Iron Butterfly’s Doug Ingle dead at 78; co-wrote and sang “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

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Doug Ingle, who founded the proto-hard rock/heavy metal band Iron Butterfly and co-wrote and sang their signature song, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” has died. He was 78.

“It’’ with a heavy heart & great sadness to announce the passing of my Father Doug Ingle,” Ingle’s son Doug Ingle Jr. wrote in a Facebook post. “Dad passed away peacefully this evening in the presence of family. Thank You Dad for being a father, teacher and friend. Cherished loving memories I will carry the rest of my days moving forward in this journey of life. Love you Dad.”

Ingle was the last surviving member of Iron Butterfly’s most famous lineup. Drummer Ron Bushy, bassist Lee Dornan and guitarist Erik Brann died in 2021, 2012 and 2003, respectively.

The band’s second album, 1968’s In A-Gadda-Da-Vida, featured the legendary title track, a 17-minute composition that took up the entire second side of the album. The title is a misheard version of the phrase “in the Garden of Eden.” When Ingle first played it for Bushy, he was so drunk that he slurred the words, so Bushy wrote them down incorrectly.

An edited, three-minute version of the song reached #30 on the Billboard Hot 100, while the album itself peaked at #4, and sold eight million copies in its first year alone. It went on to sell 30 million copies.

Iron Butterfly broke up in 1971, but Ingle was involved with various iterations of the band over the subsequent decades. He retired from performing in 1999.

As Variety notes, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” has become part of pop culture, having appeared in the Michael Mann film Manhunter and an episode of The Simpsons. It was also covered and sampled by artists including Slayer and Nas.

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