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Ron Bushy (1941–2021), drummer for Iron Butterfly

by Linnea Crowther

Ron Bushy was the drummer for Iron Butterfly, known for their classic 1968 song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

Iron Butterfly

Bushy joined Iron Butterfly in 1966, replacing a previous drummer but joining the band before they had recorded an album. He became the only band member to play on all six of their albums. Their iconic song, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” owed both its name and its length to Bushy: His drum solo took up much of its 17-minute run time, and he misheard singer Doug Ingle’s slurred words when he sang the words “In the Garden of Eden.” The misunderstanding stuck, and the song went on to become one of the formative influences on hard rock and heavy metal. Bushy remained with Iron Butterfly through a series of breakups and reformations, and he continued to drum for them off and on for the rest of his life. He also played in the bands the Voxmen, Magic, and Gold.

Bushy on recording “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”

“[A]fter our tour, we went straight into Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, L.I. Don Caselle was the engineer. We set up our equipment and Don says, ‘Guys, why don’t you just start playing and let me get some mic levels.’ We decided let’s do ‘Vida…’ we played the entire song without stopping. To make a long story short, when we finished, he said, ‘Guys, come into the control room.’ We listened to it and were blown away.” —from a 2021 interview for Vinyl Writer Music

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Tributes to Ron Bushy

Full obituary: Rolling Stone

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