March 21, 2015

101 Reel-to-Reel Tapes 102: Iron Butterfly ~ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Iron Butterfly ~ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida                   
reel-to-reel tape box cover detail                      
cover photo by Stephen Paley                        
detail photo of cover by Styrous®                                   

In addition to my 20,000 Vinyl LP collection I'm selling, I have reel-to-reel, pre-recorded tapes for sale. If interested, contact me by email please, not by a comment. 

I have the Iron Butterfly ~ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, reel-to-reel tape, for sale on eBay. I have others for sale on eBay now (see links below).    

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It was some time in 1968 or 69 that I first heard In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by the Iron Butterfly. I can't remember where or with whom but I do remember hearing the opening organ intro for the first time. I was hooked. I vaguely remember that the song seemed to go on and on forever without end; but I do have to admit that I had been smoking a little bit. You can hear it on YouTube while you read the rest of this, if you'd like.

reel-to-reel tape box cover
cover photo by Stephen Paley
photo of cover by Styrous®

Iron Butterfly is the greatest one-hit-wonder of all time. The group's one and only hit, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, has become an iconic behemoth of heavy-metal music; and it was just a fluke that it was recorded. The recording that is heard on the album was meant to be a soundcheck for engineer Don Casale while the band waited for the arrival of producer Jim Hilton. Casale had rolled a recording tape, and when the rehearsal was completed it was agreed that the performance was of sufficient quality that another take was not needed. Hilton later remixed the recording into a single at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. The single reached number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.     

reel-to-reel tape box cover detail
cover photo by Stephen Paley
detail photo by Styrous®

At slightly over 17 minutes, the song occupies the entire second side of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album. The lyrics are simple, and heard only at the beginning and the end. The track was recorded on May 27, 1968, at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, Long Island, New York.

Iron Butterfly in 1969
trade ad for Iron Butterfly's single In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
from left to right Doug Ingle (organ, vocals), Ron Bushy (drums, percussion), 
Lee Dorman (bass, vocals), Erik Braunn (guitars, vocals)

Even the title of the song is a fluke; In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is what "In the Garden of Eden" sounds like after consuming a gallon of cheap red wine. After hearing then-lead singer Doug Ingle slur the words, Bushy thought it was catchy and wrote it down that way, and rock's first heavy-metal classic was born in 1968. 

The song is considered significant in rock history because, together with music by Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf and High Tide, it marks the early transition from psychedelic music into heavy metal. In 2009, it was named the 24th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic rated In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida four-and-a-half out of five stars. He called the title track "the epitome of heavy psychedelic excess". He also stated that the rest of the songs "qualify as good artifacts". Rolling Stone was less enthusiastic, calling Ingle's singing "inflexible and sterile" and his organ "strictly chickenshit". They also called out the length of the title track, which "managed to bore me to death".

reel-to-reel tape box cover
photo of cover by Styrous®

Iron Butterfly, was Formed in San Diego, California. The band's 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is among the world's 40 best-selling albums, selling more than 30 million copies. Iron Butterfly is also notable for being the first group to receive an RIAA platinum award.  

reel-to-reel tape box back cover details
photo of cover by Styrous®

Douglas Lloyd "Doug" Ingle (born September 9, 1945 in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.) is a founding member and, formerly, organist, vocalist and primary composer for Iron Butterfly. Ingle's father Lloyd, a church organist, introduced him to music at an early age. Ingle moved from his native Nebraska within three months of his birth to the Rocky Mountains and later the family moved to San Diego, California.

Erik Keith Brann (August 11, 1950 – July 25, 2003), born Rick Davis and also known as Erik Braunn, is featured on the band's greatest hit, the 17-minute In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), recorded when he was 17.  A Boston, Massachusetts native and a violinist, Brann was accepted as a child into the prodigy program at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, but left it to become a rock guitarist, joining Iron Butterfly when he was 16. 

detail photos by Styrous®

Douglas Lee Dorman (September 15, 1942 – December 21, 2012) was the bass guitarist for Iron Butterfly. He also played in the band Captain Beyond. Dorman was from St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to San Diego, California in the 1960s. He began playing bass guitar in his teens. While recording In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Dorman assisted Erik Brann with the arrangement of Brann's song Termination, and was given a co-writing credit. Dorman died of natural causes in his car in Laguna Niguel, California.  

Ron Bushy (born December 23, 1941) is the drummer for Iron Butterfly. He is the only member of the group to appear on all six of their studio albums. He was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Los Angeles. He grew up in a military family, living in approximately 34 states during his youth. He first learned to play the drums when he was in the sixth grade. Bushy is a writer and musician, and is highly respected for his lengthy drum solo in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, with his primal drum patterns, that set the standard for generations of rock drummers. Ron is also highly skilled in the graphic arts and has created most of the logos and artwork as seen on the Iron Butterfly merchandise and advertising.

detail photos by Styrous®

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida lyrics

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, honey,
don't you know that I love you?
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, baby,
don't you know that I'll always be true?

Oh, won't you come with me
and take my hand?

Oh, won't you come with me
and walk this land?

Please take my hand!




detail photo by Styrous®

The band has gone through countless changes in personnel through the years but continues on to this day. Mike Pinera revealed in December, 2014, that he and Ron Bushy had reformed Iron Butterfly, along with Doug Ingle Jr. (the son of Doug Ingle) and an as-yet unnamed bassist, and that the band were currently working on a new album; their first in forty years.   

reel-to-reel tape label detail
detail photo by Styrous®

Track listing:

All songs written and composed by Doug Ingle except where noted.

Side one:

No.     Title                                                          Length    
1.     "Most Anything You Want"                          3:44
2.     "Flowers and Beads"                                     3:09
3.     "My Mirage"                                                 4:55
4.     "Termination" (Erik Brann, Lee Dorman)    2:53
5.     "Are You Happy"                                          4:31

Side two:

No.     Title                                                         Length    
1.     "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"                               17:05



  • Arranged by Iron Butterfly
  • Produced by Don Casale
  • Recorded & engineered by Jim Hilton
  • Mixed by Bill Cooper

The Iron Butterfly ~ In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, reel-to-reel tape, is for sale on eBay 

Other reel-to-reel tapes now for sale on eBay     

Iron Butterfly never had another big hit but the one they had was a doozey!

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