Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Marty Balin Dead at 76

He played a main role in the San Francisco bands sound in the 60’s and in the follow-up band Jefferson Starship singing lead vocals and writing on the latter’s “Miracles” from 1975.

Balin was the chief songwriter on Jefferson Airplane’ debut album “Takes Off” from 1966 which featured their original female lead singer Signe Anderson. Balin wrote or co-wrote five on their breakthrough album, “Surrealistic Pillow” from 1967. It’s regarded as one of the best albums from that year. He also sang lead on three of the tunes from that album and co-lead on three more beside their then new singer Grace Slick.

He was one of thousands of struggling musicians in the San Francisco are in the early sixties until he met up with Paul Kantner from there they built a band that would go on to play, Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Altamont and Woodstock in 1969.

Jefferson Airplane was a big force in the 60’s sound especially during the “Summer of Love” in 1967 with their two big hits being mainstays on the radio – ‘Somebody To Love” and “White Rabbit.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 Interestingly the offshoot band Starship had more hits on the radio but much less impact.

Balin released about a dozen solo albums and had two big hits “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady” in 1981. The former peaked at #8.

The singer underwent open-heart surgery in 2016. He later sued Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York claiming there we numerous injuries resulting from his surgery.

Balin died yesterday. His wife Susan was by his side. No cause of death was released. – by John Beaudin


John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 35 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver and on iHeartRadio.

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