Joey Covington Dead: Former Jefferson Airplane Drummer Dies in Car Crash at 67

Celebrity News Jun. 6, 2013 AT 2:45PM
Former Jefferson Airplane drummer Joey Covington died at the age of 67 on June 4, 2013 in a car accident in Palm Springs, Calif. Former Jefferson Airplane drummer Joey Covington died at the age of 67 on June 4, 2013 in a car accident in Palm Springs, Calif. Credit: Mike FANOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Joey Covington, the drummer for the band Jefferson Airplane from 1970 to 1972, died in a car crash on Tuesday, June 4, in Palm Springs, Calif., officials said. He was 67 years old.

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According to a local CBS news station, Covington's sedan slammed into a wall near a curve in the road at around 5 p.m., forcing police to shut down traffic in the area for several hours. He was alone in the vehicle, but witnesses to the crash rushed to his side to try to revive him.

A short time later, he was pronounced dead at the scene. A Riverside County coroner's report said he was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident.

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A self-taught drummer, Covington played in the band Hot Tuna with Jefferson Airplane members Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, and Paul Kantner. When Jefferson Airplane's longest-serving drummer, Spencer Dryden, left in 1970, Covington was tapped to replace him. He co-wrote several songs for the group, including "Pretty as You Feel" and "With Your Love."

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Jefferson Airplane has had many iterations over the years. In addition to Casady, Kaukonen, Kantner, Covington, and Dryden, past members include David Freiberg, Marty Balin, and lead singer Grace Slick, who brought two of the band's biggest hits, "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." When Airplane broke up in the 1970s, Slick and some of her other bandmates formed Jefferson Starship, which later gave way to just Starship, the band behind classics like "We Built This City" and "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now."

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