“If only you believe like I believe” — Marty Balin R.I.P.

From The San Francisco Chronicle (Aidin Vaziri):

“I loved his voice,” said Fong-Torres. “I like singers who can soar, and he did, like Sal Valentino and Jesse Colin Young.”

[Marty Balin] was the one who in 1969 leapt off the stage at the free Altamont concert, attacking a Hells Angel who was beating a fan. Balin was immediately knocked out himself, including one more time while he was backstage.

A year later, fed up with the excess that came with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, he left the band to focus on managing other Bay Area acts.

In the meantime, Jefferson Airplane further splintered in 1972, with Kaukonen and Casady forming Hot Tuna while the remaining members, including Slick and Kantner, rebranded the band Jefferson Starship.

But in 1974, he was lured back into the Jefferson Starship fold by Kantner and contributed four Top 20 hits to the group that also featured Slick and bass player David Freiberg, including the singles “Count on Me” and “Miracles.”

“He was unassuming and never wanted to be the center of attention,” said Cynthia Bowman, who was the publicist for Starship, starting in 1975.

Bowman recalled specifically that Balin hated publicity as much as he hated the excesses of mid-’70s rock stardom.

Marty Balin and Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane in 1967. Photo: The Chronicle 1967 via Datebook

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