In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly (1968)

Album no. 123/1001

A garbled, drunken sentence turns into the name of your second album? True story for these American blokes.

If you strain your ears, you can sort of hear that they were trying to say ‘in the garden of eden’. The 17 minute song of the same name has been pretty influential in prog rock circles – it also became a top 30 HIT (although it was edited down to a more friendly 2.32).

These guys were supposed to play Woodstock, but they got stuck at the airport. The promoters of Woodstock said they’d send a helicopter – but it never arrived. A bit sad.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: No. You can’t even speak properly. I have no interest in this album already.

NK: I might have heard the name of the band before, but honestly I have no idea what to expect here.

Standout track

CL: The first 30 seconds of the first track ‘Most Anything You Want’ really put me offside – it sounded like some god-awful sprawling prog-rock organ nonsense. The song sort of righted itself, and then the majority of the album is these weird pop harmonies UNTIL you get to the last one. A 17 minute odyssey of a poor man’s take on ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ mixed with some serious organ noodling. The worst kind of noodles there is.

NK: I got the ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ riff as well! Cheeky. You know what the opening of ‘Most Anything You Want’ reminded me of? The opening track off gangs. Just that opening bang bang bang bang. Weird. No similarities apart from that. ‘Flowers and Beads’ was kind of a straightforward rock/pop thing, not at all in line with the opener. I didn’t get into a lot of these, they all seemed to go on a bit without really getting anywhere. His singing sort of sounds like David Bowie in places, especially ‘Are You Happy’.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: This sort of puts me in mind of our mates Love – there’s even a 17 minute song – and The Doors. It’s as if those two got together and decided to make this. It’s not really as good as The Doors, but it’s better than Love. What a combination.

NK: It’s pretty rock jammy. As you suggested above, I think it’s a good bet this sets the scene for our friend ‘progressive’ rock. I am not super over the moon about that. I guess you could make the case that the jamming guitar/organ combo set the scene for Deep Purple, but I don’t think this mob could play like Deep Purple.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: I don’t think so. It’s just so samey and LONG! God it’s long. In the 17 minute song there’s a legitimate 5 minute breakdown where it’s just the drums. And not like a cool drum solo – just puttering along to the same old beat. WHY?!

NK: Life is too short.


CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

One thought on “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly (1968)

  1. A trifle harsh guys – Are You Happy is good and the title track is the perfect example of “acid rock” which was kicking in at this time of the 60’s and an initial entry into the “prog rock” sub-genre.


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