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Iron Butterfly


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Iron Butterfly In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album cover
3.46 | 274 ratings | 37 reviews | 20% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Most Anything You Want (3:44)
2. Flowers And Beads (3:09)
3. My Mirage (4:55)
4. Termination (2:53)
5. Are You Happy? (4:29)
6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:05)

Total Time: 36:35

Bonus tracks on 1995 remaster:
7. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Live 1970) (18:51)
8. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Single version) (2:54)

Line-up / Musicians

- Erik Brann / guitar, vocals (4)
- Doug Ingle / organ, vocals
- Lee Dorman / bass, backing vocals
- Ron Bushy / drums

Releases information

ArtWork: Loring Eutemey with Stephen Paley (photo)

LP ATCO Records ‎- SD 33-250 (1968, US)

CD Duchesse ‎- CD 352065 (1989, Europe) Different track running order
CD Rhino Records ‎- R2 72196 (1995, US) Remastered by Bill Inglot & Geoff Sykes with 2 bonus tracks and new cover art

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy IRON BUTTERFLY In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Music

IRON BUTTERFLY In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida ratings distribution

(274 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

IRON BUTTERFLY In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Great to know Iron Butterfly are finally included on the site!

Well, this album is awesome! One of the top five albums ever produced in USA. An historic gem which flew high in the US' charts for over two years from its release!

One of the first album I ever bought, so I love it in a peculiar way!

The second half of the album is all dedicated to their most memorable track In-A-Gadda- Da-Vida which is a real pleasure of bass, guitar, drums and majestic-pompous keyboards-organ! A masterpiece of psychedelic rock!

I've heard also the edited version they released in 1976: it is uncomparable! The first platinum disc in all the rock history. I think they influenced a lot not only the american scene by even the european one.

Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One of the greatest albums of the late 60s psychedelic rock explosion, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was also among the most successful, shifting millions of copies (8 million is the last figure I read) by the end of the 60s. The influence of this album is undeniable, although having a distinctly "uncool" main man like organist Doug Ingle (as opposed to say Jim Morrison or John Lennon) has ensured that Iron Butterfly is treated with derision by a fair number of critics.

While there are five relative short songs of varying quality, this album is made or broken by the 17 minute long title track. Largely based on a single menacing blues riff, this excellent piece nonetheless contains an Eastern style "fanfare", a massive Erik Brann wah-wah drenched guitar freak-out, delicious Gothic organ (with hints of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen thrown in for good measure), an excellent drum solo by Ron Bushy and a percussion extragavanza that draws on African rhythms ... all done with some exciting use of dynamics and numerous shifts of mood. While it can be dismissed as a psych jam, I still find myself astounded by some of the playing, and it shocks me that the whole thing was done in a single take.

As for the shorter songs, one or two will seem pretty fluffy and dated, but I take delight in My Mirage (which races along thanks to some excellent keyboard work from Ingle ... guaranteed to excite fans of the Doors), Termination (another timeless slab of creative psychedelic rock, with a lovely dream outro) and the urgent stomper Are You Happy which some superb free-form psych. Ingle's unfortunate habit of populating his songs with lyrics about "holding hands and walking lands with groovy girls wearing flowers and beads" means that some of the material may just make you cringe, but I still think this album is far more alive and creative than a lot of the sterile prog that's produced today. My CD has a bonus track that is a live version of the title track, and while it's not as an exciting as the studio original, it does show that Iron Butterfly was a band with impressive chops.

Unfortunately, as with contemporaries Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly made its best music in the process of opening doors, but once those doors were open, the band itself was unable to make it through. While bassist Lee Dorman and latter day guitarist Larry "Rhino" Rheinhardt would re-surface in the progressive outfit Captain Beyond, it's fair to say that Iron Butterfly was unable to follow through on the promise and innovation that's shown quite frequently on this thrilling proto-prog record. If you're looking for pure classic progressive rock, this record isn't essential, but as with Marillion of the 80s and The Mars Volta of this decade, Iron Butterfly was making some of the most progressive music of its time. ... 70% on the MPV scale

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars The first time I listened to this album (perhaps in 1974 or 1975) I was mesmerized by the compelling atmosphere with that very distinctive organ sound on the titletrack In- A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Although the drum solo sounds dated and a bit too stretched, most of this song still sounds impressive: from the intro with the ominous organ waves, the powerful bass riffs and the fiery electric guitar to the wah-wah drenched guitar work and final part featuring a propulsive rhythm-section and Eastern-sounding organ waves, what an exciting climate! The other five varied tracks sound decent delivering good vocals and strong guitar - and organ play, they are a pleasant addition to the splendid titletrack. In order to make a review about this album I played it for the very first time in perhaps 10 years, I still enjoy listening to it very much, this is PROGROCK HISTORY!
Review by Guillermo
4 stars This album brings me a lot of memories. One of them is me watching the T.V. in 1970 ( I was 5 years old!), and seeing the promotional video* of the 17 minutes version of "In-a- gadda-da-vida", in colour. That promotional video, if I remember well, had the same psychedelic designs of the front cover of the album, which appear behind and above the members of the band, but with movements! I also remember seeing Ron Bushy moving his head and hair from side to side during all the song`s duration! One of my brothers and me, with "self-made instruments" (mine was a "drum-kit" made with boxes!) imagined playing this song, moving our heads like Bushy! None of us imagined then that by 1981 we were playing together in bands, he playing the guitar and me the drums! My recently late father also liked this song, so much that he bought the score around 1970. In 1981-82, when my brother and me had a band with a cousin who played the bass guitar, I remembered that I found the score. In those days, my brother was also playing with another band, and they were rehearsing in my parents`house too. They had a keyboard. So, my brother called a girl who was his friend and she knew how to play the piano and also to read scores. So, we tried to play the song. The girl learned to play the song very well reading the score. Of course, we couldn`t "duplicate" the song completely!

That`s enough for "nostalgia"!

Now, about the music:

"Most Anything that You Want": one of the best songs of this album, it has very good arrangements of melodies interacting played by the guitar and the organ. Good backing vocals arrangements, too. It has some influence of classical music arrangements. Here, Ingle`s church organ influences shine.

"Flowers and Beads": a very "Pop Psychedelia" song, with very good guitar by Brann and bass by Dorman. A "Flower Power" song really, which now sounds dated, more than the rest of the songs.

"My Mirage": more clear influences form Ingle`s church organ playing (his father was a church organist, as the back cover notes say). It has some "Prog-like" arrangements. It is a good song.

"Termination": a song composed by Brann and Dorman, and not sung by Ingle, like the rest of the songs. This is a short song, with great guitars by Brann, particularly in the last part of the song.

"Are You Happy?": another song with very good arrangements, "Prog" in style. Very good guitar solo and drums.

