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

September 7, 2018

[Album 615/1001]

So, you’ve recorded a 17+ minute track.

Now what do you do with it?

It feels ill-advised to include another track on the same LP side; it just wouldn’t be balanced.

Which leaves a few options, as shown below:




By making it the side one, there’s the argument of leading with strength.

But does the entire side two then feel like a denouement?

Then again, if you save the epic track for side two, will the listener just skip side one, treating it as a perceived inferior opening act before the main event?

In any case, both Rush & Iron Butterfly were likely wise to name their respective albums after the marathon tracks.220px-In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

Ironically, my favourite track (Flowers and Beads) on this Iron Butterfly record is also one of its shortest, clocking in at a relatively brief 3:05.

The other side A tunes aren’t entirely forgettable, they’re certainly of their time.

As with 2112, I imagine most listeners will likely come for the title track, and possibly decide to stay for the rest.

Although perhaps The Allman Brothers have the optimal solution: mitigate the risk of listeners favouring a single 17+ minute track by recording a pair of side-length tunes!





Verbalize the Positive

“And now, please rise for our opening hymn: In The Garden of Eden by I-Ron Butterfly”
– Reverend Lovejoy

I can’t help but sing “In The Garden of Eden” when I hear side two – it does indeed sound like Rock &/or Roll!



From → 1960s

  1. There are some really interesting, perhaps brilliant, side-long tracks in rock. But this ain’t one of them. I still have no idea how this made it into the book.

    (Time to stir up some discussion, eh Geoff?)

    • I was pleased to see it in your recent album art quiz though Bruce – I recognized it immediately!
      I think the simpsons association has me enjoying the track here more than I might otherwise – will you revisit this one as part of your 1968 series?

      • Must check out the Simpson’s clip. Does look amusing.
        Probably won’t visit In-a-gada, Geoff. Tend to favour albums that I want to recommend, and there are many from the Class of ’68 I rate much more highly than this. So I’m delighted you’ve broken the da-Vida code.

      • There’s one in particular from ’68 that’s my all-time favourite (that double LP by those Liverpudlians) – I’m saving it for my 1001st review!

      • 22 November 2018 is the 50th anniversary of that monster.

        To make that, Geoff, you’d simply have to knock off 385 more reviews ‘tween now and then. Easy Peasy!

      • By my calculations, that’s about 5 reviews per day – almost too easy!

  2. Zack permalink

    I used to have this album, but I can’t remember any songs aside from the title track.

    • And I imagine in a few months, the track names on the other side will have drifted from my memory as well!

  3. Yeah, this is an odd release. I reckon I’d opt for the second side if I was going for the big epic full-sider. Seems like the perfect way to wrap things up… especially if the rest of the tracks are not particularly brilliant.

    • Whether it contains any side-long epics or not, I’d still like to hear a Jim Dead recording on vinyl some day!

      • You never know, Geoff… you never know. I hear he’s been in the studio recording.

  4. ‘As with 2112, I imagine most listeners will likely come for the title track, and possibly decide to stay for the rest.’
    You have basically summed me up in one sentence Geoff!
    I’ll bring the beer and we’ll dig into 2112!

  5. I bought the Allmans’ Eat A Peach on vinyl recently cause I wanted to hear Mountain Jam split over the two sides… the CD versions I’ve had always put them together as one wakefulness-busting 30min track. I prefer the split version!

    I just associate the Iron Butterfly song with Manhunter. That’s its only relevance to me.

    • I remember liking how ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’ was split into 2 parts on Wish You Were Here – I imagine I’d prefer the Mountain Jam as a 2-parter as well.
      And I tend to associate Iron Butterfly with the Simpsons (and inevitably call them I-Ron Butterfly) – hopefully the band doesn’t mind the Manhunter & The SImpsons associations!

  6. I’m prog shy at the best of times but I have a lot of love (or a lot of time I suppose) for 2112. It’s perfect teenager metal. This on the other hand I’ve tried to like several times since discovering rock music. I always wander off a few minutes in looking for something to clear the air of the smell of damp hippies.

    • And admittedly, I was multi-tasking while listening (I’m not sure if it would hold my undivided attention for 17+ minutes) – it seemed like most of the band wandered off partway through the track too and then reappeared a few minutes later!

  7. Up In Her Room from side 2 of Web Of Sound by The Seeds. 17 minutes… and they still managed to cram in another song on the same side.

    • Interesting – I suppose the question is, did the other song feel crammed in, or did it hold its own beside its 17 minute companion?

  8. Sister Ray for me every time – although I think the VU may have crapped out at about 16 minutes on that one!

    • I’ll eventually get to WL/WH – I’ll be keen to see how their strategy of putting ‘I heard her call my name’ on the same side worked out!

  9. The title track has its moments, but I sold my copy years ago.

    • That’s probably a good way of putting it – in the 17:05 running time, there are probably some strong moments, but not consistently strong for the entirety!

  10. I love that Simpsons clip.

  11. Oh man that Simpsons video was brilliant.

    Good question on the Side A or B. Either way, folks will figure out what they like best! I have this on CD so it doesn’t even matter anyway…

    • I’ve seen the clip countless times – Reverend Lovejoy’s reaction never gets old!
      It feels like In-a-gadda-da-vida would be a strange track 6 in a running order – like with Reckless, I struggle with Summer of ’69 being track 6 (rather than a side opener)!

      • I like it when the monster-huge single is in a weird position. I listen to entire albums, so for me to have the single up front can make the rest of the album anti-climatic.

  12. RIP Ron Bushy

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