Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick named her daughter 'God.'
Origins: Who but a 1960s drug culture rock star would be sufficiently narcissistic, audacious, and irreverent enough to irritate millions of Judeo-Christians by naming her daughter 'God'? Jefferson Airplane lead singer Grace Slick seems to fit the bill, which probably explains why so many people still believe she really did it. She didn't. The name of Grace Slick's daughter is (and always has been) China, and the notion that she was originally named 'God' was purely the product of a maternity room joke.
On 25 January 1971, Grace Slick gave birth to a girl at French Hospital in San Francisco. (The father was Jefferson Airplane bandmate Paul Kantner.) As she related in her autobiography, Slick quickly made a joke about her infant daughter's name at the expense of a hospital nurse:
... 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 aChina herself relayed the same story through radio commentator Paul Harvey:
I noticed a crucifix around her neck and spontaneously said, "god. We spell it with a
It was only a few hours after my baby had arrived, I was holding the miracle of birth in my arms, and I was already messing with somebody's head. 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
Her real name is China.
Paul Young of Inglewood recalled reading years ago that singer Grace Slick named her daughter God.However, Grace Slick was being disingenuous (or was misremembering) when she later claimed she "spontaneously" joked to a nurse about naming her child "god," as a Rolling Stone interview with Slick published a full two months before the birth of her child indicated that she had already worked out the idea:
No doubt Young did read that, but Slick's daughter says it's an urban myth.
She told The Times a few years ago that the rumor arose because of a joke Slick made after giving birth.
"When I popped out," her daughter said, "the nurse was this sort of religious type. In this cutesy voice, she says, 'And what are you naming your baby?' And my mom, being my mom, says wryly, 'We're naming her god, but with a small "g" out of respect.'"
The real first name of Slick's daughter?
Grace Slick will be the mother of [Paul Kantner's] child, named god ("Just 'God,'" said Grace. "No last name, no capital G. And he can change his name when he feels like it.").Three years earlier, singer Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas had given her daughter the name China, albeit using the alternate spelling of 'Chynna.' According to Grace Slick, the similarity of names was completely coincidental, however:
Since I never paid much attention to the couplings of other celebrities, I didn't know that Michelle Phillips, another rock-and-roll mom, had named her child Chynna. In fact, I didn't know that Michelle even had a child. Several years after the birth of my daughter, when someone asked me if I'd made the spelling different from the name of Michelle's daughter on purpose, the answer was no. In fact, I was so intent on being original with my daughter's name, if I'd known Michelle's kid was named Chynna, I probably would have called mine Xlopdy.Baby China appeared on the cover of the 1972 Slick/Kanter album Sunfighter, which included a song about her entitled "China." Chynna Phillips later teamed up with two of Beach Boy Brian Wilson's daughters to form the group Wilson Phillips.
Last updated: 21 November 2007
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.