One Hit Wonder: Iron Butterfly (1968)

Single: Iron Butterfly
Album: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
B-side: Iron Butterfly Theme"
Released: June 14, 1968 (album)
Released: July 31, 1968 (single)
Genre: Acid rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, occult rock
Songwriter: Doug Ingle

Iron Butterfly released the single "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" from their 1968 album of the same name. At over 17 minutes, it occupies the entire second side of the LP. The middle of the song features a two-and-a-half-minute Ron Bushy drum solo. 

A 2-minute-52-second 45-rpm version of the track was Iron Butterfly's only song to reach the top 40. The album reached number four on Billboard's Top 200 chart and sold over 30 million copies. VH1 ranked the track 19th on the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders list.

In the Garden of Eden

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is arguably the
most notorious song of the acid rock era.
Allmusic review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Ron Bushy, drummer for Iron Butterly

Iron Butterfly's organist-vocalist Doug Ingle wrote "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" while drunk on cheap wine. When the inebriated Ingle played the song for drummer Ron Bushy, he slurred his words. "In the Garden of Eden" became "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" when Bushy wrote it down. Their record company liked the title because it sounded exotic. Eastern spirituality was big then. 

Iron Butterfly

The band recorded what they thought was a soundcheck for the sound engineer, Don Casale while waiting for the record producer to arrive. The band kept jamming, and Casale kept the tape rolling. After the rehearsal, they agreed that another take wasn't needed.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was the first hit song classified as "heavy metal."  In 2009,  VH1 named it the 24th-greatest hard rock song ever. The track was one of the first heavy metal music hits. In an album review for Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote:

"('In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida')... is the epitome of heavy psychedelic excess, encapsulating the most indulgent tendencies of the era. Iron Butterfly never matched the warped excesses of 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,' either on their debut album of the same name or the rest of their catalog.

Bart Sells His Soul

The song featured in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, "Bart Sells His Soul." Bart Simpson tricks Reverend Lovejoy's church into singing the song as an opening hymn by handing out sheet music titled "In the Garden of Eden" by "I. Ron Butterfly." 

Lovejoy says it sounds like rock and/or roll. Homer remembers when he and Marge "used to make out to this hymn." The church organist, an elderly woman, collapses after playing the entire seventeen minutes.


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