Marty Balin

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Marty Balin
Marty Balin guitar strong light.JPG
Marty Balin live performance, 2011
Background information
Birth name Martyn Jerel Buchwald
Born (1942-01-30) January 30, 1942 (age 73)
Origin Cincinnati, Ohio
Genres Psychedelic rock, folk rock, pop rock, soft rock, acid rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 1965–present
Labels Challenge, EMI, GWE
Associated acts Jefferson Airplane, KBC Band, Jefferson Starship
Balin performing at a concert in Hallandale, Florida

Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald; January 30, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter and musician best known as the founder and one of the lead singers of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Balin's distinctive voice and style can be heard on memorable recordings including the Billboard top chart hits "Miracles" and "Hearts," and in album, radio, film and television soundtrack classics such as "Today" and "Volunteers."

Early life[edit]

Balin was born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Catherine Eugenia "Jean" (née Talbot) and Joseph Buchwald. His paternal grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe. His father was Jewish and his mother was Episcopalian. Marty attended Washington High School in San Francisco, California.


In 1962, Martyn Jerel Buchwald renamed himself Marty Balin. He began recording with Challenge Records, releasing the singles “Nobody But You” and “I Specialize in Love.”[1] By 1964, Balin was leading a folk music quartet called The Town Criers with fellow band members Larry Vargo, Jan Ellickson, and Bill Collins.[1]

Balin was the founder and one of the lead vocalists for Jefferson Airplane, along with Grace Slick, from 1965 to 1971.[1] To be clear, Grace Slick was with the band, "The Great Society," when Jefferson Airplane was founded but joined for the Airplanes seminal/germinal 2nd album, "Surrealistic Pillow," after the original female vocalist, Signe Toly Anderson, left the group.

In 1971, he departed Jefferson Airplane, and went on to produce an album for the group Grootna[2] before joining them and recording vocals for the album Bodacious DF.[3] In 1974, Paul Kantner asked Marty to write a song for his new Airplane offshoot group, Jefferson Starship. Together they wrote "Caroline"[1] which appeared on the album Dragon Fly. Marty joined Jefferson Starship permanently in 1975 [1] and contributed to several hit songs (including "Miracles" (#3), "With Your Love" (#12), "Count on Me" (#8), and "Runaway" (#12).[4] In 1978, Balin left the group.[1]

In 1979, he produced a rock opera entitled Rock Justice,[5] about a rock star who was put in jail for failing to produce a hit for his record company, based on his experiences with the lawsuits fought for years with former Airplane manager Matthew Katz.[1] The cast recording was produced by Balin, but did not feature him in performance.

Balin continued with EMI as a solo artist, and in 1981 he released his first solo album, Balin, featuring two songs that became Top 40 hits, “Hearts” (#8) and “Atlanta Lady” (#27). This was followed in 1983 by a second solo album, Lucky, along with a Japanese-only EP produced by EMI called There's No Shoulder. Balin's contract with EMI ended shortly after.[1]

In 1985, he teamed up with Paul Kantner and Jack Casady to form the KBC Band.[1] After the breakup of the KBC band, a 1989 reunion album and tour with Jefferson Airplane followed.

Balin continued recording solo albums in the years following the reunion, and reunited with Kantner in the latest incarnation of Jefferson Starship.[1]

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 conflicted with studio sessions and instead the track “Maybe for You” from the German release of Windows of Heaven was included.[6][7]

On July 2, 2007, the music publishing firm Bicycle Music, Inc. announced that it had acquired an interest in songs written or performed by Balin, including hits from his days with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Balin has also enjoyed painting all his life. He loves doing paintings of performers he has performed with and his fantasy paintings of Le Pétomane, Paris 1896, the only performer with whom he had never performed. He has painted many of the most influential musicians of the last half of the 20th century. Marty Balin’s Atelier is located at 130 King Fine Art in Saint Augustine Florida, Balin's permanent signature collection Gallery. [9]

Marty Balin resides in Florida and San Francisco with his wife Susan Joy Balin, formerly Susan Joy Finkelstein. Together they have five daughters; Balin's daughters: Jennifer Edwards and Delaney Balin, and Susan's daughters: Rebekah Geier, Moriah Geier.

Balin was married to Tampa musician, Karen Deal from 1989 until her death in 2010. Karen is the mother of Marty's daughter, Delaney, born in 1995. [10] [11]


with Jefferson Airplane
with Bodacious DF
with Jefferson Starship
with KBC Band
with Jefferson Starship - The Next Generation
Solo albums
Compilation albums


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Tamarakin, Jeff (2003). Got a Revolution: The Turbulent Flight of Jefferson Airplane. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-671-03403-0. 
  2. ^ Columbia 31033
  3. ^ APL1-0206
  4. ^ Billboard Magazine Charts
  5. ^ EMI America SWAK-17036
  6. ^ Jefferson's Tree of Liberty (CD booklet). Jefferson Starship. The Lab Records. 2008. 3020617382. 
  7. ^ New Jefferson Starship Album Of Formative Folk Treasures: Jefferson's Tree Of Liberty,
  8. ^ Catalog of Bicycle Music
  9. ^ Balin, Marty. "Marty Balin- Bio". Marty Balin. Retrieved 21 December 2012. 
  10. ^}
  11. ^

External links[edit]