"In-a-gadda-da-vida":for a long time it was the only song that I listened from this album, until one day thirty years ago I decided to listen to the rest of the songs again. This song has again a lot of influence of Ingle`s church organ style of playing. All the musicians shine in this song. They sound very inspired, really. The drums solo seems to have "special sound effects" applied (like in Alan White`s drums in some songs of the live "Yessongs"album, with YES: in "I`ve Seen all Good People" and "Yours is No Disgrace", for example), and this is the main difference with the live version, which doesn`t have them. Brann, being 17 years old, was really amazing in his playing. He was a great guitarist (he died in 2003 due to a heart attack). Lee Dorman`s bass playing is similar in style to Chris Squire`s or John Entwistle`s. Ingle also plays a very good organ solo. Bushy was a very energetic drummer (and maybe he still is. because he and Dorman still play with a new line-up as Iron Butterfly). The production of this song in particular is very good, like the band and the producers/engineers put a lot of effort in this song in particular. Brann`s guitar sounds like an "elephant" sometimes. A great song!

Years ago I bought the CD version of this album. I can hear some hiss and distortion in some parts of the songs, so the CD revealed the limitations of recording equipments of the 60s. Maybe the newest CD version (Deluxe Edition, with a different "3 dimension cover") which was released in 1995 by Rhino Records which also includes the live version and the single version of the title song sounds better, but I don`t have it.

*Note: I saw some years ago another promotional video of this song without the references to the front cover of the album. It was included in a VHS videocassette (released in 1996 by Rhino Records) which also has a promotional video for "Butterfly Blue" from the "Metamorphosis" album.

Review by Sean Trane
3 stars Most everyone remembers of IB, through this album and its side-long title track. No doubt you have read (or will read) the other reviews, so I will not push too much the analysis of the tracks, but state a few facts: the album stayed three years in the Billboard chart and almost two in the top ten. It has the first lengthy drum solo to be recorded on a studio album and unfortunately it will create a precedent all too often imitated. By now, Ingle and Bushy are the only members from the original line-up, but Ingle was to take on lead vocals, and Lee Dorman will take up bass and Erik Brann will play guitar.

The first side consists of short tracks that follow suit of their debut album, but the garage rock intonations are much less present, but I still hear some Motown influences in most tracks as well as some classical overtones. Most Anything You Want is really dominated by Ingle's organs , but one should be aware that we are not talking of the lush Hammond organ sound or even the relative equivalent Farsifa, but rather the Vox Continental (so popular with garage bands - cannot deny their influences on IB) and it might sound like a very cheap sound and resembles The Door's Ray Manzarek sound. Flowers And Beads is a rather insipid love songs aiming at hippies, but much more interesting is My Mirage with a much slower pace and a very psychey feel (reminding a bit of the Door's debut album). Termination is another cool track that sounds like it would come out of a Doors album (Waiting For The Sun for example) but it is interesting if all too short. Are you Happy is one of those tracks that shows that IB were also relatively good at their instrument and clearly indicates what is coming up next. Maybe a little too much?

Clearly the album spotlight is the 17 min In The Garden Of Eden, which is a great track if it was not plagued by lengthy solos but in this regard, I must say that they fare much better than Vanillla Fuge does in its side-long track on Near The Beginning or Love on their Da Capo album. Especially noteworthy for its lengthy drum solo, the tracks is not boring as the solos stays structured enough and do not lose focus either as do the other two examples I just gave you.

At the time, this album was groundbreaking (and therefore historically significant), today as with most of IB's albums, one can say it is a bit out-dated, but nothing to be ashamed of. However it always evaded me as why this album was so successful, and why people remember it so fondly almost 40 years after it came out (outside its obvious Doors influences on side 1): it sounds quite dated today and not really progressive - and this is coming from someone eternally stuck between 65 and 75 ;-) Nuff said!!

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This record is a real classic, wrapped inside a truly fabulous beatnik album covers. Alas the LP hidden inside doesn't contain the most interesting music in my opinion though. The long title track on the B- side is a good late 1960's composition, but its length is built up from a basic jamming passage clearly over timing the musical abilities of the players, and there are some really boring moments on this fill-the-LP-side marathon. The A-side is full of quite boring keyboard driven rock'n'roll cuts, so I must admit that this vinyl has gathered dust after I purchased it as a teen. Not my cup of early psychedelic tea.
Review by Chris H
5 stars There is nobody on this planet that has not heard or at least heard of the song "In-A- Gadda-Da-Vida", and there should be no musician that doesn't know the world's greatest and most recognizable guitar riff that goes along with it. Can you say groundbreaking? I sure put the words "groundbreaking" and "Iron Butterfly's second album" together in sentences a lot these days. But that doesn't mean you can write off Side 1, which is equally, if not more amazing.

Side 1 is really all about that late-60's psychedelic flare. "Most Anything You Want" is an excellent album opener, and the guitar and organ mixtures of sound create the perfect template for Doug to belt out his amazing (and unique) vocals. "Flowers and Beads" (as the title suggests) has more of a hippie flare to it, with less of that guitar edge that Eric Brann likes to add to things. Some nice lyrics, but without the edgy guitar tones there is nothing really special to be found in it. "My Mirage" brings the album back to life 1,000 times over however. The excellent chopped up, rough guitar work returns and creates a jaw-dropping background for Doug to step in and lay down some particularly eerie sounding vocal parts. "Termination" has the same musical style as its predecessor, what with the driving organ riffs and sludgy guitar. The lyrics are well-thought out, but since the whole song is just a balance of edges, musically speaking, the vocals don't flow as nice as they would on any other songs. "Are You Happy?" is undoubtedly one of the greatest psych-rock songs to ever come out of a speaker. The closer to Side 1, the fuzzy guitar banging and the organ stomping create and eccentric sound that I'm sure everybody was jamming to, and everybody still is. The music is just so incredibly infectious, it's almost impossible to do something with your time.

Side 2, the most famous side of an album ever released in rock history, is the crowning achievement of the Iron Butterfly's commercial success, even though it is far from their best song. Even though it isn't their best, there is not a single person out there that has picked up a guitar that can say they haven't been inspired by the riff from "In-A- Gadda-Da-Vida". This is also the first time on the album that we really hear the amazing drumming power of Ron Bushy, and the pounding bass of Lee Dorman. Not to mention, it is one of the very first side-long songs on a vinyl, very groundbreaking in both aspects!

There is really not much more to say that hasn't already been said. "In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida" is often looked at as the building block for all things psychedelic rock, but it is much more than that. Sure it is the psych-rock Bible, but it is also one of the most groundbreaking albums in rock n' roll history. Every rock fan must have this album in their collection, no two ways about it!

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars I found it quite amazing at the time that the rest of the songs on this record sound nothing like their big hit "In-a-Gadda- Da- Vida". None of the heaviness or the prolonged jamming can be found. Instead there is a very 60's organ dominated sound, much like THE DOORS at times.

This is especially true on the opening song "Most Anything You Want". The next song "Flowers And Beads" is as you might imagine a 60's sounding love song with background vocals. The next three songs are all of a similar sound to varying degrees.

The title track is a side long suite of over 17 minutes. Even the vocals sound different (deeper) on this song from the rest of the album. This is a heavy, progressive, psychedelic beauty with some good drumming and guitar work that come and go.This song saves this record from being a 2 star album in my opinion to a 3 star record. Although I can understand the 2 star ratings that have been given.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars In the beginning, even before Genesis....... (or Yes, or ELP or ..)

"In-a-gadda-da-vida" is the principal reason for Iron Butterfly being listed on this site. More specifically, it is the side long title track which contains the real prog interest. The song's title is taken from band member Doug Ingle's attempts to convey the intended "In the garden of Eden" title to his bandmates.

