This Week in Vinyl: Iron Butterfly – Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida

Its story time, kids.

So back somewhere around 2001ish I was living in Southern California and the proud owner of the world’s most basic, stripped down, two door, crank window, plastic hubcap, aftermarket CD player equipped Honda Civic. The CD player was an upgrade.

One night, while parked outside my apartment, some passing naer do wells thought it would be cool to smash my driver side window, attempt to steal my low end Circuit City upgrade and all of my CDs. They took the Hendrix, KRS One, A Tribe Called Quest, Clapton and a pile of others.

Except one.

On the floor behind the driver seat, amid a virtual sea of broken glass, lay Iron Butterfly’s 1968 Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida. This was not an accident. It was very clearly a choice. I submit to you that there is nothing worse than a thief. Except maybe a thief with awful taste in music, who doesn’t recognize the album that contains the best drum solo in rock history.

Yeah I said that.

The best drum solo in rock history. I’ll stand behind it too. Of this undated LP on the ATCO Label I’ll say that I really only bought it for Side B. No one should be surprised by that. Side A is your standard throw away 60’s rock that simply doesn’t hold up. If you were so inclined, take a look at some of the number one singles from 1968 and you’d likely find a number of them that you still hear today. You’ll also notice Iron Butterfly is no where to be found. Were it not for the seventeen minute Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, I doubt we would even still be talking about them.

All that said, this is a great fucking song. There’s the riff you all know, the B3 wailing away in the background, the groove that carries through the entire thing and underneath it all is Ron Bushy holding down the beat. The beat that eventually explodes into the greatest drum solo of all time.

No, I’m not backing down from that. As the guitars and the Hammond fade away the drums take off. The solo never feels disjointed, never boring. Each section blending into the next until, with a shift of the beat (that totally makes sense), the B3 quietly creeps back in with a vaguely middle Eastern sound. Then the bass. Then guitars, and we’re back to the top.

This song rocks so hard.

I’m going to tell you right now, sitting down and listening to all seventeen minutes of this epic rock song is time you’re not going to regret. Don’t waste your time with an abridged version. I listened to it twice today. Chores be damned.

Not sorry.

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