Doug Ingle, Iron Butterfly singer who co-wrote ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,’ dead at 78

Doug Ingle

Doug Ingle, who co-founded the 1960s rock band Iron Butterfly and co-wrote the group’s signature hit, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, died Friday. He was 78.

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The death of Ingle, who sang and played the organ for the group, was announced by his son, Doug Ingle Jr., in a social media post, Rolling Stone reported.

“It’s with a heavy heart & great sadness to announce the passing of my Father Doug Ingle. Dad passed away peacefully (Friday) evening (May 24) in the presence of family, the younger Ingle wrote. “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.”

No cause of death was provided.

Ingle was the last surviving member of the band’s lineup from the late 1960s, Variety reported. Guitarist Erik Brann was 52 when he died in 2003, Rolling Stone reported. Bassist Lee Dornan died in 2012 at the age of 70, and drummer Ron Bushy died in 2021 when he was 79.

The band was formed in San Diego and their opus, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” was a 17-minute song that sold a reported 30 million copies worldwide, according to the magazine. An edited version of the song, at slightly less than three minutes in length, peaked at No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October 1968.

The title of the song was based on Bushy’s mishearing of “In the Garden of Eden,” Rolling Stone reported.

“‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ was written as a slow country ballad, about one-and-a-half minutes long,” Bushy told It’s Psychedelic Baby magazine in 2020. “I came home late one night and Doug had been drinking a whole gallon of Red Mountain wine. I asked him what he had done, while he has been playing a slow ballad on his Vox keyboard. It was hard to understand him because he was so drunk … so I wrote it down on a napkin exactly how it sounded phonetically to me: ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.’ It was supposed to be ‘In the Garden of Eden.’”

The song received a pop culture nod in a 1995 episode of “The Simpsons,” according to Variety.

In the episode “Bart Sells His Soul,” Bart Simpson sneaks a version of the song into his church’s worship service under the title, “In the Garden of Eden,” by “I. Ron Butterfly,” the entertainment website reported.

“Hey, Marge, remember when we used to make out to this hymn?” Homer Simpson whispers to his wife.

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was covered by Slayer on the soundtrack for the film “Less Than Zero,” Variety reported. The Residents, Boney M and the Incredible Bongo Band also cut versions of the song, which also appeared in the 1986 film “Manhunter.”

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