The 17 minute piece is driven along by a heavy Hammond organ sound, which both solos and provides the basis for some lengthy improvised guitar work. In a misguided fit of self-indulgence, the track is marred by an excruciatingly dull drum solo, eventually saved by the return of organ. It is though the place of this piece in the rock timeline, rather than the quality of the music, which gives it its significance. It must be remembered that this album was released in 1968, the same year as Procol Harum's "In held 'twas in I" ("Shine on brightly").

While "In-a-gadda-da-vida" is of epic length, the structure is that of an extended blues jam, rather than a prog classic. There is little if any variety in the pace, and the vocals are simply used to bookend the jam. There is no doubting the excitement and pioneering spirit of the track, but it now sounds decidedly dated and indulgent.

There has always been an element of dubiety as to whether the title track was on side one or side two of the album. My (for some reason which I cannot recall) Greek pressing of the album lists it as forming side two on the sleeve, but the label indicates it is side one. In any event, the other side of the album has five more orthodox early heavy rock songs. These tend to be in the vein of erstwhile fellow travellers Vanilla Fudge, based around a heavy beat and swimming in organ. Unlike Vanilla Fudge however, the songs here are original compositions.

There are strong pop overtones in "Flowers and beads" and "Termination", the latter having a highly appealing melody. "My mirage" is a rather dull piece of west coast rock, while "Most anything you want" is pleasant but forgettable.

Iron Butterfly inspired many bands who followed them. Their influences can be heard across a broad spectrum of acts including The Doors, Ten Years After, Uriah Heep and many more. It is that influence which dictates their place in the history of rock, rather than the variable quality of the actual product.

Review by The Whistler
4 stars On the one hand, it's easy to see why nobody followed the Iron Butterfly, and we had to rely on Led Zeppelin to create metal for us. They (the Butterflies, of course) were a bunch of sloppy musicians who were pretty much locked in the style of really heavy psychedelia. On the other hand...

...the Butterflies were a bunch of talented stoners from Hollywood who had a fairly unique style, and it's a crime that no one followed them! Maybe if they had, we'd be hearing "Flowers and Beads" on the radio instead of a whole lotta "Stairway to Heaven." Okay, that probably would never happen. Ever. But it's fun to dream, right?

This album proves that they were maturing artistically, and no, I don't just mean in the "side long tracks" department. Compare this with their debut album, and you'll notice that Gadda is a lot...heavier. In fact, this is easily the heaviest album of 1968. Which is, uh, AWESOME. But what about that talked about titular track? Well, it exists. And it's AWESOME too! But it's on the second side, which means we have to start with this whole "first side" nonsense; and (for me at least) the line is clearly drawn between the sweet and the sour.

We open with "Most Anything You Want," a surprisingly solid rocker. Dig those fuzzy guitar attacks that are honestly pretty unique, paired with Ingle's stately organ lines in the instrumental break. "Flowers and Beads" is also a very effective piece of psycho pop. Kinda odd following so bleedin' 'eavy with something so...well, flowers and beads. "My Mirage" is a solidly psychotic rocker, with the emphasis on "psycho" rather than "rocker." If anything sells it, it's Ingle's creepy, ethereal vocals and organ.

The final two numbers kinda let me down; "Terminator" has some trippy lyrics to be sure, but why are they sung with It's about people being slain by ancient Greek beasts...probably (think "Tales of Brave Ulysses," just upbeat and stupid). "Are You Happy" is certainly driving, and the back and forth riff is interesting, but it doesn't really go anywhere. Not that either of these songs are bad or anything; just kinda dull compared to the tight "Flowers" or the medieval "Most." Or what comes next...

So, the first side is a collection of good, if not necessarily fantastic songs. But clearly the centerpiece for the album, in fact, for the Butterflies' entire career, is the sidelong "Inna-Gadda-da-Vida." And you are a fool if you cannot see how truly great this song is.

Okay, not true. In fact, this is one of the rare cases where I totally agree with the "either love it or hate it" line. I honestly do not see how anyone at all could say that "Gadda" is..."just okay." It's not possible. It's so freaky and all encompassing, it has to be either the greatest song ever recorded, or twenty minutes of your life you'll never get back. Three guesses as to which side I'm on...

The "epic" gets underway with one of rock's most memorable and infamous riffs (please ignore that it sounds exactly like "Sunshine of Your Love"). Don't tell me that organ crescendo doesn't send shivers down your way or another. What follows is a bout of fairly headbangin' stuff. A trippy organ solo, a freaky guitar solo, a...drum solo? Fear naught! This drum solo is probably the best of its kind ever produced (and I HATE drum solos usually). See, most solos are either "look how hard/fast I can hit the kit" (see live Clive Bunker), or "look how technically skilled I am for five minutes (see live Barriemore Barlow). "Gadda" is neither; Ron Bushy plays a very slow, steady, rhythmic solo that sounds like it should get boring, but remains so unpretentious that it never gets on my nerves at all. Hell, it's even catchy! When was the last time you heard an honestly catchy drum solo? And it lasts, like, seventeen minutes or something!

Okay, not true. Eventually they turn the tune into a "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" organ shuffle, and then eventually we hit the main tune again (I love the organ feedback at the very end). Now, I don't give "Gadda" the nod for best song on the album for sheer infamy; it's a very solid tune that manages to twist and turn enough that it always stays fun. Not to mention that the drumming is smart (or at least solid), the guitar and organ and are interesting, and the bass is actually pretty good (some have suggested that Lee Dorman is the most capable member of the group).

Now, as much as I hate to admit it, in a realistic sort of way, put all this stuff up against prime Deep Purple and it will pretty much crumple up and die, simply because Purple was doing essentially the same thing, only with about an ounce more class and a ton more talent. The Butterflies are probably a more talented band than people realize (uh, on this album at least), but they're still hardly genuises. Actually, they're quite stupid; Ingle might be a solid organist, but he's hardly John Lord, and Erik Braan is certainly a unique guitarist, and perhaps even an underrated guitarist, but he's not Ritchie Blackmore (heh, who is?).

On the other hand, if you put everything aside (and perhaps keep in mind how these tunes are meant to be enjoyed (i.e., under what influence these songs were written/recorded)) and not take the Butterflies nearly as seriously as they take themselves, you will realize that this is catchy, this is heavy, this is cool damn it! Perhaps most amazing of all (even to me at first) was that the album is hardly a bunch of filler surrounding a single "classic." No. As I (hope I) said, the first side has its fair share of good material, so you won't be fast forwarding the album wondering when the hell that damn "Gadda's" gonna come on!

It is, of course, hardly a perfect album. That spot of filler and the lack or virtuoso playing will always hinder that (not to mention there's not an ounce of diversity). But is it an enjoyable album? Of course! Who said bands have to be good at their instruments to be enjoyable? I like Pink Floyd, don't you? Just sit down, shut up, crank the volume to eleven, and hope you don't have anything serious to do for the next half an hour. 'Cause you're gonna be air drumming.

