Marty Balin

Marty Balin

Highest Rated: 93% Gimme Shelter (1970)

Lowest Rated: 93% Gimme Shelter (1970)

Birthday: Jan 30, 1942

Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Jefferson Airplane cofounder Marty Balin had one of the sweetest singing voices to emerge from the San Francisco hippie scene, and his hitmaking career outlasted the hippie movement. Born Martyn Buchwald in Cincinnati, he moved to San Francisco to begin his recording career in 1962 releasing a pair of teen-oriented pop singles before forming a folk group, the Town Criers. By 1965 he'd met another folksinger, Paul Kantner, who also admired the Beatles and the Byrds and wanted to put a band together. Originally Jefferson Airplane was more of a folk-rock group with Balin as the featured singer; he cowrote all of the original songs on their 1966 debut, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. However the arrival of Grace Slick (on the second album, Surrealistic Pillow would shift them toward psychedelia; Slick became the group's star but her onstage duets with Balin evinced a notable chemistry. (They were said to be less friendly offstage.) Balin often provided the Airplane's melodic love songs-- notably the second album's "Today," often considered their best ballad-- but he was also responsible (with Kantner) for "Volunteers," the revolutionary call-to-arms on their 1969 album of the same name. The low point of that year was the ill-fated Altamont Festival, at which Balin was beaten by Hell's Angels when he tried to stop a brawl. Balin left the Airplane in 1971 and they were notably less successful afterward, but Balin's career was also a disappointment at first: His new band Bodacious D.F. cut only one album that was completely ignored (the name was an obscure in-joke; in the studio he'd respond "Bodacious" to a good take and "Dumb f--k" to a bad one). Meanwhile Slick and Kantner formed their new band, Jefferson Starship, after the Airplane's breakup. Though he was not initially in the lineup, Balin contributed one song, the epic ballad "Caroline," to their 1974 album Dragon Fly. When that became the album's radio hit he joined fulltime, and the next album Red Octopus brought another epic ballad, "Miracles." Thanks largely to that song, Jefferson Starship became a platinum-selling band before Balin left again in 1978 (He was not part of their next commercial revival with "We Built This City.") Love ballads remained Balin's trademark, both with the Starship ("Count On Me") and afterward (the solo hit "Hearts"). His main departure was to write a rock opera, 1979's Rock Justice. Recorded with mostly-unknown singers and released in the height of the new-wave era, it didn't do well. However Balin remained a popular live performer, bouncing in and out of Starship lineups for the next three decades (He was also featured in another Airplane spinoff, the KBC or Kantner-Balin-Casady Band, which made one album in 1986). He also released solo albums, the last being The Greatest Love in 2016. Balin underwent heart surgery that year and in 2018 sued Mount Sinai Hospital, claiming that a botched procedure had ruined his tongue and vocal cords. He died in September 2018.

Highest rated movies

Gimme Shelter

Filmography

Movies

Credit
93% 91% Gimme Shelter Jefferson Airplane (Character) $252.6K 1970

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Living Legends Music Guest 2015