryden, who was 66, died of cancer. He joined the band in 1966 and helped them achieve US top 10 hits including Somebody To Love and White Rabbit.

He left in 1970 after performing with the band at the Woodstock festival.

Dryden, whose father was half-brother to Charlie Chaplin, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 shortly after having hip replacement and heart surgery.

His home was also destroyed by fire in the same year and a fundraising concert raised $36,000 (19,300) for the drummer, prior to the discovery he had cancer.

The Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart told the San Francisco Chronicle: "Spencer had a flow, a way of going, an impulse power that was irresistible and unique.

'Ecstatic dancing'

"He was capable of creating a churning, loving rhythm machine for ecstatic dancing."

Dryden, who came from a jazz background, also played with the Grateful Dead offshoot New Riders of the Purple Sage.

Jefferson Airplane are regarded as one of the earliest and most influential US psychedelic rock bands.

Dryden did not take part in their 1989 reunion, but did join his former bandmates when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Jefferson Airplane eventually became Jefferson Starship, who turned into Starship, who had hits with We Built This City and Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now more than 15 years after Dryden left the original band.



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