(Now, I have to warn you; if you've never heard "Gadda" before, or if you're someone who is miraculously straddling the fence between love and hate, if you get the Inna-Gadda-da-Vida remaster, by the time you finish listening to it, you WILL love it or hate it one way or another. Guaranteed. There's but two bonus tracks tacked onto the end, and they're both "Gadda." The first bonus track is the live version of "Gadda" (from the album Live, coincidentally). The guitar soloing is different, the organ is not. The drumming is...chaotic, but in a good way. Dig the weirdo screaming in the middle (what's he saying? ...WHO is he?). All in all, not superior or inferior to the album version; on the one hand, I miss the studio's immaculate production, but I love the energy granted on stage. The next track is the single version of "Gadda," which is "Gadda" (duh), but with the various instrumental bits all cut out (again, no duh). Which is fun, of course, but utterly fails to catch the psychotic majesty of the song. So, if you've been listening since track one, that's THREE versions of "Gadda" you've heard, in a row, two of which have been WELL over the length of your standard pop rock song. See what I mean about loving or hating? I can't get enough, but, aside from the cool cover (watch 'em headbang!), there's no real reason to raise the rating.)

Review by stefro
4 stars Essentially, this album from proto-psychedelic San Diego flower-pop-metal-merchants Iron Butterfly is a showcase for possibly one of rock music's greatest ever moments, the 17-minute power-chord pumping, planet-sized, organ-grinding epic that is: IN-A-GADDA-DA- VIDA. Made at a time when musicians such as Pete Townshend and Dave Gilmour were experimenting with extending the pop-song beyond it's limited three-minute time-frame, IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA really does show a good-but-not-great pushing themselves and their music to the very edge of creativity, and, as a result, piecing together a truly astounding, jaw-droppingly awesome piece of music. The five other songs on this album all veer between jittery flower-pop and organ-dominated sludge rock, but none come even close to matching the power and panache of the albums longest. TERMINATION is a pretty yet slightly bland affair that relies far too heavily on lead-singer Doug Ingles voice, whilst FLOWERS AND BEADS is a murky hippy tune, beefed up with a hammy-yet-enjoyable guitar solo and featuring some very fey lyrics. Bar the title track, MOST ANYTHING YOU WANT is the best thing here, a kind of proggy, up-tempo rocker which combines organ and guitar to cunning effect. But this is an album with one reason to buy it, and that reason is track number six. If you haven;t heard it, where have you been? Hell? Buy it now! Then, tune in, turn on and drop out. Or words to that effect. Groove on!
Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A great time for music and this was another of those hallmark albums that received a cult following. However the music overall falls short in terms of quality and reminds me in many ways to " santa esmeralda" of the 70's, especially the title track 'In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida ', which is a whole 17 minutes. Don't get me wrong not bad music at all, it just did not raise the bar in etrms of overall quality especially side one which was decidely poor in parts. USA had better to offer for sure.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Iron Butterfly´s second album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a massive improvement over their debut album which was released earlier that same year. I think Heavy lacked in many places. It was overall a really imature effort. Something has happened with Iron Butterfly in that short time between those two albums ´cause In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a really good album.

The music is heavily organ driven psychadelic sixties rock. The first five songs are pretty basic rock tunes with Doug Ingle´s distinct and stoned vocals in the center. There are also some pretty good guitar playing here though just listen to the lick in Termination, the acoustic playing in My Mirage or the heavy fuzzy distortion in the trademark riff in In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. The organ is the lead instrument here though and I hear some The Doors influences here but weirdly enough also some church organ tendencies. It makes the organ playing a bit more exciting that there are psalm influences too IMO.

The titel song has to be mentioned specifically as it is a long jam song. It starts out with the heavy section with singing but soon turns into a psychadelic jam with guitar, organ, drum and bass soloing. It might seem a bit old fashion to those of us who weren´t there, but personally I find it pretty rewarding if I´m in the right mood. The song ends with the vocal section again. This song is a real sixties classic if there ever was one. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida has been covered by many bands throughout history but on a funny note I´ll mention one of the more special ones. Slayer the american extreme metal band made a cover of the song which worked pretty well. It´s just to show how many people was influenced by this music.

The musicians are competent and there are no sloppy playing as on the debut. Note that the bassist Lee Dorman would later play with Captain Beyond and even compose the music for that bands second album Sufficiently Breathless. Doug Ingle´s vocals are very distinct and I guess they are an aquired taste.

The sound quality is very good for the time. There is the typical sixties thing with mixing the different instruments in specific sides of the soundscape. I think it´s rather charming.

All in all this is a classic album from 1968. I can imagine the amount of drugs being consumed while listening to this. I´ll give it a 4 star rating, as I really enjoy this album and as it is a true classic.

Review by J-Man
3 stars Proof That Tastes Change Over Time

I'll never forget the day I first bought this about 5 years ago. I was really into hard and psychedelic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Beatles, The Doors, and Eric Clapton. I was just getting into symphonic progressive rock bands like Yes and Genesis, so I began exploring the world of progressive rock soon after.

I had heard the name Iron Butterfly tossed around, but one day on my classic rock station I had heard their most famous song "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". I really loved the heavy acid rock feel to it, so I went out and bought the album used at my local record store. When I first got home, I dropped the needle on side one of the album, and was immediately captivated. I really loved everything about the music. The melodies, the riffs, and the extensive use of the organ were all excellent. I especially loved hearing the extended version of the title track.

Well, times have changed. When I first came to ProgArchives, I was still praising In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. I gave it a 5 star review, but I was very liberal with my ratings back then. It's now over a year since my original review, and I must say this album doesn't really do anything for me anymore. While I really loved this album for a few years, my musical tastes have changed, and this album falls into the category of "albums I used to love".

Don't get me wrong: this is still a high quality album, and it's highly enjoyable. I just think it is not nearly as good I used to. Still, if you're looking for a great psychedelic rock album from the late 60's, this is a must-own. I don't find too much enjoyment from this anymore, but if you are getting into acid rock, this album is essential.


"Most Anything You Want"- The first song immediately captivated me. I really loved the happy mood set by the song, and the organ was great. Now I think it can get really repetitive and predictable, even if it contains solid riffs and melodies.

"Flowers and Beads"- This used to be a favorite of mine, but I really don't like it anymore. This is a typical psychedelic pop balled, with nothing special about it. This is far too predictable and formulaic for my liking. The melodies are very catchy, though.

"My Mirage"- This song really isn't memorable at all. While the previous songs had memorable melodies and harmonies, this song is one that I just can't remember. I do like the organ sections, and it stands out more than it does on other sections. This is one of the more progressive sounding songs of the album.

"Termination"- This is the only song on the album not written by Doug Ingle. This shows that the other musicians are capable as songwriters as well. This has solid riffing and great vocals.

"Are You Happy?"- This song, while it's not predictable like many of the others, isn't enjoyable for other reasons. The transitions are disjointed, even if this has some really great riffs. Parts of this can get a little annoying, though.

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"- This takes up the entire second side of this album, and it by far the highlight of the album. The section that opens the song is passable. It's just a repetitive riff with a good chorus thrown in there. This is followed by a lengthy guitar and organ solo. The drum solo is really enjoyable, and shows that Ron Bushy was way ahead of his time. This has a really cool section with a great drum beat and ominous organ chords. When the main riff enters, it really rocks. The ending to this song is conclusive and well-written.


