Marty Balin, Jefferson Airplane Founding Member, Dies at 76

Hits as a group member and solo artist included “Miracles” and “Hearts”

marty balin
Photo: S. Joy Balin

Marty Balin, a founding member of rock group Jefferson Airplane, died Thursday, a representative for the singer and songwriter said Friday. He was 76.

According to his representative, Balin died with his wife, Susan Joy Balin, by his side.

A cause of death was not disclosed.

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, Balin was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Jefferson Airplane took root. The band gained notoriety in 1967 with its second album, “Surrealistic Pillow,” which featured the classic songs “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

Balin left Jefferson Airplane in the late 1960s, but returned to the group — which had evolved into Jefferson Starship — the following decade. His contributions to the new iteration included the hits “Miracles,” “With Your Love” and “Count on Me.”

He left the group again at the end of 1978, launching his first solo album, “Balin,” in 1981. That collection included the hits “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady.”

“Marty and I shared the deepest of love — he often called it Nirvana — and it was,” his wife Susan said. “But really, we were all touched by his love. His presence will be within my entire being forever.”

In addition to Susan, Balin is survived by daughters Jennifer Edwards and Delaney Balin, and stepdaughters Rebekah Geier and Moriah Geier.

According to Rolling Stone, Balin underwent open-heart surgery in 2016, later suing the hospital for medical malpractice. Balin alleged that the hospital caused him injuries including a paralyzed vocal cord and kidney damage.