Classic Rock Bottom

Who? Marty Balin

When? 1981

Album title? Balin review? Yes.

Marty Balin left Jefferson Starship in 1978, not long after "Miracles" gave the group a Top Ten soft rock hit in 1975, thereby providing a window into the world the singer inhabited when he went solo in 1981 with Balin. He largely abandoned songwriting -- he collaborated on one song on the record -- in the pursuit of being an AOR superstar. The 1981 eponymous album was indeed a hit thanks to the gorgeous soft rock staple "Hearts," written by longtime friend Jesse Barish, as was a good chunk of the rest of the album. Some of Balin follows the direction of "Hearts" -- "Atlanta Lady" and "Music Is the Light" both softly shimmer -- but the album overall plays like a sampler of the mainstream rock sounds of 1981. On "Spotlight" and "I Do Believe in You," guitars are cranked up to 11 so they can fill an arena, "Tell Me More" cops some of Michael McDonald's Doobie Brothers disco-soul, and "You Left Your Mark on Me" and "Elvis and Marilyn" flirt with new wave while "Lydia!" outright embraces it, sounding a bit like Donnie Iris. Maybe this hodgepodge didn't do much to establish Balin as a recording star at the time -- certainly it didn't please some Jefferson Starship fans -- but as an artifact of early-'80s rock, it's wildly fun and somewhat compelling.


1. Hearts
2. You Left Your Mark On Me
3. Lydia!
4. Atlanta Lady
5. Spotlight
6. I Do Believe In You
7. Elvis And Marilyn
8. Tell Me More
9. Music Is The Light

Availability: Around $20 for the BGO two-fer which also includes the album Lucky. Amazon states the shipping time on this is 1-2 months. The single version runs around $30 used and is OOP.


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Dear Self,

I asked myself, is this really a lost/forgotten album?  And I answered, No!  It's not totally lost and forgotten.  But it is an appropriate homage to a great and underrated singer so this post is pretty cool.  I own this exact edition and got mine directly from BGO with little wait time.  Totally worth the time to listen...  RIP Mr. Balin...

And as usual, thanks for not reading this Jon!

Sure is a shame this guy left us a few weeks ago.  I have always felt like he had a very good, soothing voice.  His vocals just always seemed so effortless.  Same here for the most part.

This is a pretty laid back album in most places.  The guitar playing is pretty impressive.  I really can't find anything not to like here.  The big single is AOR gold.  And I didn't remember it by name, but I do feel like I have heard the track Lydia before.  It just seems familiar.

I hope to find some of his stuff on the cheap soon.  Nice post Jon.

Thank you for your response. I'm sure someone might eventually leave a comment and say this isn't a lost and/or forgotten album, but it's all just schematics. Plus that person is probably just a fool.


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