In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a mixed bag of an album. The first side is mediocre, but the second side is great. This was really a revolutionary album when it was released, so I will put that into consideration with my rating. Since I don't listen to this album very often anymore, a 4 star rating is out of the question. Since this album was so ahead of its time, and this is generally high quality, a 2 is also out of the question. By default, I will go with a 3 star rating. I can fully understand why some people would rate it more, though. This is a great psychedelic rock album.

3 stars.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars There is a side full of short songs which can't be really considered as outstanding numbers of the rock music. It is fully in line with the psychedelic production of the late sixties. When you listen to these tracks today, there is hardly a possibility to be overwhelmed with Most Anything You Want or the childish Flowers And Beads.

The next My Mirage is a little better although it remains 100% in the same psyche mood: once you hear this track, you understand better why Mark I (Purple) were so successful in the US. I guess that they had listened to IB while writing their songs.

Are You Happy is also above average: it is a fine combination of real heavy sounds and crazy psychedelia. Drumming is top notch (some sort of hors d'oeuvre-but better IMO- for the monster track) and the strong bass offers a superb support for the guitar solo. It is my favourite song from side one.

Now; the title track. It is the reason why this album has sold in access of thirty (yes 30) million copies. Mostly in the US to be complete.

It is real heavy music, with an hypnotic bass riff for (almost) the whole length of the track. The other band members will come and play their own part accordingly. It was verya very popular track during surprise parties (les surboums) as Get Ready from Rare Earth. I write this because I remember a famous sequence during one of my first parties (in 70) while the DJ played I A Gadda Da Vida, Get Ready and the formidable Woodstock trilogy form Sly & The Family Stone : DanceThe Music - Music Lover - Want To Take You Higher. This was quite a treat, believe me.

To be honest, when I listen back to this song these days, my feeling is that it doesn't sound as great as in those times. The song (and the album) didn't pass the proof of time very well. Mainly the section of the drum solo sounds rather obsolete while the keys and the guitar sections are still capable of raising my emotion while listening to this legendary piece of music.

This is a landmark of rock history. Certainly worth five stars at the time of release. I would be more conservative now, but still respectful: three stars. A good album.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 01. Most Anything You Want The psychedelic flower power prevails in the disk, at the beginning lines of the guitar down and the ears are a highlight. The voice serious Ingle gives a different sensation. The weight of the song (we think in terms of order of 60's) is quite different.

02. Flowers And Beads This song is a beauty! Pull that beautiful music. It has all the air of psicodelia, but with a ravishing melody, the background vocals are so cool harmony. The choir at the end is very beautiful.

03. My Mirage The timbre of organ and the conventions of the band early in the cases are part. The riff of the music itself is a psychedelic groove invoked. Recalled in some passages from some guitar sounds of Janis Joplin. But the body is the charm of the band, it means a touch ... let me see, (we never thought it would be so difficult to explain something laughs).

04. Termination Riffezão (there exists such words!) The posts, the band was based largely on them. But the big balcony of the song is a change of pace there by the end of it, with a beautiful fingering the guitar and with some 'background noise'.

05. Are You Happy The introduction is spoken, the various riffs and low, are sensational, the backing vocals, the 60's more alive than ever, I am not surprised that the disc has sold well. The half forward changes everything, and everything ground to battery. Final dry as many songs.

06. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida Long and short with the letter! That would say a lot. Because as they say there, entendedor it means, just half word! The Riff reminds me a lot of Sunshine Of Your Love Cream (if I am not mistaken, 1967, a year before), as I said long and short letter, which already makes us understand that is an act of self- indulgence and a lot of improvisation, as it is almost all improvised, including soils of all members. The battery in the beginning of the ground reminds me of Ringo at Abbey Road. And after much doidera back to the beginning as if nothing had happened. Êê 60s saw!

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars It's questionable whether Iron Butterfly had any actual effect on the progressive rock movement of the '70s, still In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a landmark in its own right no mater the connection.

After hearing quite mixed opinions of this album I honestly didn't know what to expect of it. One thing that I definitely had in the back of my head was that this must be one psychedelic piece of work. It turned out not to be the case since In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was far from a trippy experience I originally had anticipated since only side two can be considered truly psychedelic.

Side one consists mostly of rather typical rock tunes from the late '60s. But that doesn't mean all of it is bad, in fact most of these tracks are really catchy and enjoyable. I realize that Flowers And Beads has been criticized in the previous review but that won't stop me from proclaiming it as my favorite off this release. Are You Happy? would be a runner-up for that title.

I wasn't actually that impressed by the notorious title track. The main theme is quite ingenious but there isn't much else beyond that here and stretching out the composition to a 17-minute mark makes it overstay its welcome. All we really get is a bunch of solos which make me think of those live performances of Free Bird that Lynyrd Skynyrd have been famous for back in the day.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is an album that might be important from a historical point of view but the material here isn't all that exciting once you begin dissecting it for any prog references.

***** star songs: Flowers And Beads (3:09)

**** star songs: Most Anything You Want (3:44) Termination (2:53) Are You Happy? (4:29) In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:05)

*** star songs: My Mirage (4:55)

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is some kind of a mandatory stop on a journey through rock history. But if you'd expect it to consist of 6 tracks with stunning riffs and proto-metal power, you will find yourself deeply disappointed.

Most of this album is fairly typical 60's heavy psych blues-rock, with some jaunty Doors-organs and eastern-tinged guitars. Most Anything You Want even has an organ melody that comes right from The Doors' Light My Fire. But the quality of the song material sure isn't as strong. My Mirage and Are You Happy are quite fun though.

In A Gadda Da Vida is the focal point here, a track that needs no introduction, a fat rollicking psychedelic blues groove with heavy commanding vocals. You couldn't get more metal then this in 1968. It's followed by a mind-expanding 10 minute jam session, complete with eerie organ solos, creepy guitar sounds and even a drum solo that will set you off searching for that last stash of pot that might make this listenable. In other words, essential.

This is a nice album. It has only 5 stunning minutes but the remainder sure warrants an overall 3 stars.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The real one hit wonders

Never understood all the scandal made around IRON BUTTERFLY, yes they were a good band (not one of the best in the late 60's when the musical scenario was full of real genius), but they are not remotely an innovative or experimental band in 1968. Albums like "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown", "Procol Harum", "The Soft Machine"or even the poppy "Days of Future Passed were miles ahead of IRON BUTTERFLY in imagination and development of Rock.

It's undeniable that "Doug Ingle" is a very good organ player, but the music is mostly Acid Psychedelia with a powerful Hammond organ a lot of jamming and nothing more. Most of the tracks sound like a less versatile version of GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, because at least Mark Farner and company had the imagination that IRON BUTTERFLY lacks..

The sad thing is that when a child I considered them as the "Non Plus Ultra", but the magic is gone, listening the 36.35 minutes of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"in 2010 was almost a torture, at least until the title song reached, a track that we have to recognize is an icon off the 60's, even when the organ solo is very repetitive and excessively long.

That famous Hammond solo of the epic was a glorious moment in 1968 and marked an era, but four decades have passed and the song hasn't aged well, to the point that I didn't even listened the live version of the classic because once was enough.

