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On this day in music history: June 14, 1968 - “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, the second album by Iron Butterfly is released. Produced by Don Casale, it is recorded at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, CA, and Ultra-Sonic Studios in Hempstead, Long Island, NY in Early 1968. The San Diego, CA based psychedelic rock band, after having gone through numerous personnel changes since forming two years earlier in 1966, return to the studio in early 1968 to record the follow up to their debut release “Heavy” issued in January of 1968. The albums centerpiece is the title track, clocking in at an epic 17:05, it takes up the entire second side of the LP. The final track recorded for the album, the song is originally titled “In The Garden Of Eden” but lead singer and organist Doug Ingle slurs the words due to being drunk while recording the track. The master take of “Vida” is captured in a single take with the final recording having only meant to be a sound check before formal recording began. The engineer happened to have the tape rolling during the sound check, and once the band hears the results, decide that another take is not necessary. Also released as a severely edited single (#30 Pop) for AM radio airplay (2:53), “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” quickly becomes the bands signature song and establish them as an influential and seminal band in hard rock and instrumental in the development of heavy metal music. The song is later covered by Boney M., Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band and Slayer. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is also brilliantly parodied on “The Simpsons” on the episode “Bart Sells His Soul”, originally airing on October 8, 1995. Bart tricks Reverend Lovejoy’s congregation into singing the song, handing out sheet music and making the parishioners believe that is a hymn titled “In The Garden Of Eden” by “I. Ron Butterfly”. The gag ends with the elderly church organist collapsing on the keyboard after playing the seventeen minute long song. It is remastered and reissued on CD in 1995 with two additional bonus tracks, also being reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Rhino Records in 2009. A limited edition LP pressing of the classic album is issued for Record Store Day in 2010. Another pressing, pressed on clear splatter colored “psychedelic” 180 gram vinyl is released as part of Rhino’s “Start Your Ear Off Right” series in January of 2017, and is limited to 4,000 copies. That issue also replicates the original 60’s era Atco labels found on the initial pressing, with the LP jackets constructed of heavy cardboard (rather than printed on white poster board like modern LP’s), with the cover artwork slicks pasted to them like the original release sleeves. “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” peaks at number four on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 1, 1968 - “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day” by Stevie Wonder hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on May 25, 1968. Written by Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy and Stevie Wonder, it is the fourth R&B chart topper for the then eighteen year-old Motown star. Cut in early 1968 at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with members of The Funk Brothers providing musical support, the track features Wonder’s first use of the Hohner Clavinet (an electrically amplified clavichord), an instrument that features prominently throughout his career and on several future hits including his cover of The Beatles “We Can Work It Out” and “Superstition”. Released initially as a stand alone single on April 30, 1968, it quickly races up the R&B and pop singles charts. “Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day” is also included on Stevie Wonder’s next studio album “For Once In My Life” released in December of 1968. The song is later covered by Michael Jackson on his second solo album “Ben” in 1972.

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