Sound of the Summer of Love: RIP Marty Balin

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Another voice from the fabled “Summer of Love” has been silenced, as Jefferson Airplane cofounder Marty Balin has died at age 76. While co-lead singer Grace Slick got most of the attention, Balin’s soulful voice rank him among the very best rock vocalists in history.

Marty Balin was born in Cincinnati in 1942, and at age 20 recorded a couple of solo singles (“Nobody But You”, “I Specialize in Love”) that went nowhere. Migrating to the West Coast, Balin was involved in San Francisco’s burgeoning folk music scene, until The Beatles exploded in America and changed everything. By 1965, he’d opened a club called The Matrix and decided to form a band. Together with Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Signe Anderson, Jerry Peloquin, and Bob Harvey, the first incarnation of Jefferson Airplane (a riff on bluesman Blind Lemon Jefferson’s name) was born. Harvey was replaced by Jack Cassidy, Peloquin by Skip…

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