Some albums are written in such way that time doesn't pass for them, but "In-A-Gadda-Da- Vida" is not one of this cases, can't rate it with less than two stars because of it's historical value, but can only recommend it to guys obsessed with the "Flower Power" generation.

EDIT: Listened the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" live version that comes as bonus track in my disk, and must say that sounds much better than the original, but still not enough to grant an extra star.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is a very famous album, the band's most well known but not necessarily their best. I think the debut Heavy is both better and more proto-proggy. The first two songs, "Most Anything You Want" and "Flowers & Beads", are pretty much straight forward mid-60s pop/rock. Not very psychedelic at all. In fact, these two songs sound more like something from 1966 rather than 1968.

"My Mirage" has nice rolls on the tom-toms at the beginning. Then it goes into an almost reggae sound during the verses. Then Byrds-like harmony vocals during the chorus. More great tom-tom rolls at the end. "Termination" starts with very fuzzy guitar. Has Turtles-like harmony vocals in the verses. Nice guitar playing in the chorus. Great part at the end with wine glasses(?), organ and guitar arpeggio. The organ at the beginning of "Are You Happy?" sounds Canterburian. The song changes halfway through with some great drumming. Then a good guitar solo.

The title track is one of the first songs to fill one side of vinyl. After this album there seemed to be a never ending supply of songs over 15 minutes long. It's the least dated track here but still clearly anchored to it's era. The riff is a classic of course. It starts out as a basic verse/chorus song then goes into three different solo sections. First an organ solo, then a guitar solo, then a great drum solo. This is one of the better drum solos in an era full of them. Almost Floyd-like organ after 9 minutes. Later goes into Jon Lord/Emerson style organ playing. Some freaky guitar noises. Back to more Lord/Emerson organ playing. Then main riff appears again. After 13 minutes great drums and a bass solo. More Floyd-like organ. After 15 minutes the main riff comes back and vocals return.

The title track is one of the best songs from the 1960s but the whole album has not aged well at all. A very popular album but I don't know how influential this really was, apart from the length of the title track. Nothing essential but still a good album. 3 stars.

Review by friso
3 stars Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)

The music of Iron Butterfly in this stadium can be described as heavy psychedelic blues rock influenced proto-prog rock with some melodic organ sounds (father used to play in church style), fuzz-distorted guitar and typical sixties anti-stylish American pop styled vocals. The riff of the title track remains a well-known aspect of the classic rock repertoire. Perhaps the music would have sounded a bit like The Doors with a different vocalist and a less heavy approach.

On side one Iron Butterfly showcases some of their song-writing. Often the songs have a heavy guitar riff, melodic organ chord progressions and some distorted melodies. The vocals of Doug Ingle are quite funny, as his vocal approach has dated terribly. The multi-vocal arrangements are however good and at times even harmonically challenging. On some songs the band succeeds in amazing me, like the pleasant melodic 'Mirage' and the out-of-control psychedelics of 'Are you Happy?'. On side two we get to listen to the extended version of the title track. The opening section is of course sort of legendary, though not too brilliant. The eastern influences in the refrain are however quite impressing and main riff remains classy. The long solo's on fuzz guitar are very nice if you like sixties reverb rock and of course we are treated with a drumsolo with an emphasis on phase shifting (never get tired of that...). The comeback of the band with the church-style organ of Doug Ingle is nice.

Conclusion. This is a good record, especially for '68. The recording amazed me a bit, it has a lot of high but the overall range and thickness of the sound is great! The band really sounds heavy at times. I'd say this is proto-prog that most of us will learn to like over time and I can give it three and a halve stars. Ad the fourth star yourself if you are interested in development of the genre or sixties psychedelic rock in general.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Psychedelic Treasure.

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is the essential psychedelic album and a soundtrack for hippies tripping out with LSD; tune in, turn on and drop out as Timothy Leary said. It is noteable of course for the epic title track but there are other songs to boost this to a classic status. 'Most Anything You want' has a sound like The Doors and those mono low vocals of keyboardist Doug Ingle. The psychedelic sound is augmented by Erik Brann's fuzz guitar, and the rhythmic of Lee Dorman's bass, and Ron Bushy's drums. 'Flowers and Beads' is a shocker, best forgotten and a product of its time, with very corny lyrics about a flower girl; "I love you and I need you in my lifetime". After this is 'My Mirage', a better song with great harmonies and some interesting musicianship sounding a bit like Vanilla Fudge. 'Termination' is next and has a good little grungy riff and some time sig changes, innovative lead breaks and consequently is much better than the other songs on side one. 'Are You Happy?' is the last track on side one and is a real belter with sludgy guitar and organ that sounds like Ray Manzarek's style. None of these tracks really prepare the listener for the onslaught of side two's magnificent psychedelic opus.

'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' has a killer riff that hypnotises and features perhaps the first extended drum solo. It devoured a whole side of vinyl and not many bands were doing that in 1968. Iron Butterfly were ground breaking in many respects. The LSD lights of the show would pulsate while the band tripped out to freak outs of organ and fuzz guitar solos. I have heard many live versions of this, a Sweden 1971 performance which was introduced by Doug Ingle as "to a lot of people it's been a way of life, the garden of life" and recently in 1999 the band performed it in an outdoor stadium. I believe the band never stopped performing it as it became quintessential to their repertoire. It was mostly improvised and the band originally were to call it "In the Garden of Eden" but try saying that when you are drunk, thus it developed into the iconic nonsense of 'In-a-Gadda-da-Vida'. The lyrics were simple about walking in Eden with a lover and the plea of every flower child "Oh won't you come with me, and walk this land? Please take my hand." The freedom of walking naked in paradise among the trees and flowers with a lover is of course the dream of the psych generation. It was an untouchable dream but it led to the dream of Woodstock, Haight Ashbury, and Monterey among other significant counter culture events.

The song is really a blaster for getting smashed to of course but still has musical merit. Erik Brann's main riff that is revered in the annals of rock is a simple double riff that is merged together and works brilliantly, reminiscent of Cream's 'Sunshine of your Love' riff. Then leading to the second part Brann plays 16 notes in one bar and this then leads to 3 bar chords. Simple, but it blew the minds of the psychedelic flower power generation and every guitarist wanted to learn the riff. The keyboard consists of a bombastic grinding organ by Ingle. Then there is the elongated guitar solo with wah-wah and fuzz effects, leading to Ron Bushy's manic tribalistic drum solo. Later he is joined by some cathedral organ runs, sounding improvised, then there is a tune of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' on organ, some scratching guitar string echoes, and Lee Dorman's bass locks back into a variation of the main riff, and then the fuzz guitar launches into a searing lead solo back to the riff, another tribal drum solo, a pulsating bassline, sustained organ sounding Arabian cranks back in, creepy guitar scratches, a hypnotic motif is then overpowered by the main riff again, guitars join in "3,4," and after another verse and chorus it ends, thus rock history is made. It takes some patience to sit through the whole 17 minutes, but it is so essential to rock music that it is a crime to edit it, though it has been available as an edited version for good reason.

Iron Butterfly are mainly noted for the title track and are perhaps one hit wonders in that respect but there is no denying the influence of this album, it even paved the way not only to prog but heavy metal way back in the late 60s. That is commendable and makes this an essential listen.

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars Iron Butterfly's 1968 chestnut is a regular feature on all those lists of the 1000 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. I've been avoiding it for decades, hoping I might live forever.

