Thursday, January 30, 2014

Jan. 30: Marty Balin founder and singer with Jefferson Airplane & Jefferson Starship is 72 today.

Did you know?

Balin was mildly autistic as a child, and he struggled with this while growing up in Ohio, and it affected him into his adulthood.

His father Joe Buchwald was an important part in the 60s San Francisco music scene. As a lithographer, he was responsible for printing more than 200 different posters for shows at famous clubs like the Matrix, the Fillmore and Avalon Ballrooms. His mother, Jean Buchwald started and kept the Jefferson Airplane scrap books.

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, Marty Balin is best known for his contributions to the pioneering San Francisco psychedelic band Jefferson Airplane. Marty Balin also enjoyed a successful solo career, scoring a Top Ten hit in 1981 with "Hearts."

Balin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and later attended San Francisco State University. He initially pursued a career as a painter, but after appearing in a production of West Side Story he changed his name to Marty Balin and turned to music, with the encouragement of his close friend Ralph’s brother, Johnny Mathis.

Marty issued the solo singles "Nobody But You" and "I Specialize in Love" on Challenge Records in 1962.

Two years later he joined the folk combo the Town Criers, followed by a brief stint with the Gateway Singers. In 1965, Balin met singer/guitarist Paul Kantner at the local club the Drinking Gourd, and together they formed Jefferson Airplane. Initially a folk-rock venture, the group became the symbol and a leading figure of the psychedelic scene, scoring a gold record with their 1967 sophomore LP Surrealistic Pillow.

While vocalist Grace Slick was the focal point of hits such as "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit," Balin's soulful tenor proved a pivotal element of their sound as well, and he also wrote key compositions including "Today," "Share a Little Joke," and "Volunteers."

However, long-standing ego clashes with Kantner and Slick forced Balin out of Jefferson Airplane in 1971, he then formed the short-lived Bodacious D.F., which issued their lone, self-titled album two years later.

In early 1975 he rejoined the newly rechristened Jefferson Starship, contributing perhaps his most memorable effort with the smash single "Miracles." Balin also sang lead on the hits "With Your Love" and "Count on Me," but he again left the group in 1978, penning the rock opera Rock Justice before mounting a solo career with 1981's Balin, which generated "Hearts" and its follow-up, "Atlanta Lady."

Artwork by Marty Balin
After issuing 1983's Lucky, he next joined Kantner and fellow Airplane alum Jack Casady in the K.B.C. Band; in 1989, all three participated in a Jefferson Airplane reunion that yielded a new studio album and tour before sputtering out.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)


In 1991, Balin issued Better Generation and two years later joined Kantner's Jefferson Starship - The Next Generation project, concurrently continuing his solo career with 1997's Freedom Flight. The album Marty Balin's Greatest Hits released in 2000, assembled re-recordings of past favorites.

In 2003, Balin issued the self titled CD Marty Balin, the first of several independent albums issued on his Balince Music label.

As of 2008, Balin continues to perform part-time with Jefferson Starship and had intended to record lead vocals for two tracks for their latest album, Jefferson's Tree of Liberty. However, his art touring schedule conflicted with studio sessions and instead the track "Maybe for You" from the German release of Windows of Heaven was included.

He has also released Nashville Sessions in 2008, Nothin’ 2 Lose and Time for Every Season in 2009, and Blue Highway in 2010.


For more about Marty, visit his Website at -



  1. Two of the great rock and roll voices of all time in the same group! Damn I miss them.

    1. My name is Charles, (Chuck), Rutledge.I'm trying to find info about My long time friend Joe Buchwald, (Marty's Dad). I heard that he past away recently. Can anyone help me? Joe was my Neighbor in San Anselmo while Marty was a member of the "SF TOWN CRIERS", (before his Jefferson Airplane fame).