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The Life and Music of Marty Balin

The Life and Music of Marty Balin

Introduction to Marty Balin

Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1942) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. As he entered the music business in the early 1960 Buchwald renamed himself as Marty Balin and began his first stint with Challenge Records, releasing little-known singles. In 1965 he founded the legendary psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane and made himself one of the lead singers. In 1971 he broke off from the group and formed a spinoff band called Jefferson Starship, who also included another former Airplane member Paul Kantner; Balin’s song he wrote for Starship, “Miracles,” made to #3 on the Hot 100 in 1975, becoming the group’s most successful single. Balin had also launched his own solo career and in 1981 released his debut album on EMI label titled Balin, which yielded two Top 40 hit “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady.” But a follow-up album Lucky, ironically, hadn’t much luck on the charts and soon he departed from EMI. In the mid-1980s he also formed a short-lived group called KBC band, whose single “America” registered on the Top 10 rock chart. Balin joined Jefferson Airplane in their late 1980s reunion (which yielded a studio album of new material) while he continued his solo career, releasing numerous albums into the new millennium. His latest studio album was 2011’s The Witcher.

Who is Marty Balin?

Best remembered as the founder of the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane and its spin-off Jefferson Starship, Marty Balin was born Martyn Jerel Buchwald on January 30, 1942 in Cincinnati Ohio. Balin later relocated to San Francisco, California where he attended Washington High School. He is the son of Catherine Eugenia “Jean” (nee Talbot) and Joseph Buchwald. Apart from being associated with the legendary groups, Balin also achieved some considerable success during the 80s music era.

His early music career

Renaming himself as Marty Balin, he signed a record contract on Challenge Records in 1962 and released the singles “Nobody but You” and “I Specialize in Love.” Two years later, Balin formed a folk music quartet The Town Criers, comprising of him, Larry Vargo, Jan Ellickson and Bil Collins. After a quick stint with The Town Criers, he formed the band which garnered much more fame — Jefferson Airplane. In 1967 alone, Jefferson Airplane had a string of hits on the Billboard Hot 100, among of them were “Somebody to Love” (#5), “White Rabbit” (#8) and “The ballad of You and Me and Pooneil” (#42).

Stints with Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, and his solo career

However, Balin left Jefferson Airplane in 1971 and channeled his energy for producing an album for the band Grootna. On Grootna’s album Bodacious DF, Balin also provided vocal works in the recording. In 1974, the other members of the Jefferson Airplane formed the spin-off Jefferson Starship which Balin later officially joined in 1975. Before leaving the band in 1978, he had contributed songs which became pop hits such as “Miracles” (#3), With Your Love” (#12), “Count on Me” (#8) and “Runaway” (#12).

In 1979, Balin produced Rock Justice, a rock opera based on his true story with former Jefferson Airplane handler, Matthew Katz. Balin released his very first solo album Balin in 1981 which contains the two Top 40 pop hit singles “Hearts” (#8) and “Atlanta Lady” (#27). Another solo effort was released in 1983 entitled Lucky and an EP was produced by EMI-Japan named There’s No Shoulder.  Not long thereafter, his contract with EMI expired. No Shoulder.  Not long thereafter, his contract with EMI expired.

In 1989, Jefferson Airplane embarked on a reunion tour and an recorded album as well. He continued to release solo albums and followed by a reunion with fellow Jefferson Airplane Kantner. He now resides with his wife and four daughters in Florida, where he also run his own art gallery featuring his paintings.

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