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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (song)

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Title: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (song)  
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Subject: Heavy metal music, Art rock, Vox (musical equipment), Organ (music), 1968 in music, Iron Butterfly, Manhunter (film), "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D, Songs in the Key of Springfield, Ocean's Twelve
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In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (song)

This article is about the song. For the album, see In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (album). For the video, see In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (video).
Released June 14, 1968 (album)
July 21, 1968 (single)
Recorded May 27, 1968 at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, Long Island, New York
Genre Acid rock, psychedelic rock, progressive rock, heavy metal
Length 17:05 (album version)
2:52 (single edit)
19:00 (live version)
Label Atco
Writer(s) Doug Ingle
Producer Jim Hilton

Audio sample

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is a song by Iron Butterfly, released on their 1968 album In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

At slightly over 17 minutes, it occupies the entire second side of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album. The lyrics are simple, and heard only at the beginning and the end. The track was recorded on May 27, 1968, at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, Long Island, New York.

The recording that is heard on the album was meant to be a soundcheck for engineer Don Casale while the band waited for the arrival of producer Jim Hilton. However, Casale had rolled a recording tape, and when the rehearsal was completed it was agreed that the performance was of sufficient quality that another take was not needed. Hilton later remixed the recording at Gold Star Studios in Los Angeles. The single reached number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[1]

In later years, band members claimed that the track was produced by Long Island producer Shadow Morton, who earlier had supervised the recordings of the band Vanilla Fudge. Morton subsequently stated in several interviews that he had agreed to do so at the behest of Atlantic Records chief Ahmet Ertegun, but said he was drinking heavily at the time and that his actual oversight of the recording was minimal. Neither Casale nor Morton receives credit on the album, while Hilton was credited as both its sound engineer and producer.


The song is considered significant in rock history because, together with music by Blue Cheer, Jimi Hendrix, Steppenwolf and High Tide, it marks the time period when psychedelic music began to form heavy metal. In 2009, it was named the 24th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.[2]

A commonly related story says that the song's title was originally "In the Garden of Eden", but at one point in the course of rehearsing and recording, singer Doug Ingle got drunk and 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 could not clearly distinguish what Ingle said when he asked him for the song's title. An alternative explanation given in the liner notes of the 1995 re-release of the In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album, is that Ingle was drunk, high, or both, when he first told Bushy the title, and Bushy wrote it down. Bushy then showed Ingle what he had written, and the slurred title stuck.

Musical composition


The first six minutes of the song are dominated by a memorable, "endless, droning minor key riff",[3] a guitar and bass ostinato. It is used as the basis for extended organ and guitar solos, then silenced to make way for a drum solo, one of the first on a rock record and one of the most famous, because of its surreal tribal sound. Bushy removed the bottom heads of his tom-toms to give them less of a resonant tone, and during the recording process, the drum tracks were subjected to flanging, producing a slow, swirling sound. It is followed by an ethereal polyphonic organ solo (which resembles variations on "God rest you merry, gentlemen") to the accompaniment of drums (beginning around 9:20 into the piece). There are then interludes in cut time and a reprise of the original theme and vocals.

Edited versions

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was released as a 45 in the US and other territories. The 17 minute original version was edited down to 2:53 minutes. This version contains the intro, two complete verses, the repeat of the main theme very near the end, a short break and the closing segment. There is nothing at all left of any of the solos.

In the Netherlands (and perhaps other territories too) a different, longer 4:14 minute edit was released first on a 45 with catalogue number 2019 021 and later on an EP with catalogue number 2091 213. This edit features only one verse, a large portion of the drum solo, the final verse and the closing segment.

A European compilation album on the EVA label (EMI, Virgin, BMG, Ariola) entitled Pop Classics 2, features a 10:26 edit of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. The original soundtrack CD of the movie "Manhunter" features an 8:20 minute edit of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. In these edits, it's mostly the guitar solos that were edited out.

Live version

A live version reaching over 19 minutes long was released as part of their 1969 live album. This version lengthens the drum solo by roughly four minutes and the organ solo by about one minute. It also omits the bass and drum solo jam (heard from 13:04–15:19 on the studio recording).

When Doug Ingle wrote the song, he had not intended for it to run 17 minutes long. However, Ingle said that he "knew there would be slots for solos". During live renditions, 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" /
Boney M.
Released September 1980
Format 7″ single, 12″ single
Recorded 1980
Genre Euro disco, pop
Label Hansa Records (FRG)
Producer Frank Farian
Boney M. singles chronology

"I See a Boat on the River / My Friend Jack"
"Children of Paradise" / "Gadda-Da-Vida"
"Felicidad (Margherita)"

"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 number 11 in the German charts, whereas it became the group's lowest placing in the UK at number 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.

"Gadda-Da-Vida" became a controversial Boney M. record since none of the original members sang on it. Because of 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-minute version that appeared on the 12-inch 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".


7″ singles

  • "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)

12″ single

  • "Gadda-Da-Vida" (Long version) - 8:56 / "Children of Paradise" (12″ mix) - 5:18 (Hansa 600 280-100, Germany)


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