“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song

Doug Ingle
“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

Written by Douglas Ingle
Recorded by Iron Butterfly

In my youth, I lived in the Rocky Mountains where my father was a church pianist. I remember, when I was about 7, he played at two services a week in our hometown nondenominational community church. My mom, dad, sister, myself and our dog shared one bedroom in a house with no running water. We had a water well about the distance of two city blocks from our cottage. We would use a metal tub which was placed in the center of the living room for our family baths. We’d use two metal buckets to transport the water from the well to our place and then heat one bucket on our coal burner stove and then mix them accordingly. I’d always be the first to bathe because being the smallest person in the family I would draw less heat from the water. Every now and then, we’d get a big thrill and get a new snow sled or my grandpa would send an orange from California to put in our Christmas stocking.

My father has always been my main source for musical inspiration. He graduated from Drake as a first string classical pianist and yet, in order to put food on the table, both he and my mother worked full time. We had an old (1908) Boston Everett, an upright acoustic piano, that my folks received as a wedding gift in 1936 from my mom’s folks. Dad would play the piano a great deal of the time in the evenings. He would play Classical music, Church music, Boogie-Woogie, Post World War II standards, etc. To this day the Everett is still with me and, while it takes up a good deal of space in my music room, it also fills a big place in my heart.

The weather patterns in the Rockies played a big part in a child’s play time options. During the winter months I would spend a good deal of my free time around the piano stretching an army blanket from the keyboard cover and over the piano bench to create my own tent. One of my first musical efforts was trying to emulate a thunder storm. When the thunder peals would roar, shortly after a crack of lightning, I would try to find it musically by holding down the sustain pedal while slamming both of my little hands upon the bass notes with every ounce of energy I could muster, followed with tinkering around on the high notes for simulated rain drops. While such an activity was a great adventure to this young mind, upon looking back I’m certain that it was also a great exercise in patience for the rest of the clan. When my dad would play the piano I would run and get a pencil and jump up on a chair and pretend that I was conducting my own symphony.

Another big inspiration for me was going to see Yma Sumac, a Peruvian singer, at the Red Rock Amphitheatre in Denver, Colorado. At the time, she had both the highest range of any woman and the lowest range of any man on the planet. There I was, on a beautiful evening under the stars, watching and listening to a Peruvian orchestra wearing costumes with so many great colors and such that I knew then and there that I wanted to be involved with music for the rest of my life. Thank you all…!!!

My folks had had enough of the rough living conditions in the mountains and wanted to make a new life for themselves and their children, so they began the long process of relocating to California. My mother went first and stayed with her mother while she secured a job. Within six months, my sister and I found ourselves on a Southern Pacific train headed towards our new lives. My dad joined us about a year later after the property had been sold. Within eight days of my arrival I had already been hit by a car on the street where I lived. Other than the noticeable dent on the car’s front fender, I think the car was fine. Speak of culture shock. I went from a tough little mountain boy to city slicker in less than three days. While I did enjoy the adventure of seeing California and the new states and deserts between, I was most definitely ready to go home within the first month. But it was not to be and to this day I have yet to visit my old home town of Evergreen, Colorado.

Like a lot of young people with musical aspirations, I found myself performing in a cover band during my high school years. The name of the band was “The Jeritones” named after the band leader’s girlfriend, Jeri. We played a wide variety of music — our business card said “The Jeritones…We play Rock & Roll and Music.” Band members Kerry Chater (the leader and bass player) went on to play bass for Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and Danny Weis (lead guitar) went on to play on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy and then on to the group Rhinoceros. He also played a starring role in Bette Midler’s The Rose.

I moved to Los Angeles after finishing high school because I wanted to write motion picture themes like “Romeo and Juliet,” “Exodus,” “The Ten Commandments.” Funny thing is, I didn’t even know how to read music (still don’t). But we can’t let a little thing like that stop us!

I decided to form my own group at that time with Danny (Weis). We got paid quite well for our first efforts, come to think of it. We secured a gig at a place called “Bi-Do Li-To’s” (owned by a father, mother, daughter and son (Bi = Bill = father, Do = Dorothy = mother, Li = Linda = daughter and To = Tom = son). We played about five shows per night during the week and two to three shows per night on the weekends. In return for this we each received about $25.00 per week plus we could sleep Ma & Pa Kettle style on the office floors above the club itself. We were able to transport all of our gear to Los Angeles via a 1952 Pontiac station wagon that Darryl DeLoach (I.B’s other lead singer and front man) picked up for about $300.00 — and he got robbed! Four bald tires with no spare, bad transmission, leaking oil, gas guzzling heap of metal.… And yet it got us there!

