"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is a seventeen-minute, five-second psychedelic rock song by Iron Butterfly, released on their 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, occupying the entire second side of the album. The lyrics are simple, and heard only at the beginning and the end.
The song is considered significant in rock history because, together with Blue Cheer
, it marks the point when psychedelic music
produced heavy metal
. A commonly repeated story says that the song's title was originally "In the Garden of Eden" but in the course of rehearsing and recording, singer Doug Ingle
was intoxicated and accidentally slurred the words, creating the mondegreen
that stuck as the title. However, the liner notes on 'the best of' CD compilation state that drummer Ron Bushy
was listening to the track through headphones, and couldn't hear correctly; he simply distorted what Doug Ingle answered when Ron asked him for the title of the song (which was originally In-The-Garden-Of-Eden). An alternate version of the story, as stated in the liner notes of the 1995 re-release of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album
, states that Ingle was drunk when he first told Bushy the title, so Bushy wrote it down. Bushy then showed Ingle what he had written, and the slurred title stuck. Although it is not widely known, this track was produced by Shadow Morton at the same small studio in Hempstead, L.I. where he also created the 'Vanilla Fudge Sound'. It has been covered many times, such the version
by Boney M.
The song features a memorable, "endless, droning minor-key riff, on guitar and bass which functions as an ostinato repeated for almost the entire length of the song. It is also used as the basis for extended organ and guitar solos, which are interrupted in the middle by an extended drum solo, one of the first such solos on a rock record and one of the most famous in rock. What made this particular drum solo unique was its surreal tribal sound. Bushy had his drums miked and fed into a rotating Leslie speaker to give them a phasing sound and also took the bottoms off his toms to give them a more heavy sound. It's then followed by Doug Ingle's ethereal polyphonic organ solo (which resembles variations on "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen") to the accompaniment of drums (beginning around 6 minutes and 20 seconds). There are then interludes in cut time and a reprise of the original theme and vocals.
A live version reaching over 17 minutes long was released as part of their 1970 live album
. This version, however, has evidence of heavy editing from the actual live recording. The guitar solo, for example, seems to have been recorded in a studio or somewhere else where there was no audience in attendance. The live version also lengthens the drums solo by roughly 4 minutes and the organ solo by about 1 minute. The version also omits the bass and drum solo jam (heard from 13:04-15:19 on the studio recording). The version that was edited and released as a single omits the instrumental solos and leaves roughly three minutes of music.
When Doug Ingle originally wrote the song, he had not intended for it to run seventeen minutes long. However, Ingle said that he "knew there would be slots for solos." As it turned out, during live renditions of the song, Erik Brann's (guitar) and Ron Bushy's (drum) solos varied from performance to performance, while Ingle's organ solo remained the same.
Boney M. version
"Children of Paradise" / "Gadda-Da-Vida" is a 1980 single by German band Boney M. Intended to be the first single off the group's fifth album Boonoonoonoos (scheduled for a November 1980 release), the single was ultimately never included because the album release was delayed for one year. "Children of Paradise" peaked at #11 in the German charts whereas it became the group's lowest placing in the UK at #66 only. Boney M. would use the double A-side format in this period, typically with the A1 being the song intended for radio and A2 being more squarely aimed at discos. The sides would usually be switched on the accompanying 12" single. Although no-one knew at the time it was recorded, "Gadda-Da-Vida" became a controversial Boney M. record since it turned out none of the original members sang on it. Due to a fall-out between producer Frank Farian and the group, he had session singers La Mama (Cathy Bartney, Patricia Shockley and Madeleine Davis) sing the female vocals while he did the deep male vocals as usual. The group only promoted it once on TV. Two different single edits were done of the full 9 minutes version that appeared on the 12" single. "Gadda-Da-Vida" was the A-side in Japan. Only the French release correctly stated the song title as "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".
- "Children of Paradise" (Farian, Reyam, Jay) - 4:40 / "Gadda-Da-Vida" (Ingle) - 5:18 (Hansa 102 400-100, Germany)
- "Children of Paradise" (Final mix) - 4:28 / "Gadda-Da-Vida" (Final mix) - 5:05 (Hansa 102 400-100, Germany)
- "Gadda-Da-Vida" (Long Version) - 8:56 / "Children of Paradise" (12" mix) - 5:18 (Hansa 600 280-100, Germany)
Jag Panzer cover
covered it on the "Chain Of Command
1985 saw a guitar instrumental 12" single released of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on Sutra Records
. Guitarist Les Fradkin
recorded this as a duo with synthesist Rob Hegel
. The act was called Maddog.
- The Song was used on the show Home Improvement in Season: 1 Episode: 8 First Aired: 11/5/1991 called "Flying Saucers" where Tim Taylor used the song to scare his kids.
- The song was used in the climax of the movie Manhunter (directed by Michael Mann) the filmed version of Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon.
- The song was used in the TV series Supernatural in episode 6 of season 1, titled "Skin".
- The song was used in the Television series "House M.D.", Season 3, Episode 23 after a patient ingests magic mushrooms as part of a treatment for cluster headaches.
- The song was used in The Simpsons episode Bart Sells His Soul, where Bart switches a hymn out for "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" with an adapted chourus: "In the Garden of Eden," the song's original title. Reverend Lovejoy believed I. Ron Butterfly to be the one who penned the song, in lieu of the band: Iron Butterfly.