Iron Butterfly

11th August 2015

Title: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Label: Salvo

‘Indulgence’. Check out the dictionary definition and somewhere in there it will mention the title track of this album which crosses the finishing line at around 17 minutes and five seconds.

This was a group who were drenched in heavy, psychedelic acid rock. Some believe the band sound dated but I would disagree. Every musical artist sounds dated for five minutes and then sounds fashionable for the next five. Then you repeat ad nauseum. Being ‘dated’ is not the issue here. Being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is.

Iron Butterfly were one of the first hard rock bands to flow all over the radio and to get under the skin of the general public. Remarkably, it was that 17 minute epic that would prove to be their best-known piece of music. This track slowly opened the door to longer AOR songs: so now you know who to blame.

So I’m reviewing an album but droning on about just one track within it? Yes, because the (equally) droning minor-key riff and mumbled vocals for In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is arguably the most notorious song of the acid rock era. The story goes that the song was never meant to have that title. It was supposed to be called In The Garden Of Eden but Doug Ingle, bandleader, organist and vocalist, was so stoned out of his mind that In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was all that he could muster. Once the band started playing, they were also so stoned that it was tough to stop them, hence the 17 minute length.

That said, the album and this one track still stands as the band’s definitive moment, the other five tracks are also respectable relics of the genre. Remarkably, even in their drug-addled state, they managed to cross a sort of psychedelic nexus that froze their ineptitude and linked it into a sort of genius moment. Go, as the man said, figure.