Published: Sat, September 29, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Jefferson Airplane's Co-Founder Marty Balin Dies at 76

Jefferson Airplane's Co-Founder Marty Balin Dies at 76

He underwent open-heart surgery in 2016 and later sued New York'sMount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital for medical malpractice, claiming multiple injuries from the operations.

Marty Balin - the co-founder and vocalist-guitarist of the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane - has died aged 76, his family and publicist say. But really, we were all touched by his love.

Balin was born Martyn Jerel Buchwald on January 30, 1942, in Cincinnati; he changed his name to Marty Balin in 1962 when he recorded two solo songs for Challenge Records: "Nobody But You" and "I Specialize in Love".

The Times calls Balin a "prime mover in the flowering of psychedelic rock in mid-1960s San Francisco", not only through the band he co-founded in 1965 but through a nightclub he owned called the Matrix.

Jefferson Airplane formed in 1965 when folk artist Balin chose to create a rock group in response to the Beatles-led British Invasion. From left: Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Spencer Dryden, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jack Casady. Balin wrote or co-wrote numerous songs, and his "high and soulful" voice became a signature sound for the group, per Variety.

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"With heavy hearts, we learn today of the passing of Marty Balin".

The band performed at three of the legendary music festivals of the '60s, including the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the ill-fated Altamont. He left again in 1978 and started a solo career in 1981.

The group splintered in the early 1970s but several members, including Balin, Slick and Kantner, reunited as the Jefferson Starship in the mid-'70s, and Balin's high tenor voice became a centerpiece of the group's sound via hits like "Miracles" and "With Your Love". In 1989, he participated in the short-lived Jefferson Airplane reunion tour and returned four years later to the renamed Jefferson Starship, finally leaving for good in 2008. Kantner passed away in 2016.

In addition to his widow, Balin is survived by daughters Jennifer Edwards and Delaney Balin, and stepdaughters Rebekah Geier and Moriah Geier.

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