Jefferson Airplane singer, co-founder Marty Balin dies

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As far as rock's elder statesmen goes, Marty Balin (pictured above, at left), who died September 27 at age 76, was one of its rarest birds.

The band was best known for their hits sung by vocalist Grace Slick, including Somebody to Love and White Rabbit.

He is survived by his wife Susan Joy Balin, two daughters, and two stepdaughters.

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Jefferson Airplane formed in 1965 and pioneered San Francisco's burgeoning psychedelic rock sound. He also wrote key compositions including "It's No Secret" "Today", "Comin' Back To Me" "Plastic Fantastic Lover" "Share a Little Joke", and "Volunteers". Along with Kantner, Grace Slick, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and drummer Slip Spence (late singer Signe Toly Anderson was a part of the group for their debut Jefferson Airplane Takes Off but was replaced by Slick before the second album), Balin toured and recorded with the Airplane until he parted ways with the band in 1971, later joining Kantner and Slick in Jefferson Starship.

Jefferson Airplane defined the 1960s San Francisco Sound - a mix of blues, folk, rock and jazz, and the musical expression of the emerging hippie lifestyle.

The Airplane was the go-to '60s band, appearing at San Francisco's 1967 Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival and the infamous Altamont concert in 1969, where four people died. He appeared on many of their biggest hits during that period, including "Miracles", "With Your Love" and "Count on Me".

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He was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Balin later played with members of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship for a number of reunion shows.

Two years ago, Balin had open heart surgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in Manhattan. Balin left Jefferson Starship in 1978, after which he focused on a solo career that spawned the top 40 hits "Hearts" and "Atlanta Lady (Something About Your Love)". He later sued for malpractice, claiming the operation caused him damage including a paralyzed vocal cord, according to Rolling Stone.

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