17-minute song by 1960s psychedelic hard rock band Iron Butterfly.

The title is allegedly derived from "In The Garden of Eden", though my friend Ronn said it was actually "On A Greyhound With Peter".

A full album side, clocking in at 17:02, this is a wonderful tune by Iron Butterfly on the second side of an album with the name of same. More than likely their most popular song, it features a wonderful long drum solo, and some hard rocking riffs.

Note: Slayer has covered this tune. Consider yourself warned.
Bart: "Hymns, here! I got hymns, here. Get 'em while they're holy. Fresh from God's brain to your mouth. Heh heh heh."

Lovejoy: "And now, please rise for our opening hymn, uh...'In the Garden of Eden,' by I. Ron Butterfly."

(the organist starts playing)

Congregation: "In the Garden of Eden, honey, Don't you know that I lo-ove yo-ou? In the Garden of Eden, baby, don't you know that I'll always be tru-ue?"

(Bart laughs)

Homer: "Hey, Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?"

(They both laugh. The organist breaks into a frantic solo. The congregation continues to sing while Reverend Lovejoy looks down at his hymn sheet)

Lovejoy: Wait a minute. This looks like rock and/or roll!"

(Organ solo continues. Subtitle: "Seventeen Minutes Later". The organ solo ends, and the organist collapses on the piano. Later, Lovejoy questions the children...)

Lovejoy: I know one of you is responsible for this. So repeat after me: If I withhold the truth, may I go straight to Hell where I will eat naught but burning hot coals and drink naught but burning hot cola...

Ralph: ...where fiery demons will punch me in the back...

Bart: ...where my soul will be chopped into confetti and be strewn upon a parade of murderers and single mothers...

Milhouse: ...where my tongue will be torn out by ravenous birds... (a bird squawks at Milhouse)... Bart did it! That Bart right there!

When asked what the title of this song meant, the composer Doug Ingle responded, "It was an accident. A total accident." Ingle recalls that after the release of their first album 'Heavy' the band had gone through some membership changes and wasn't doing well financialy. "We pretty much counted on groupies for food." Ingle hadn't eaten in three days and had consumed a gallon of wine while composing a new track. Another band member, Ron Bushy, had heard the new track, but Ingle wouldn't tell him the title of it. "I didn't want to offend the Christian community or other religious philosophies." Bushy was getting upset with his reluctance and Ingles finally caved in and "Blurted it out under the influence," 'In the Garden of Eden.' The next day Bushy ran into Ingles and told him, "I really like that title, 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'." Ingles recalls, "geez, that's not what I said."

The Best of Iron Butterfly; Light and Heavy Liner Notes 1993 Rhino Records

Originally published in 1968, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is the best known album by Psychedelic Rock group Iron Butterfly. The first album to ever go platinum, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is one of those albums nearly every every aging hippie either has, or used to have. For most of these people though, it probably hasn't been played in decades. Heavy on the distortion guitar and the electric organ, this album would be right at home in an old van with large amounts of ceremonial substances.

The Tracks. Time in Parenthesis:
Most Anything You Want (3:44)
Flowers and Beads (3:05)
My Mirage (5:15)
Termination (3:00)
Are You Happy (4:27)
In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (17:05)

Aside from the title track, this album is for the most part forgettable. The songs are fairly simple pop melodies, with basic lyrics and instrumentation. There are a few points of brilliance, however, but all in all, the first five songs are lackluster. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, on the other hand, is consistently considered one of the greatest rock songs ever.

The title track is, simply put, a classic. Its seventeen minutes are one of the high points in the Psychedelic Rock movement; very few songs from that genre have the fame (or infamy) that In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida has. Like the rest of the album, the lyrics are fairly simplistic and minimal, but people don't listen to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida for the lyrics, they listen to it for the instrumental portion.

The instrumental portion is about as close to a symphonic piece as one gets in rock and roll. It contains one of the longest drum solos in Rock and Roll, similar in length to Led Zeppelin's Moby Dick; its guitar work has some incredibly artistic uses of distortion, and its organ portions are in many ways the best on the album. It all adds up to an incredibly well done piece of work which is, unfortunately, altered by most commercial plays of the song.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was made in the days of AM Radio, and for some time, the limitations commercial AM radio placed on the song meant it wasn't able to be played. Informal rules and traditions limited the length of songs able to be played on AM stations, and because of this, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida was not able to be played on these stations. FM stations, which were run much more like todays typical college radio stations, did not have these limitations, and thus, were able to play the song. Thus, they saw a ratings jump due to the playing of this song. AM stations were hamstrung until a DJ out of Detroit was authorized by Atlantic Records to release a version with 14 minutes cut from the song. After this was done, AM stations were able to play the song, and capitalize on its success.

The song is still played today on classic rock stations, though is not a staple song on most stations' playlists. Its length still precludes it from being played too often; even FM radio has, for the most part, migrated to the short music sets which dominated AM radio. Thus, unless the station is running some special promotional gimmick, the shortened version is played.

In my opinion, this album is worth being added to anyone's record collection. Yes, the first five songs are mindless pop music, but the last song is simply brilliant. This is one of many cases where it's well worth it to buy the album, as most Greatest Hits compilations have the bastardized short version.


Mad Props go out to BBL for emailing me a couple excellent corrections on the history of the industry.

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