Psychedelic rock was one of strongest trends in popular culture of the sixties. Based primarily on folk rock and poetry of drug experience, with the counter-culture explosion in sixties it has become most vivid, differentiate and eclectic phenomenon. Thus in most intense moment elements of psychedelic music are evident in rock but also in pop, soul. After LSD became illegal in 1966 and many acid driven young people pay with their lives, psychedelic culture begun its withdrawal. Some elements of psychedelic evolved and become components of progressive rock, heavy metal, jazz rock, funk, glam rock and in later decades acid house, psychedelic trance and new rave. In California the psychedelic style was rapidly developed in sixties with such bands as Grateful Dead, The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, Big Brother and the Holding Company and many more groups creating the San Francisco Sound.
After the peak years in mid-sixties, came the undertow of psychedelic rock. Some older bands withdrawn to cleaner forms of folk rock, some were experimenting with eclectic mixtures of rock, jazz and popular music. New bands of California psychedelic scene were Iron Butterfly, Spirit, Electric Prunes and Love. In close connection to this style were also some songs from early albums by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, as well as first recordings of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. With the end of sixties came the moment of separation, if ever psychedelic bands were together.
|Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)|
Iron Butterfly was formed in San Diego in 1966 (and shortly transferred to Los Angeles) under the name being the juxtaposition of two contradictory terms – heavy and solid iron against light and flexible butterfly. This trick was often used, for example the same year was founded in Canterbury, England progressive rock group Soft Machine (the title of the 1961 novel by William S. Borroughs). The oxymoronic name of the group has its strong background in the style of Heavy, recorded in 1967 and released January 22, next year by ATCO. The debut album melted straight, typically formed songs with easy lyrics, funky expression and loud, sometimes rude riffs.
Although Iron Butterfly’s first album was not a complete masterpiece, it had enough power to attract musical market and promote the band as new original phenomenon. The last track of the debut album, instrumental Iron Butterfly Theme was like real opening for new kinds of expression and the last rehearsal for the second album. In early 1968 Iron Butterfly recorded program for In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, their second album published June 14. The band recorded in new lineup. To organist Dough Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy, both known from previous album, joined two new guitarists, Erik Brann and Lee Dorman on bass guitar, both singing back vocals. The only person from San Diego band was singer and organ player Dough Ingle, who was also all songs writer and composer (with one exception – Termination written and singed by two new members). This lineup was active to 1969 and appeared also on next two albums Ball and Live.
Recorded before the success of the first album, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was a kind of prolonged debut. Maybe this is why the A-side five songs are even more typical than the program of Heavy. But title piece, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida occurred to be the top hit of Iron Butterfly. This 17 minutes composition filling the whole B-side made the album one of turning points in the history of rock music. Although this is not the first improvised composition and long jams were traditional form of acid rock and psychedelic music behavior, this is easy to understand even for nonexperienced listeners. Based on energetic drive of ostinato theme and clear construction In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of most prised works in history of rock music. Peaking on 4th place on Billboard charts, it was the first record with platinum status when this level was introduced by RIAA in 1976. With the sales of more than 30 millions copies, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida has been certified as four time platinum album.