Singer behind 17-minute rock classic dies

Doug Ingle, the last surviving member of the original line-up of heavy rock band Iron Butterfly, has died aged 78.

Ingle was the lead vocalist and organist in the band he co-founded in 1966 – singing their 17-minute long signature hit In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which featured in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons.

The musician’s son announced his father’s passing on social media but did not give a cause of death.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida featured on Iron Butterfly’s 1968 album of the same name, which spent 81 weeks in the top 10 in the US.

The record was eventually certified quadruple-platinum, meaning it sold at least 400,000 copies.

The title track became legendary and something of a running joke in rock circles, with its length meaning late-night disc jockeys could put it on while going for a cigarette or toilet break.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a slurred version of “in the Garden of Eden” – as allegedly misheard by the band’s drummer Ron Bushy when Ingle was first presenting the song to the band.

In The Simpsons episode Bart Sells His Soul, the skateboarding mischief-maker sneaks a version of the song into his church’s worship service under the title “In The Garden Of Eden”.

“Hey, Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?” Homer whispers in the episode.

The song was also covered by other bands, including Slayer, The Residents, Boney M and the Incredible Bongo Band, whose version was twice-sampled by the rapper Nas. It also appeared memorably in Michael Mann’s 1986 thriller movie Manhunter.

The track ended up being 17 minutes long partly due to Iron Butterfly’s studio engineer Don Casale asking the band to play through the song so he could set his levels and him hitting record without the band members realising.

The extended practice run ended up being the master take.

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Ingle’s son, Doug Ingle Jr, said in a statement confirming his father’s death: “It’s with a heavy heart and great sadness to announce the passing of my father Doug Ingle.

“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.”

Ingle was the last-surviving member of the original line-up of the band, following the deaths of guitarist Erik Brann in 2003, bassist Lee Dornan in 2012 and drummer Ron Bushy in 2021.

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Dozens of musicians have been part of the group in its various incarnations over the decades.

That’s not including the four musicians who tour as Iron Butterfly today – none of whom go further back with the band further than 1995.

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