Iron Butterfly


Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida ©1968 Rhino
1. Most Anything You Want
2. Flowers And Beads
3. My Mirage
4. Termination
5. Are You Happy
6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
7. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Live Version)
8. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Single Version)

You gotta give a round of applause to Iron Butterfly - they know which end is up. Three versions of the infamous, immortal “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” on the same official release…and the album itself is entitled In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida so it’s obvious which album is the one you want to buy. Hot damn tamale.

For the uninitiated, Iron Butterfly is/was the quintessential heavy metal band from the 1960’s. They fulfilled every stereotype: long hair, lots of drugs, freaky clothes, fuzzed-out guitars, lots of drugs, an organ, badly produced “pitta-patta” sound from the drums, lots of drugs, and long-ass solos from hell. Did I mention lots of drugs? Their best and most famous song, the somewhat mysteriously titled “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” (actually the result of a fortuitous error - the singer was trying to sing “In the garden of Eden” on the demo but was so high he couldn’t speak properly; however, the band liked it and kept the error in the final version), has long been an object of both admiration and revulsion. It’s a hell of a tune with a killer riff…and the band had the shameless self-confidence to drag it out to over eighteen minutes in length.

Thankfully, the edited single version also appears on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, thereby making the listener shell out cash for only one Iron Butterfly album while still being able to choose from the long-winded studio original, the concise (2:50) single edit or, as an extra bonus, the live version. The live version’s tempo is faster and it’s a bit more lively…but with three versions of the same song in a row, two of them being eighteen-plus minutes long, this approaches the point of too much of a good thing. But this is forgivable because aside from the nifty moving-picture cover art, there’s really not much other reason to own the album. The other songs on the album are decent…but they serve better as period pieces than as viable listening material unless you’re a fan from way back.

In short, if you’re going to buy any Iron Butterfly album, buy this one. It has all of their music that you’ll most likely ever want to hear.

P.S. For best results, spin at precisely 4:20 PM.

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 04/2001

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