The original Iron Butterfly, their final performance

Screen Shot 2014-11-15 at 1.27.58 PMOne of the most famous, if not one of the best rock bands from the 1960’s was Iron Butterfly, and their biggest hit was “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida“, a 17+ minute jam session. The performance included vocals and keyboard by Doug Ingle, Ron Bushy on drums, Lee Dorman on bass and vocals, and Erik Braunn on guitar and vocals.  The song was noted for being so long that it took the entire side of an LP album, and for being a transition from “psychedelic rock” to “heavy metal”.  It was also the first to have a drum solo as part of the flow of music from the vocals and keyboard at the beginning and end, through the guitar- and bass-centric pieces between.  A little-known bit of trivia, back in the days before automated radio stations there were people called “disk jockeys” who selected the songs to be played and “cued up” songs on turntables that they switched between to transition songs.  “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was a well-known “bathroom break” song, because a DJ that needed a break could cue up this song to play, and know that they had at least 15 minutes before they needed to be back at the control to kick off the next song.  This song, along with the live recording of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, and the live album version of Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” were often-requested songs, but seldom played, and if you heard one of them, you could bet that the DJ needed to be away from the console for a little bit.

This performance was recorded in May 2012, just a few months before bassist Lee Dorman passed away.  He was found in December of 2012 in his car, he died of natural causes likely on his way to a doctor’s appointment.  He was 70 years old.  I personally love the fact that even after all the years between the original recording and this performance, the men could still bring their best to this piece, to an appreciative audience.

Enjoy these men in their final performance together, as the effortlessly lay down “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” one last time.

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