No such luck, regrettably. I finally caught up to it after 40-plus years, and while I'm not prepared to kick the bucket just yet, my life expectancy was certainly shortened by at least the 36-minutes it took to play the album start to finish.

Let's address the obvious first. Side One is worthless: six songs of lightweight flotsam from the Summer of Love. And as someone who came of age not too far from the corner of Haight and Ashbury (albeit too late for the 1960s), I'd say the groovy pop fodder of "Flowers and Beads" and "My Mirage" was probably considered lame even by the kaleidoscopic standards of the time.

The side-long title track is, however, a different trip altogether, in a quasi-historical but now wildly dated way. On a personal note it's impossible for me to hear it without being reminded of THE RESIDENTS and their tongue-in-cheek demolition of the song on their "Third Reich and Roll" album (alongside many other easily targeted musical icons of the era). A 17-minute rock song was probably considered daring for its day, although to be frank a lot of that total length was padding: the drum solo, for starters.

But it remains emblematic of a time when popular culture was testing its boundaries, providing a valuable clue to where psychedelic music was heading before Progressive Rock restored some much needed structure to a very attractive but often undisciplined chaos. And of course the song introduced what would soon become one of the most familiar riffs in modern music history: played, replayed, and parodied for almost half a century now.

In retrospect there's a goofy innocence to the album extending beyond it obvious nostalgia value. You can hear it throughout the shorter songs in particular, but also in the charming notion that at one time this music was in any way considered 'heavy'. Maybe you just had to be there.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars Any progger under the age of 35 is bound to be muttering to themselves about now, "Oh, great! Another old fart's about to tell me how good some antiquated, dated album is just because it heralds from his 'good ol' days.'" I hear you. I promise I won't talk down or be at all patronizing. My aim is to put this historic album in perspective, not glorify it as some masterpiece of progressive rock. It ain't a Rembrandt but it is highly significant. Especially in light of what American bands were putting out there in the 60s, trying to compete with the unending stream of invigorating rock music flowing in from the UK. Our brand of prog rock seemed to be mired in manufacturing psychedelic-laden pop songs via groups sporting weird names like Strawberry Alarm Clock and Electric Prunes. When it came to extended album cuts with something new to present, The Doors pretty much stood alone on this side of the pond. Then, right at the start of the famous "summer of love" in June of '68, Iron Butterfly released "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" and we hungry teens swarmed all over it like gnats on sugar. Everything about it was cool from the colorful on-stage cover shot to the lengthy title cut that was custom-made for the exciting, anti-pop FM radio stations that were blossoming like spring wildflowers. No one else (state-side, at least) was doing what these guys were doing and it was exhilarating to hear something so radical and blatantly un-commercial emanating from the home of the brave.

Their debut had appeared in the bins earlier that same year (it stood out because of its eye-catching cover art) but the music was pedestrian and average at best. The band that recorded that disc had a different lineup but, as was the case with many groups, internal strife intervened so when it came time to go back to the studio only two of the original members were left; organist/singer Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy. They recruited a reliable bass player, Lee Dorman, and a baby-faced, talented 17-year-old guitarist, Erik Braunn, and the quartet clicked right away. There's no doubt they knew they could make a decent album together but no one could've predicted what a phenomenon their sophomore effort would turn out to be. Sometimes the planets align in your favor and you find yourself in exactly the right place at precisely the right time with material that fits the social climate perfectly and that's what happened to Iron Butterfly when "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" hit the airwaves. It exploded.

Now, having said all that, if side 1 of the disc was anywhere near as good as the namesake track that took up all of side 2 today it might be hovering around in the upper reaches of the ProgArchives album chart. But side 1 is very uneven. They open with the psychedelic pop of "Most Anything You Want," a song with an inescapable Haight-Ashbury aroma. One thing that does stick out is Braunn's guitar solo for its melodic structure when a lot of his west coast contemporaries sounded like they'd never played a ride in their lives. It's the tinny Farfisa or Vox organ that's the main culprit in making the track come off as horribly passé and corny. "Flowers and Beads" is every bit as cheesy as its title implies. It's one of those trendy contemporary rock ditties formed in the same mold as the ones from the trite bands I mentioned earlier. I'm sure some clueless A&R dude at Atlantic Records deemed it to be a surefire hit single because it was "what those crazy hippies are into" but it's held up about as well as that nerd's paisley Nehru jacket. "My Mirage" is a step up. It's a trippy but subtle acid rock tune that sounded as complex as Aaron Copland if one was under the influence of an illicit substance yet it still retains a certain prog charm due to its unorthodox arrangement of creative ideas. Newcomers Dorman and Braunn co-wrote "Termination," a straightforward rocker that owns an inviting rhythm but the song is so stereotypical that it's impossible to sit through it without picturing in your head half-naked flower children cavorting in a field of pink poppies. Erik's guitar work is admirably restrained, though. The much heavier motif of Ingle's "Are You Happy" was very attractive to we frustrated rebels who cranked it up and were happily nailed to the wall by its aggressive nature. It's one of those songs that, if your garage combo could master it, proved your moxie. In some ways those of us who'd discovered the magic of Pink Floyd's "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" LP felt that Iron Butterfly's adventurous mien had the potential to be their western hemisphere equivalent and this track was one of the ones that encouraged that faint hope.

Side two is the main event. I can only speak from the experience of being there when it happened but the first time I heard "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" I was galvanized by its hip strangeness from its mysterious organ intro to the fuzzy guitar tone and the infectious beat. No matter what you may think of it, the quality of the musicianship involved is of the highest order and shouldn't be downplayed. So much has been written about this epic that I'll forgo my usual blow-by-blow description and put it into terms that most can relate to no matter their age. Timing-wise this song was ideal because it was circa '68 that marijuana was gaining wider acceptance in the heartland so many teens were trying it for the first time with this LP as the soundtrack. If the joint was lit at the start of this song one would start to get a buzz about the time that Ron's drum solo commenced. Everyone in the room would turn into an "air drummer" at the same moment and the wow factor associated with the tune would skyrocket. (Amateur drummers up to then were judged by their ability to play "Wipe Out." From now on it was Bushy's solo that separated the real stickmen from the pretenders.) After that flurry of activity passed Doug's airy decompression movement on the organ provided the requisite "mellowing out" sequence before the iconic riff was revived. Erik's guitar scratches and yelps freaked out the inexperienced toker but for most they were a cause for grins. The bass & drum tribal interlude upped the intensity for a while, then the band's seamless transition back to the indelible verse was smooth and reassuring. What I'm trying to point out is that "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was an experience, a rite of passage if you will, that ranked up there with the offerings of Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Pink Floyd. It packaged all the sensory overloading changes that were going on in every corner of North American culture in a 17-minute aural excursion and that's why it's so special.

