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For a few years they had Atlantic’s best-selling album and they played many big gigs in front of thousands of fans.
Iron Butterfly were America’s biggest band. Then they split up and changed band members and fell off the radar. By the mid seventies they were no more. It was quite a ride for this excellent band who have a good claim to have invented or come across heavy metal.
They were from San Diego and formed in 1966. In-A-Gadda-Vida was their second album. It sold a mighty 8 million in its first year. For many years it was the labels’ bestseller. It’s now sold over 30 million. As the best-selling of all-time you’d you think that they’d have been feted but they ended up as a footnote in rocks history. The title track was a portentous riff that sounds like it’d better suited to religious music. It got to number 4. The 17 minute title song edited down to 2.52 was a hit. They toured a lot and within a year there began a bewildering amount of line up changes but kept releasing records.
Ball got to 3 but that was unequalled peak. In 1970 they released a very good live album. Then they fell apart but a version released Scorching Beauty and Sun and Steel in 1975. Both are good albums but no-one was interested and so it was until band members died and the band was ended for good.
While changes meant they didn’t have a long successful career, that 1968 song defines an era. Any of us would’ve love to think our music had such a culturally important aspect and they remain one of my favourite bands.