Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin, RIP
Jefferson Airplane co-founder and co-lead vocalist Marty Balin has passed away at age 76. Balin's rep confirmed his death to Rolling Stone, though cause of death is not currently known.
Last month, Balin sued a NYC hospital after saying that a botched surgery left him with a paralyzed vocal cord.
Marty Balin co-founded Jefferson Airplane in 1965 and was with them until 1971. He also was involved in the brief 1989 and 1996 reunions. He was with them on 1966's Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, 1967's Surrealistic Pillow, 1967's After Bathing at Baxter's, 1968's Crown of Creation, 1969's Volunteers, and their self-titled 1989 reunion album.
Balin was also in Airplane offshoot Jefferson Starship from 1975 to 1978 and 1993-2008, and he was in the mid-'80s Airplane offshoot KBC Band with Airplane members Paul Kantner and Jack Casady. He also released several solo albums from 1981's Balin through 2016's The Greatest Love.
Balin had a fantastic, distinctive voice, and helped bring more pop and folk stylings to Jefferson Airplane's psychedelic sound, especially early on. He wrote, co-wrote, and/or sang some of their best songs, including "It's No Secret," "She Has Funny Cars," "Comin' Back To Me," "3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds," "Plastic Fantastic Lover," "Young Girl Sunday Blues," "Share A Little Joke," and "Volunteers." He also wrote and sang some Jefferson Starship classics like "Miracles" and "With Your Love." His presence was no small part of what made the Airplane and its offshoots such unique bands, and once Grace Slick joined Jefferson Airplane, the interplay between her and Marty Balin on stage was truly magical. Get a taste of that by watching the band's legendary Monterey Pop Festival performance, alongside streams of some other Marty Balin classics, below.
Rest in peace, Marty. You'll be missed.