God's Birthday

On this day in 1971, Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane gave birth to a daughter, naming her God, she was later re-named China. Gibson takes a look back: It's one of the great rock and roll stories and one that's been regularly confirmed and disputed ever since that January day in 1971 when Jefferson Airplane's singer Grace Slick gave birth to a daughter. The story goes that Paul Kantner (the band's guitarist) and Grace's baby was named 'god' in a flash of Grace Slick humor in the hospital.

Here's how Grace remembers events in her autobiography Somebody to Love? A Rock-and-Roll Memoir: "As I held my newborn baby in my arms, a Spanish nurse came into my hospital room to attend to antiseptics and linens. She was holding a framed certificate that looked like a high school diploma, and she said, 'We give these to all the new mothers. You see, it says where she was born, what time, and the name of the baby goes here.' She pointed to an empty line in the document. 'What is your baby's name?' she asked. I noticed a crucifix around her neck and spontaneously said, 'god. We spell it with a small 'g' because we want her to be humble.'"

Slick obviously found her joke amusing, as she continues: "The nurse asked me to repeat what I'd said. I obliged her. After hearing it a second time, deciding that the blasphemy was real, she haltingly entered "god" on the parchment, probably expecting to go through life repeating novenas for her participation in this profanity. When she was through filling in the irreverent name, she ran to the telephone to call Herb Caen, the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper columnist ... He published the information about the birth and the supposed appellation Paul and I had chosen..." more on this story

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