The difference in the music caused by the evolutions of Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac are similar in that there were three main stages in both of their careers. But looking at it all critically, the difference between early and late JA is much greater then early and late FM- mainly for the reason that the Airplane came out earlier and lasted longer, I guess. And one thing I actually find quite cool about JA is that their music really did move with the times. Each album they did represented the current state of popluar music when it was made- without ever sounding jaded or burnt out. That may be attributed to the ever-chaning line-up... Their music never did disapoint though. And although I personally favor the music of the Airplane stage in their career, I'm glad they weren't that married to their psychedelic roots that when the time came to move on, they weren't stuck with what they were known for, they had room to grow, expand and move on.
The first incarnation of the group was formed in San Francisco in 1965, and quickly became known as one of the best bands around in the Summer of Love '67. The very first line-up was Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, Signe Toly Anderson, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Skip Spence. The following year Anderson left and was replaced with Grace Slick. The band became a nation wide hit when White Rabbit and Somebody To Love began scaling the charts.
In the early 70s, the Jefferson Airplane became the Jefferson Starship as the band's music and style changed to accomodate the new times. In 1975 they found great success with the album Red Octopus and the hit single "Miracles." While this was quite a departure from their heyday, the fans still bought it, and the group kept evolving. By the mid 80s they had dropped the Jefferson from the name, now to be known simply as Starship. They recruited vocalist Mickey Thomas, who brought new life and energy to the band and bring songs like "Jane" and "We Built This City" to life.
So how did the ultimate symbol of the late 60s music become a 70s pop band, and then (gasp) and 80s Pop Band?? Like Fleetwood Mac and like what I said earlier, Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship/Starship represented the times and had no sentimental attatchments to their roots. I'm sure the die hards shudder when they hear what they produced as Starship (and rock fans in general as we watch their videos) but give them a break. A psychedelic band would never have made it outside of the 60s, no matter how good they were. So let's remember them as they were and as what they became- none of it was that bad at all.