Top 10 Iron Butterfly Songs
Much more than your average “one hit wonder,” Iron Butterfly, in many ways, epitomized late '60s hard rock, specifically the moment where psychedelia spawned the somewhat media driven, somewhat accurate, and somewhat silly moniker of “acid rock.” So sit back, dim the lights and do whatever it is you have to do to get, um, acclimated, and dig on our list of the Top 10 Iron Butterfly Songs:
'Iron Butterfly Theme'
A fuzzed out monster if ever there was one. Heavy guitars blast forth as a hauntingly ominous riff penetrates the air. It's a real groovy trip here kids! This brooding instrumental appeared on the band's debut album, the appropriately titled 'Heavy,' and in many ways sums up the band's style and approach.
'Are You Happy?'
This rocker was pumped full of life on this version from the band's 'Live' LP from 1970. A swing tempo carries the song along while Doug Ingle on organ dominates things here. The band's dynamics are in full force and at times it sounds like they are pummeling their instruments. That, by the way, is to the listeners benefit!
'Flowers And Beads'
Released in the summer of 1968, this nugget from the band's legendary second album, finds them sounding not unlike the Doors circa 'Strange Days.' 'Flowers And Beads' has obvious period piece weight around its neck, but the melody and song structure here save it from the hippie dustbin. Title aside, it's a simple love song whose message is pretty much timeless.
A strong, moving number from the 1969 'Ball' album. It's super charged drive is somewhat disguised by the clean and pretty sounding guitars on display. The bass guitar pushes this along in irresistible style as the guitar locks in on the riff. A great example of the band, primarily known for the epic monster of 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,' dishing out a pumping little groover in under three minutes.
A diamond from the band's fourth studio album, 'Metamorphosis,' 'New Day' is a driving rocker (in 6/8 time) powered by chugging guitars and a plowing rhythm section. Add in a sweet little guitar solo, and you've got a killer. The song's feel and lyrical message fit right in with other bands of the era like Grand Funk Railroad and the Guess Who, but somehow failed to make a dent on the charts or the radio.
Kicking off the band's debut album, 'Possession' is a perfect way to introduce the band to the world -- a haunting tune with a hypnotic groove that lures the listener in and closes the door behind them. The church-like organ that kicks it off does little to prepare you for the slithering fuzz guitar that's soon snapping at your heels.
Despite the movie of the same name riding ever so high at the time, this gem failed to set the world alight the way Steppenwolf did with 'Born To Be Wild.' It's too bad, because this rocker from the band's 1970 album 'Metamorphosis,' captures a similar vibe with vigor and electricity, as you can picture the wide open road right in front of you. Its streamlined and gritty sound suits the mood just right. Ride on!
'Fields Of Sun'
Easily one of the Butterfly's best, 'Fields Of Sun' has everything that defined the band's sound. Those elements of the heavy and the light, the Iron and the Butterfly if you will, are fully on display. After a gentle piano run kicks it off, an almost jangly guitar rides through the song, while Doug Ingle's vocal is in full brooding bloom. At its core, it's a 1967 garage rocker with a soulful heart. Life giving sun, indeed!
Bob Dylan did it first (didn't he always) -- taking up an entire LP side in 1966 with 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands' on 'Blonde On Blonde.' A year later Love delivered 'Revelation' from 'De Capo,' but 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' took the side-long song into the American psyche in mid-1968, creating a punch line that lasted longer than the song itself. Unlike the epic prog rock works that would show up shortly, 'In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida' didn't have 'movements' or 'sections'...it was one long riff driving a nearly 18 minute groove, stopping only for the (ill advised) drum solo. Mock if you will, but it's a killer riff, and the mood the band captures is simply stellar. It might've seemed like a stoned-out idea, but in fact it was a pretty bold move, and the public ate it up. A severely edited three minute single version shot into the Top 40 and hey, we're still talking about it 44 years later, right? So obviously they did something right.
Hear us out! 'Unconscious Power' is a full on raver, moody, yet tough as nails, garage rock and roll. It could easily have been mistaken for the Music Machine, who were employing a very similar style. In fact, Doug Ingle's baritone vocal style comes off like a cross between the Music Machine's Sean Bonniwell and Love's Arthur Lee. This song has it all: killer bass playing, shimmering keyboards and biting guitar. In short, this is the Iron Butterfly at their most powerfully concise. The song was later covered very faithfully by punk legends the Dickies.