Marty Balin, singer and co-founder of US psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, has died. He was 76-years-old.
The guitarist and singer, who founded the group in San Fransisco in 1965 died on Thursday (September 27) with his wife – Susan Joy Balin – by his side, spokesperson Ryan Romenesko said.
“We have lost a true legend,” a statement on the band’s Facebook page read. “Marty Balin helped start a revolution that still lives on today. He will be greatly missed – our hearts go out to his family, friends and music fans everywhere – Team Jefferson Airplane.”
You can read some of the many tributes to Balin here:
Sad to hear of Marty Balin’s passing. Here is his beautiful vocal on a song he wrote with just perfect mid 70s production. A little masterpiece: Miracles” by Jefferson Airplane https://t.co/DPpf1knfeJ
— Larry Karaszewski (@Karaszewski) September 28, 2018
no no no no RIP Marty Balin.. founding member and lead vocalist of the Jefferson Airplane legendary rock band .. has died.. He was also a great painter .. with portraits of his friends – Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia. all .. now gone. pic.twitter.com/PsoEmzkXHe
— Bill Ritter (@billritter7) September 28, 2018
We have lost a true legend. @Marty_Balin helped start a revolution that still lives on today. He will be greatly missed – our hearts go out to his family, friends and music fans everywhere. – Team Jefferson Airplane https://t.co/gHCa4bvo4O #MartyBalin
— Jefferson Airplane (@JeffersonAirp) September 28, 2018
Marty Balin was an unsung singer & composer of enormous talent..Both with & without Grace Slick he kicked ass. He will stand the test of time here. @littlesteven_ug Rock in Peace https://t.co/Rvyw1GkFnt
— Michael Des Barres (@MDesbarres) September 28, 2018
Marty Balin formed Jefferson Airplane in 1965 as the house band for a converted pizza parlor on Fillmore St. It was the flashpoint for the greatest era in San Francisco rock music.#RIPMartyBalin
(?: Gordon Peters/The Chronicle) pic.twitter.com/eoknoAFWNB
— Peter Hartlaub (@peterhartlaub) September 28, 2018
Your love songs will live forever. RIP Marty Balin.
— Jefferson Starship (@JStarship) September 28, 2018
Jefferson Starship, a spin-off band Balin also played for a number of years also released a statement online. “With heavy hearts, we learn today of the passing of Marty Balin. He was a true talent and inspiration to many. We send his family and friends our deepest condolences.”
Balin co-founded Jefferson Airplane with the late guitarist Paul Kanter in 1965. The band launched it’s debut album, ‘Jefferson Airplane Takes Off’ in 1966. A month after the release, singer Grace Slick joined the band. She wrote ‘White Rabbit’ and proved crucial to their early commercial success.
Their pro-drug stance and psychedelic leanings made them a band central to San Francisco’s sub-culture scene in the 1960’s. The band went on to play Woodstock Festival in 1969 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Balin left Jefferson Airplane in 1971, blaming the band’s excessive drug use for his departure. He later teamed up again with Kautner in the Jefferson Airplane spin-off Jefferson Starship. With Balin on lead, the band had a series of hits including ‘Miracles’, ‘With Your Love’ and ‘Count on Me.’
Balin left Jefferson Starship in 1978 to focus on a solo career but once again reunited with Kautner to form KBC. This eventually led to a Jefferson Airplane reunion album and tour in 1989.
Balin had reportedly undergone heart surgery in 2016 and filed a civil lawsuit this year for alleged malpractice against a hospital in New York City.
His wife also released a statement: “Marty and I shared the deepest of love, he often called it Nirvana and it was. But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be my entire being forever.”