Marty Balin was born in 1942 in Cincinnati, Ohio and began his career in 1962 with Challenge releasing two singles, ‘Nobody But You‘ and ‘I Specialize In Love‘. Founding Jefferson Airplane Balin alongside with Grace Slick (vocals) and Paul Kantner (guitar) met success during the years 1966 to 1971. The band appeared at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The same year, while performing at the Altamont Free Concert, Balin was attacked and left unconscious by Hell’s Angels. The incident can be seen in the documentary “Gimme Shelter” (1970).

In 1971 Balin left Jefferson Airplane due to miscommunication with the rest of the band’s members. Balin explained his departure in an 1993 interview with Relix saying that the drug use which was widespread among the musicians that period made things frustrating for him. In 1975 he founded Jefferson Starship with which he achieved great hits as well. Since 1979 he went solo, working in parallel with other projects and also making a reunion album and tour with Jefferson Airplane in 1989.

Marty Balin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of Jefferson Airplane in 2016. The recent years he dealt with serious health issues. He died on September 27 at the age of 76, however the cause of death has not yet been revealed to the public.

Mary Kalaitzidou