Marty Balin, Jefferson Airplane founder and vocalist, dead at 76

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Marty Balin, Jefferson Airplane co-founder, has died.

Jefferson Airplane formed in 1965 and pioneered San Francisco's burgeoning psychedelic rock sound. Balin's publicity company, Jensen Communications, announced Friday that Balin passed away on September 27, with his wife, Susan Joy Balin, by his side.

His family did not specify the cause of death, but Balin had undergone open heart surgery in 2016.

Marty Balin - the co-founder and vocalist-guitarist of the psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane - has died aged 76, his family and publicist say.

Born Martyn Jerel Buchwald in Cincinnati, Ohio, Balin was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by parents Joe and Jean Buchwald.

"We didn't even know what we were doing when we started doing it", Kantner said in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone.

Altamont
Marty Balin is on the right moments before he was beaten unconscious at the Altamont festival in 1969

Grace Slick, whose powerful vocals added another unique element to the band's sound, joined the group in 1966, bringing two songs with her from her previous band, the Great Society.

Many of them played early shows at the Matrix, a ballroom that Balin helped run and where Jefferson Airplane was the house band. Anderson and Spence soon left the band and were replaced by Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden, respectively, and the group's 1967 album "Surrealistic Pillow" - featuring the Slick-sung hits "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love", along with several songs co-written by Balin - vaulted the group into superstardom.

The band performed at three of the legendary music festivals of the '60s, including the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock and the ill-fated Altamont.

Jefferson Airplane was the breakout act among such San Francisco-based artists as the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin. The band was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1996 and awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.

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

Mr Balin wrote songs including "Volunteers" and "Today" for the band, as well as contributing to hits for Jefferson Starship, including "Runaway" and "Miracles".

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