For my own privacy under these living arrangements, I took over the ladies restroom each night after the club had closed its doors. They had a lounge sofa-chair that I would drag up from the downstairs patio each night. The ladies room had electric lights, a door that had a lock on it from the inside, a mirror, toilet and last but not least, hot and cold running water! Let us not forget our roots! This was like going from rags to riches for me. I was finally doing what I loved best and it could only go up from here… Did I mention that we were able to practice our new material during the days? For the historians among us: The club was located in Hollywood, California on the southeast end of Cosmo Alley (appropriately enough), south of Hollywood Blvd, east of Vine St. and north of Sunset Blvd.

We continued to work our way up the Sunset Strip, opening for such acts as Arthur Lee & Love, Sky Saxon & the Seeds, Ike and Tina Turner review and by 1967 we found ourselves performing at the Whiskey A Go-Go. It was there that we began leading off for everybody and his brother and sister…. . This is when the various labels began taking notice of the Iron Butterfly and making offers. While this was all very nice, it wasn’t what I originally had in mind. Ultimately we signed to ATCO Records (subsidiary of Atlantic Records) and the rest is history.

It was at this time that I started experimenting in electronic sounds. Since I still wanted to write motion picture themes, I decided to write a theme that would encapsulate the different sounds I heard in my head through electronic music. I wanted to capture the full range of emotions from tranquility to rage and, as a result, crafted a basic draft that I thought might act as a good basis for such. Thus, the birth of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” “In the Garden of Eden” seemed to be a suitable reference title for the moment, in that it inherently represented the field of expressions that I was pursuing. The history of man might be a good place to project from. Having said this, however, it was not my intent to actually use such a title for a number of reasons. First and foremost, to the extent that music is the international language and reflects many cultures and belief systems, it would be inappropriate for me to assign such a musical venture to one field of interpretation.

As it turns out, I didn’t have to figure out a new title for the song. One night, some girls brought by a gallon of Red Mountain rose wine. Yours truly hadn’t had a bite to eat in a couple of days, so the wine had a sudden and lasting effect on my ability to speak clearly. Ron (Bushy) wanted to know what I had been working on that day, at which time I directed him to go to our one and only tape recorder and take a listen to what I had recorded prior to the arrival of the wine. He listened, he liked and he wanted to know what the title was. I thought I said “In the Garden of Eden;” he thought I said “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” At any rate, he wrote down phonetically what he thought I had said. Hmmmm…. . Funny how things work out sometimes.

As a young boy, with a child’s naiveté, I always dreamed that I might one day write a song that would change this old world and make it just a little bit better place for all of us to live in. The extent to which this may or may not be true regarding any of my musical efforts is something that remains to be seen and most likely not in my lifetime. What I do know for sure is that music has taken me on many worthwhile adventures to many faraway lands and I have met many of the good people that reside in them and call their lands home. For all of the things in this world that are not quite right, it is my firm belief and conviction that there is much more that is right within the hearts of mankind than some would lead us to believe. There is hope and plenty of it!!!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the good folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul along with a special thanks to Jo-Ann Geffen for her patience in dealing with me and those good old deadlines and, last but not least, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this part of my story. WE ALL HAVE ONE!!! Don’t we?

Always your friend in life through music, Doug Ingle

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida honey,

don’t ya know that I’m lovin’ you?

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida baby,

don’t ya know that I’ll always be true?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah take my hand?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah walk this land?

Please take my hand…

Let me tell ya now.

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida honey,

Don’t ya know that I’m lovin’ you?

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida baby,

don’t ya know that I’ll always be true?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah take my hand?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah walk this land?

Please take my hand…

It’s alright…hut!

Alright now…come on.

(12:00 + minute instrumental break) = YES !!! ;-)

Two, three, four…hut!

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida honey,

don’t ya know that I’m lovin’ you?

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida baby,

don’t ya know that I’ll always be true?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah take my hand?

Oh won’t ya come with me,

and ah walk this land?

Please take my hand…

Hut, hut.

Alright now.

Hut, hut.

Lyrics and Music by Douglas Ingle. © 1968 Warner Chappell Music

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