If you think I'm exaggerating the impact this album had then consider these facts: It raced up to #4 on the LP charts, it sold over 4 million copies in the first 6 months, it remained on the charts for 140 weeks and for 81 of those weeks it was perched in the top 10! As of 2012 total sales of individual units of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" are in the area of 25 million worldwide so its appeal is not only well-documented but universal in scope. Am I calling it a prog masterpiece? No way. It served its purpose with class and style and then we all moved on to bigger and better things in Progland. But, like some sacred relic of a bygone era, it deserves to be treated with respect. 3.8 stars.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Call me a philistine, but I actually think the first side of Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida is better than the side-long title track. The brace of heavy psych numbers (reminiscent of Love and, occasionally, the wilder moments of the Doors) the album opens with benefit from tight songwriting and an absence of filler (and tedious drum solos) that the second side can't boast. Although side-long songs would end up becoming a tradition for prog and the proggier end of heavy psych, this early example of the form fails to satisfy because the fact is that it's a three-minute psych number padded out with 14 minutes of filler and redundant repetition. Still, at least side A is alright.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Flowers and Beads

1968 was a pretty tasty year on the coast and an early peak for Iron Butterfly, an acid-rock band with a pleasantly cheesy streak. This was an album I truly did discover by rifling through my older siblings LPs and deciding I needed to "borrow" this strange titled disc. Even back in the 70s I recognized that the band felt dated and as I got older it seemed everyone liked to ridicule this album despite professing some level of affinity for it. I join with a minority of my fellow reviewers in preferring the short tracks on side one to the legendary behemoth of side two.

While the music within was nothing new by '68 and the writing less exciting than something like "Piper at the Gates", In-A-Gadda is a fine album and one that I enjoy as much today as anything by the Doors for whom they are so often compared. And while Butterfly never had the luxury of an explosive Jim Morrison at center stage, in my opinion their musicians are just as interesting. Ingle's organ sound and playing have a sinister vibe and depth to them, very cool, his playing holds my attention far more than Manzarek's endless repetitions. Erik Brann is a cool guitarist with a penchant for melodic lines and crisp, biting chord strums. Side one's short tracks are an interesting slice of psych-pop with a great period organ sound that should please any fan of the genre. Side two has some glorious moments as well, but suffers somewhat from the fact that about 10 minutes of cool music are stretched a bit much at 17 minutes. Yet its dramatic forays play out like music for an exploration, with big riffs and over-the-top organ, strange Syd-inspired screeches, effective near-silence, and even a drum solo. If you got the time, why not? Turn out the lights, kick back, and time travel back to the good days.

An easy recommendation to fans of 60s psych rock and organ rock. There is plenty of fun here if you don't take things too seriously.

Review by Rivertree
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars I can remember quite well. When I was young, yeah a teen, looooong time ago, the band's trademark In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida touched me in a very special way. What a relief! I once accidentally caught the more energetic live version with a cassette recorder from a radio broadcast. And then it accompanied me for just a long time. What I'm writing about now exactly is the 1995 remastered version of this album. First of all, fantastic sound quality, no question! What makes this truly essential though is the decision to append the band's inspired stage rendition, taken from their first live effort, originally published two years later.

By the way, keyboarder Doug Ingle actually wanted to name the song 'In The Garden Of Eden'. But, while announcing this to his band mates, he failed in a remarkable manner regarding a clear pronunciation, for what reason ever :-) ... anyway, they took him by his word in the end. The atmosphere is priceless, hippie-esque, also the band's interaction with the audiance, guitarist Erik Brann driving crazy in between, and the must-have drum solo provided by Ron Bushy. Eh, Ingle's sacral and melancholic organ often enough managed to bring tears to my eyes. They are excellently jamming around the main theme, including extensive solo activity, similar to Rare Earth's 'Get Ready' if you will.

The other songs, for me, are having a rough ride, are not more than a proper accessory. Okay, don't want to be unfair, we have to consider the recording times, which were dominated by a transition from pop, blues and jazz towards a new dimension. Thus here we have typical proto prog stuff featuring some Beatles, Vanilla Fudge and Jefferson Airplane references. Due to the new enhanced and remastered outfit this album runs essential anyway. And the band even recorded more than a one-hit-wonder. I would also count the beautiful 'Butterfly Blue' in, featuring new guitarist Mike Pinera and his talk box wizardry. But that's another cup of tea.

Latest members reviews

4 stars When my older brother brought this album home in 1968, I was a nerdy 11-year-old just starting to get interested in rock and roll. I really liked the shorter songs on the first side of the album even though they were a bit heavier than I was used to, and had a vocalist sounding like Tom Jones(! ... (read more)

Report this review (#3030079) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Friday, March 15, 2024 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Acidic hard-rock lovesongs! The sound of the Iron Butterfly is some mixture of The Doors and Vannilla Fudge. The sound is acidic and sharp. The guitar is heavy distorted, but still playes lot of melodic solo's. The keyboard sounds a bit to sharp for me and the vocals are nice, but the lyrics ... (read more)

Report this review (#667501) | Posted by the philosopher | Monday, March 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I gather that this album is considered to be some kind of a classic. At least it sold millions back in the day. Well, for me this album is classic only because of the title song. And even In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida drags on a bit too much. The whole album is strangely divided in two very different parts. ... (read more)

Report this review (#230319) | Posted by nikow | Friday, August 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Yes, the last track (all of the B side, 17 minutes) is great. But the 5 tracks on the first side are totally bad, horrible. Yes, the album was released 40 years ago (this year, it's its 40th anniversary, champagne !), but it sounds very oldy now, especially Termination, Are You Happy (not me whe ... (read more)

Report this review (#164687) | Posted by Zardoz | Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Incredibly album. A drug album. two simply sentences for In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida description. Sure a torrid album for my level of musical knowledge. Sure the music of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida isn't comparable with Van Beethoven, Strauss, Verdi, Wagner because is a simply Rock but in every case is really ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#156528) | Posted by Sole | Tuesday, December 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Well... From the first second of this CD I have a contrastant impressions. Good but not perfect. "Are You Happy'" and the long titletrack "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" are two 5 stars songs. But the other? Good, only good, today. Certainly the organ are the winning element and the drums solo in "In-A-Gad ... (read more)

Report this review (#132815) | Posted by Ely78 | Sunday, August 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Whta can I say? This album is essential. It's a mastepiece. The combination of heavy riffs and psychedelic fellng. Lot's of keybords and guitars and above them a strong voice. Just 6 songs. Catchy moments like My Mirage and psychedelic Most Anything That You Want. But it all doesn't matter. The i ... (read more)

Report this review (#116299) | Posted by Deepslumber | Saturday, March 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Iron Butterfly's biggest achievement. First half offers a a nice set of pure flower power rock tunes. All good songs with 'Flowers And Beads' being the most pop oriented while 'My Mirage' is something I could (for some reason) imagine a grunge band like Alice In Chains covering. Of course ... (read more)

Report this review (#89705) | Posted by Jimsey | Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you have seriously listened side one of this album and continue to listen to it as much as side two, then there is something really wrong with you! "Termination" is a nice breath of fresh-air from Ingle's copy-catting-Door's-like approach to psychedelia, but that's it! Nope, sorry guys b ... (read more)

Report this review (#72916) | Posted by marktheshark | Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I really find this album kinda boring, I can see some proto-prog qualities but it is more psychedelic than prog. The epic track sounds like a lot of filler, it is mainly a jam session. The members of Iron Butterfly are quite talented but I don't feel the direction of this album and IMO it la ... (read more)

Report this review (#71921) | Posted by video vertigo | Wednesday, March 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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