Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald)
January 30, 1942 - September 27, 2018
January 30, 1942 - September 27, 2018
Marty Balin, singer and founding member of Jefferson Airplane, passed away on Thursday. The news was confirmed by Balin's family and rep, saying wife Susan was by his side. Balin was 76. While the cause of death is not known at this time, Balin's health had been declining the last two years.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Balin was the son of Joseph and Eugenia (nee Talbot) Buchwald. Balin's father was Jewish while his mother was Episcopalian. In 1962, Balin changed his name to Marty Balin when starting out his career as a musician. He released several singles on Challenge Records before joining the folk quartet The Town Criers in 1964. In 1965, Balin had purchased a former pizza parlor on Fillmore Street- turning it into a music club called the Matrix. Jefferson Airplane came to be after Balin met fellow musician Paul Kantner at the Drinking Gourd- another music club. Balin and Kantner would team up to form a a house band for the Matrix. That band would end up becoming Jefferson Airplane- who officially formed in 1965.
After singer Grace Slick replace original co-lead singer Signe Toly Anderson in 1966, the wheels were in motion. The band would go on to achieve success with the band's sophomore effort Surrealistic Pillow in 1967. The album was a hit, thanks in part to hit singles such as "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit." Throughout the late 1960s, Jefferson Airplane would become one of the most successful bands to come out of the East Coast- along with bands such as the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company- just to name a few. The band would released three more studio albums together and performing at three major music festivals: Monterrey Pop in 1967, Woodstock in 1969 and Altamont in 1969. Balin left the band in 1971. When the band changed their name to Jefferson Starship, Balin rejoined in 1974. As Jefferson Starship, the band would top the charts again with "Miracles" from the 1975 best seller Red Octopus. Balin left again in 1978, although he would rejoin the band (as Jefferson Starship: The Next Generation) many years later on/off .
Aside from the Jefferson bands, Balin had a solo career. In 1981, Balin released his first solo album- Balin. The album featured two top 40 hits "Hearts" and "Atlanta Lady"- both of which were written by singer/songwriter Jesse Barish. In the 1990s and 2000s when not touring with Jefferson Starship, Balin would release several other solo albums- his last being 2016's The Greatest Love. While on tour in March 2016, Balin entered Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City after complaining of chest pains. Balin ended up undergoing open-heart surgery, triple-bypass and valve-replacement surgery. In total, Balin stayed in the hospital for three months. Back in August of this year, Balin filed a lawsuit against the hospital for malpractice. According to the lawsuit, Balin had suffered vocal cord damage, loss of his thumb and half of this tongue- along with loss of mobility in his left hand.
In his life, Balin was married three times. In 1963, he married Victoria Martin. With her, he had a daughter named Jennifer. In 1989, Balin married again- this time to Karen Deal, who was the mother of his second daughter Delaney. Balin was married to Deal until her death in 2010. Prior to his death, Balin was married to Susan Joy Balin (nee Finkelstein).
Balin is predeceased by six former Jefferson Airplane-Starship members: Papa John Creech in 1994, Skip Spencer in 1999, Spencer Dryden in 2005, Joey Covington in 2013, along with Paul Katner and Signe Toly Anderson- who both died on the same day in January 2016.