Essential Atlantic: Iron Butterfly, IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA
For the next several weeks (or maybe just until we decide that we want to stop doing it, since normalcy seems likely to remain on hiatus for the foreseeable future), Rhino.com will be spotlighting an album from the Atlantic Records discography that qualifies as âEssential.â And what rigorous standards and/or mathematical algorithm did we use to come up with the criteria to define âEssential,â you ask? None at all. Youâll just have to trust our instincts. But theyâre really good, we swear...
Some have described this albumâs title track as proto-metal, while others have referred to it as heavy psychedelic excess, but no matter what you call it, Iron Butterflyâs âIn-A-Gadda-Da-Vidaâ is one of the defining songs of the late â60s, an epic-length track that spanned the entire second side of the album that shares its name. Written â like four of the albumâs other five songs â by the bandâs lead singer, Doug Ingle, the tune was edited down from its original 17:05 length to a more radio-friendly 2:53 single version and climbed all the way to #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album, however, made it to #4 on the Billboard Top 200, and itâs gone platinum four times over at this point.
Here are two things that may surprise you about this album:
1. It wasnât the bandâs first LP. That honor went to HEAVY, which was released earlier in the year, and topped out at #78, with neither of its singles (âDonât Look Down on Meâ and âUnconscious Powerâ cracking the charts.
2. BALL, the bandâs follow-up to IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA, actually charted higher than its predecessor, hitting #3, but it soon began a descent that led to the LP only going gold.
But getting back to IN-A-GADDA-DA-VIDA, itâs definitely not an album for all tastes, but itâs one thatâs a sonic time capsule of just how wild popular music could be in the late â60s, and itâs a must-hear for any music fan, just so you can know what the kids were listening to at the time. Itâs wild, man!
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