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Marty Balin

Updated on January 16, 2015

Marty Balin made every singer take notice in the nineteen sixties and seventies

If only you believed in miracles, you dreamed some day you might sing half as well as the founder of Jefferson Airplane Marty Balin. He and Grace Slick were the band's lead vocalists.

Immortalized in the movie "Gimme Shelter", Marty was the only star at the Rolling Stones' Altamont Rock Festival with the balls to try to stand up to the Hells Angels, who the Stones had foolishly hired to act as security for the event and who would kill an audience member before they were through. They knocked Balin right out, but at least he had the balls to try to do the right thing.

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald on January 30, 1942 in Cincinatti, Ohio, he renamed himself Marty Balin and began recording with Challenge Records, releasing the singles "Nobody But You" and "I Specialize in Love". By 1964, Balin was leader of The Town Criers, a folk quartet.

In 1971, he left Jefferson Airplane and produced an album for the group Grootna before joining them and recording vocals for the album Bodacious DF. In 1974, Paul Kantner asked Marty to write a song for his new Airplane offshoot group, Jefferson Starship and they co-wrote "Caroline" which appeared on the album Dragon Fly. Marty joined Jefferson Starship permanently in 1975, and contributed to the hits Miracles (which Marty wrote and it reach #3!), With Your Love, Count on Me and Runaway. In 1978, he left the group.

In1981, Marty released his first solo album, Balin. Hearts and Atlanta Lady from the album were hits. His second solo album, Lucky, was released in 1983. The same year he released an EP called There's No Shoulder, that was available only in Japan.

In 1985, he teamed up with Paul Kantner and Jack Casady to form the KBC Band. After the KBC band broke up, a 1989 reunion album and tour with Jefferson Airplane followed.

Balin continued recording solo albums in the following years and reunited with Paul Kantner in the latest incarnation of Jefferson Starship.

Balin had intended to record lead vocals for two tracks for Jefferson Starship's album, Jefferson's Tree of Liberty, however his art touring schedule (Marty has always had a serious interest in painting) conflicted with studio sessions and instead the track "Maybe for You" from the German release of Windows of Heaven was included.

Marty Balin

Marty Balin
Marty Balin

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Three reasons to love Marty Balin

1.) He knows what it means to hold a note.

2.) He won a Grammy for Jefferson Starship with "Miracles" and he deserved it.

3.) He left Jefferson Starship at the top of his game.

Jefferson Starship videos

What do YOU think about the great Marty Balin?

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