Iron Butterfly Founder Doug Ingle, Co-Writer and Singer of ‘In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,’ Passes Away at 78

Doug Ingle, one of the co-founders of the iconic heavy rock band Iron Butterfly and the talented singer and organist behind their famous hit, “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,” passed away on Friday at the age of 78. He held the distinction of being the sole surviving member of the band’s original lineup from the late 1960s.

Iron Butterfly achieved most of their success with the 17-minute FM radio hit “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The album of the same name, released in 1968, spent an impressive 81 weeks in the top 10 in the U.S. and even held the title of the bestselling album in Atlantic Records’ history for a period of time. It eventually achieved quadruple-platinum certification.

Doug Ingle’s family shared the news of his passing on social media without disclosing the cause of death. In a heartfelt message, Doug Ingle Jr. expressed his deep sadness and announced that his father passed away peacefully in the company of loved ones. He thanked his dad for being a nurturing father, a wise teacher, and a dear friend. Doug Ingle Jr. also mentioned that he will forever cherish the loving memories they shared and will carry them with him throughout his life’s journey. The message concluded with a heartfelt declaration of love for his father.

Ingle, who formed the original lineup of the band in San Diego in 1966, was the sole survivor of the classic edition of the group that recorded “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” two years later. Despite numerous turnovers, Ingle remained the last surviving member of the original lineup.

The shortened version of “In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida,” lasting just two minutes and 52 seconds, surprisingly climbed to No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, this chart success hardly reflects the immense impact the song had on popular culture. It was the original 17-minute album track that achieved legendary status, often being playfully referenced in rock circles as either a prime example of excessive length or as the perfect choice for a late-night FM disc jockey’s quick break.

Read More:  The clock on time modifications would stop if Oklahoma bills were dueling

The song’s length is not the only thing that makes it legendary. One of the most fascinating aspects of the song is its whimsically absurd title. It is believed to be a misinterpretation of the phrase “in the garden of eden” by drummer Ron Bushy when the song was first introduced to the band by Ingle.

In a 1995 episode of “The Simpsons” called “Bart Sells His Soul,” Bart cleverly incorporated a modified version of the organ-driven song into the church’s worship service. He slyly titled it “In the Garden of Eden,” crediting it to I. Ron Butterfly. Homer, with a mischievous grin, whispered to Marge, “Hey, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?”

Not only was “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” covered by Bart Simpson’s church congregation, but it has also been covered by various other artists. Slayer included a version of the song on the soundtrack for the film “Less Than Zero,” while the Residents, Boney M, and the Incredible Bongo Band have also done their own renditions. The Incredible Bongo Band’s version was even sampled twice by the rapper Nas. Additionally, the song made a memorable appearance in Michael Mann’s thriller “Manhunter.”

When Iron Butterfly arrived at the recording studio, engineer Don Casale requested them to play the song as he adjusted the levels. Unbeknownst to the band, Casale had actually hit the “record” button, capturing their extended practice run of the track. This impromptu recording ended up being the master take and resulted in the 17-minute long version of the song that we hear on the LP.

Read More:  Serial offender caught illegally swiping NYC transit, released again despite more than 170 previous arrests

Iron Butterfly isn’t as widely remembered in counterculture nostalgia compared to other groups from the same era. This is partly due to the fact that the band disbanded shortly after their peak success in 1971 and didn’t have the same prolonged reunions that some of their contemporaries did.

Ingle participated in several reunion events over the years. In the late ’70s, he took part in a short reunion, followed by two more in the 1980s. In the late 1990s, he had a longer stint before retiring from performing in 1999.

During the era of the classic “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” band, we have unfortunately lost some of the other talented members. Guitarist Erik Brann passed away in 2003, bassist Lee Dornan in 2012, and drummer Ron Bushy in 2021.

The Iron Butterfly, with its ever-evolving lineup, has seen a total of 60 talented musicians contribute to the band throughout its existence. Presently, the touring group consists of four members, all of whom joined after 1995.

In a 1995 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ingle expressed his regrets about the way things unfolded with the group in the 1970s. He acknowledged that the group faced numerous challenges due to financial difficulties.

Ingle recounted to the Times how everything had swiftly and effortlessly fallen into place. He became a millionaire in his early 20s, but soon faced the harsh reality of unpaid tax debt. As a result, he suffered the loss of his vast assets, including a 600-acre ranch, an apartment building, and even his beloved grand piano. However, he managed to resolve his tax issues in 1986.

Read More:  Elon Musk says Russia 'will probably win more land' in Ukraine

“I felt like a young child surrounded by adults,” reminisced Ingle, reflecting on his past at the age of 48. “I was dealing with individuals who were skilled, but their actions didn’t necessarily align with my best interests. I chose to bury my head in the sand and not involve myself in the business side of things. I simply went out and performed, enjoying the blissful ignorance. However, everything came crashing down eventually. Despite that, I still believe life is wonderful, but now I derive my happiness from tangible realities rather than wishful thinking.”

Leave a Comment