Doug Ingle, frontman of rock band Iron Butterfly, dies aged 78

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Doug Ingle, the frontman and organist of US rock band Iron Butterfly who wrote their major hit In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida, has died aged 78.

His son Doug Ingle Jr announced the news on social media, writing: “Thank you Dad for being a father, teacher and friend. Cherished loving memories I will carry the rest of my days moving forward in this journey of life.”

Born in Nebraska, Ingle was raised in San Diego where he formed Iron Butterfly in 1966 and signed to Atlantic Records, who released their debut album Heavy in 1968. Later that year came In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida, its title a garbled version of “in the garden of Eden” as uttered by an inebriated Ingle, who had written it while drinking a gallon of wine.

The full 17-minute version of the song occupied the second half of the album of the same name, which spent 140 weeks in the US album chart and sold more than four million copies. A three-minute radio edit also reached No 30 in the singles chart.

Ingle was on board for two further studio albums, with 1969’s Ball their highest charting LP at No 3 in the US. He left in 1971, precipitating the group’s split.

Having made millions with the band and bought a 600-acre ranch among other properties, Ingle later admitted: “I didn’t involve myself at the business level at all”, and found himself in debt to the US Internal Revenue Service. He managed a park for recreational vehicles in Los Angeles during the mid-1970s, but returned to Iron Butterfly for various tours until a final spell with the group in the mid-1990s.

In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida became an enduring hit and pop-cultural reference point, appearing in the Simpsons and inspiring cover versions by artists as varied as Slayer, the Residents, High Contrast and Boney M.

Ingle was the last surviving member of the classic Iron Butterfly lineup, after the deaths of drummer Ron Bushy, bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Eric Brann between 2003 and 2021.


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