Iron Butterfly’s founder Doug Ingle dies, aged 78

28 May 2024, 13:21

Iron Butterfly's defining song is 1968's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'.
Iron Butterfly's defining song is 1968's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'. Picture: Getty

By Thomas Edward

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Doug Ingle, founder of Iron Butterfly has died aged 78.

Ingle was the founder of the San Diego heavy psychedelic rock group, and was the group's primary creative force.

The organist, singer, and songwriter was also the only surviving member from the band's classic lineup from 1967 to 1969 whose music made a lasting imprint in the history of guitar music.

News of Ingle's passing broke on Facebook after his son, Doug Ingle Jr, revealed the news to his followers.

"It's with a heavy heart & great sadness to announce the passing of my Father Doug Ingle," he wrote, adding: "Dad passed away peacefully this evening in the presence of family."

"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. Love you Dad".

No cause of death has been announced at the time of writing, but it's thought that Doug Ingle passed away peacefully surrounded by his family.

Iron Butterfly in 1968. (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of IRON BUTTERFLY  (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns)
Iron Butterfly in 1968. (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of IRON BUTTERFLY (Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns). Picture: Getty

One of the defining bands throughout the birth of psychedelic rock that decade, Iron Butterfly became enormously influential after the release of 1968's 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'.

Whilst many psychedelic rock bands of the counterculture era continued to focus on writing songs with pop music sensibilities, Iron Butterfly favoured more complex, sprawling and gritty compositions.

Take their signature song, 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' for instance - the guitar riff for the 17-minute epic is widely considered as one of the key starting points for where heavy metal and hard rock would eventually evolve.

The song occupied the entire second half of their album of the same name, spending four weeks in the US charts and selling more than four million copies.

Its title is an obscured version of "In the Garden of Eden", as Ingle reportedly wrote the song whilst drunk on red wine.

Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (Official Audio)

Ingle stayed with Iron Butterfly before a further two albums, though they would depart the group in 1971, which resulted in their disbanding.

He played with the pop group Stark Naked and the Car Thieves for a short stint in the early seventies.

Having made millions with Iron Butterfly - with their 1969 album Ball charting at number three in the US album charts - Doug bought a 600-acre ranch along with various other properties.

However, Ingle found himself in debt with the US Internal Revenue Service, later admitting: "I didn’t involve myself at the business level at all."

During that decade, he also dedicated several years to the management of a park in the Los Angeles National Forest, though would sporadically reunite with his former band on occasion in subsequent years.

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