Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

One of the most indulgent rock songs ever. It is 17:05 minutes long and has a grand total of only 30 different words in this song. You might think it has a deep, mystical meaning, but it’s really a translation error.

The title was supposed to be “In The Garden Of Eden.” Someone had written “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” possibly while stoned, on a demo copy. A record company executive saw it and decided to use it as the title.

This was written by Doug Ingle, Iron Butterfly’s vocalist, and keyboard player. His father was a church organist, which influenced the drawn-out organ riffs in this song. When he wrote the song, Doug Ingle didn’t intend for it to be over 17 minutes long, but that’s how it played out. The single was edited down to 2:52, shaving over 14 minutes off the song!

This song reached #30 in the Billboard 100 in 1968.

So… light up some incense (or whatever you want), hang up some beads and turn up In A Gadda Da Vida full blast.

From Songfacts

As for the meaning of the song, it’s just a guy affirming his love for his special girl.

Ron Bushy’s drum solo is not as long as people think; it only runs about 2 1/2 minutes, from 6:30 to a little past 9 minutes. Doug Ingle’s organ solo immediately follows.

The band’s original guitar player quit before this was recorded. He was replaced by Eric Braun, who had only played the guitar for three months.

The title loosely translates as “In The Garden Of Life.”

This was the first hit song that could be classified as “heavy metal.” The phrase was introduced that year in the Steppenwolf song “Born To Be Wild.”

Iron Butterfly would have performed this at Woodstock, but they didn’t make it because they were stuck at the airport.

Hip-hop artist Nas has two different songs that sample “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The first is “Thief’s Theme” from his 2003 double album Street’s Disciple. The second is the title track of his 2006 album Hip-Hop is Dead. >>

Danny Weiss of Iron Butterfly was recommended to Al Kooper by David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills, & Nash), right when Kooper was forming Blood Sweat & Tears. As given in Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, “I loved the guitarist, introduced myself, and explained this concept to him. He thought it was a good idea, but insisted that he was committed to the band he was in. His name was Danny Weiss, and his band was Iron Butterfly. He left soon after we met anyway, and joined the great but doomed band Rhinoceros.”

The recording that is heard on the album was done as soundcheck filler for engineer Don Casale while the band waited for the arrival of producer Jim Hilton. However, after the rehearsal was completed it was agreed that the performance was of sufficient quality that another take wasn’t needed.

The song was used in The Simpsons episode “Bart Sells His Soul,” where Bart switches a hymn out for this song and convinces the Reverend Lovejoy it is penned by I. Ron Butterfly. The whole 17-minute version is played by the First Church of Springfield’s exhausted church organist.

In A Gadda Da Vida

In-a-gadda-da-vida honey,
Don’tcha know that I love you?
In-a-gadda-da-vida baby,
Don’tcha know that I’ll always be true?

Oh won’tcha come with me,
And take my hand?
Oh won’tcha come with me,
And walk this land?

Please take my hand…
Let me tell ya now.
In-a-gadda-da-vida honey,
Don’tcha know that I love you?

In-a-gadda-da-vida baby,
Don’tcha know that I’ll always be true?
Oh won’tcha come with me,
And take my hand?

Oh won’tcha come with me,
And walk this land?
Please take my hand…
Let me tell ya.

Two,three,four!
In-a-gadda-da-vida honey,
Don’tcha know that I love you?
In-a-gadda-da-vida baby,
Don’tcha know that I’ll always be true?

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

  1. I listened to this son everyday like everyone else, till I discovered the Cream, Led Zeppelin and Bib Brother and the Holding Company and then I put in in my oven and melted it, because I never wanted to listen to it again.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I pretty much played the grooves off this album, or at least the “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” side. The other side was pretty mediocre hard rock. I remember the liner notes said that guitarist Eric Brann was only 15 years old…

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This song just creeps me out. It was played in an episode of Supernatural in the first season. Every time I hear it, now, I think of that bloody scene.

    Shame they didn’t make Woodstock. I don’t think Joni Mitchell did either…for nearly the same reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t remember the sixties but with this one I feel like I’m there.
      The Simpson episode with this is great. Bart switches the organ music at church with this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wasn’t aware of it when it first came out, but heard it for the first time during a totally boring family holiday (probably in the late 70s, maybe later) in a rented holiday chalet, blissfully on my own for a few hours. It was played on the radio and wow – I adored it so much when I got home I shot out and bought it! I must get the album on CD as these days I tend to play it on youtube when I want to listen to it. That said, I listen to stuff on youtube more than I do even when I have CDs of the stuff! Do you do that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I do listen to music on Youtube a lot. It’s an easy way of accessing it and plus you get to see the band doing it… or at least lip-syncing it.
      The song hooks me right in. I was born in the sixties so I don’t remember them. Certain songs make me feel as if I’m there… if that makes sense. This one is one of them and Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s