Jefferson Airplane co-founder passes on at 76

Jefferson Airplane co-founder passes on at 76
Marty Balin

Marty Balin, co-founder of the 1960s California psychedelic rock group Jefferson Airplane, has died, US media reported on Friday.

He was aged 76. Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald, Balin was a folk guitarist in San Francisco when he founded Jefferson Airplane with guitarist Paul Kantner.

The group released its first album in 1966, but achieved its breakthrough a year later with “Surrealistic Pillow,” which went gold.

Balin, a tenor, wrote several songs for that album which also featured the singer Grace Slick.

The group cemented its reputation with a performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival.

Balin later left the band, but in the 1970s rejoined Kantner and Slick for what was then known as Jefferson Starship and which, according to Rolling Stone magazine, scored more hits than the original Airplane.

In 1978 Balin went on to a solo career.

His family did not specify the cause of death, but Balin had undergone open heart surgery in 2016. He later sued the New York hospital where he underwent the procedure, alleging he suffered multiple complications.

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