The Pop History Dig

“…No Satisfaction”
1965-1966

The young Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s brought plenty of “attitude” to their music. From left: Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.
The young Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s brought plenty of “attitude” to their music. From left: Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.
     Did one rock ’n roll song of the mid-1960s provide a kind of social dividing line —  a musical bright line separating old and new?  Did one song lay down, in a popular way, a kind of generational and values  demarcation?  

     Certainly there were any number of songs at that time heralding the new generation’s outlook and values — in  lyrics, distinctive sound, and in some cases, musical “attitude.”  

     Bob Dylan, for one — the leading tr0ubadour of the  1960s — had begun offering his interpretations by the early 1960s.  His “Blowin` in the Wind” and “The Times They Are A Changin`” were much in the air by 1963. 

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“Satisfaction”-1965
[scroll down for lyrics]

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     But in May 1965, a young British rock group named the Rolling Stones recorded a rock song called “Satisfaction”– also known by its longer title, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”  By July 1965, “Satisfaction” had been released in the U.S. and soon became a gigantic hit.  This song, however, was something more than merely good rock `n roll.  In its way, and perhaps in a more popular mainstream sense, “Satisfaction”  became the pop/rock equivalent of what Dylan and other folk/protest musicians were offering to somewhat less mainstream audiences.  “Satisfaction” was a hard-rock tune with a driving sound, but with lyrics that were also aimed at the status quo; a song that expressed a distinct “dis-satisfaction” with the way things were.

Sample record sleeve from 1965 for the Rolling Stones’ song “Satisfaction,” with B-side title, “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” Decca Records.
Sample record sleeve from 1965 for the Rolling Stones’ song “Satisfaction,” with B-side title, “The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man,” Decca Records.
     The Rolling Stones had formed their band in the early 1960s playing mostly cover versions of American rhythm and blues(R&B) music and Chicago blues and rock n’ roll artists, including Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and others.  Their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, a former Beatles publicist, later encouraged the Stones to write their own pop songs as the Beatles were doing.  Brian Jones, a talented guitarist who had once led the group and would later die in a drowning accident, preferred the R & B path.  But lead singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards soon began writing pop rock ‘n roll songs, taking the group in what would prove to be a very successful direction.  “Satisfaction” would become their  landmark hit; their big breakthrough.


The Song

     Keith Richards played a key inventor’s role with this song.  In early May 1965, as the Rolling Stones were on tour in the U.S., it was Richards who came up with “Satisfaction’s” opening guitar riff — the distinctive, flat-sounding twang that powers the song throughout and its signature sound.  Story has it that Richards woke up in the middle of the night during the U.S. tour and recorded the guitar riff into a tape recorder that he kept at his bedside for unexpected moments of inspiration.  Then he went back to sleep.  Next morning he played the riff for Mick Jagger, offering one lyric he had in mind for the song – “I can’t get no satisfaction.”  Jagger would later say he thought that line was possibly influenced subconsciously by Richards’ listening to a 1955 Chuck Berry song titled “30 Days,” a tune which has a similar line – “I don’t get no satisfaction from the judge”.  The guitar riff developed by Richards in any case, was initially not set for guitar, but thought as a guide for horns.  Jagger, meanwhile, fleshed out more of “Satisfaction’s” lyrics one afternoon while on tour, later admitting to incorporating some of his own feelings at the time about the media and advertising.

“Satisfaction”
Rolling Stones-1965

I can’t get no satisfaction,
I can’t get no satisfaction.
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can’t get no, I can’t get no.

When I’m drivin’ in my car
and that man comes on the radio
and he’s tellin’ me more and more
about some useless information
supposed to drive my imagination.
I can’t get no, oh no no no.
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say.

(repeat refrain)
…I can’t get no satisfaction,
I can’t get no satisfaction.
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can’t get no, I can’t get no.

When I’m watchin’ my TV
and a man comes on to tell me
how white my shirts can be.
Well he can’t be a man ’cause he doesn’t
smoke the same cigarettes as me.
I can’t get no, oh, no no no.
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say.

I can’t get no satisfaction,
I can’t get no girl reaction.
‘Cause I try and I try and I try and I try.
I can’t get no, I can’t get no.

When I’m ridin’ round the world
and I’m doin’ this and I’m signing that
and I’m tryin’ to make some girl
who tells me baby better come back
                                       later next week
’cause you see I’m on a losing streak.
I can’t get no, oh no no no.
Hey hey hey, that’s what I say.

I can’t get no, I can’t get no,
I can’t get no satisfaction,
no satisfaction, no satisfaction,
no satisfaction….

     The Stones, still on tour in the U.S. at the time, continued to work on the song between performances.  In Chicago, they took it into the Chess recording studios, working on it there May 10, 1965.  Two days later in Los Angeles, California, they completed it during a long session at RCA’s studios.  It was in this session that Richards reportedly rigged up a version of a “fuzz box” to his guitar which gave the opening riff he’d invented its distinctive sound, helping send “Satisfaction” straight up the charts.

     In that summer of 1965, there was no shortage of rock ‘n roll music.  New songs were coming from all directions – Detroit’s Motown, the California surf scene, and a wave of new British artists.  Among the tunes at or near the top of the charts that summer were songs such as: “Help Me, Rhonda” by The Beach Boys, “Mr. Tambourine Man” by The Byrds, and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher.  But “Satisfaction” was different; the song stood out and apart.  It had something about it that made it more than just a song.  Though it was certainly musically appealing to the youth of that day, “Satisfaction” was also music with a message.

     A share of popular and folk music by then had begun to take a more serious and cynical tack.  Bob Dylan, as mentioned earlier, was having a profound influence, not only in folk and protest music, but also in mainstream rock `n roll.  Dylan’s songs in 1962-1965, such as: “Blowin’ in The Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall“, “Masters of War,” and “The Times They Are A-Changin`,” as well as songs by other protest songwriters, had opened a new window for 1960s’ music, bringing social commentary to song writing.  The Rolling Stones and other groups at that time were greatly influenced by Dylan’s music.  And “Satisfaction” – though not a protest song per se – was clearly one of those songs that had picked up on the idea of adding some “message” to the music.

     Although the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement were both underway by mid-1965, “Satisfaction” was not a song aimed at those troubles per se.  Rather, “Satisfaction” at the time was more of a general angst tune; a song that captured the frustrations bubbling up with the younger generation on a number of fronts, Vietnam and civil rights included.  Conventional wisdom and social values were then being challenged all around and “Satisfaction” chimed in with lyrics aimed at superficial advertising and uptight sexual mores.“Satisfaction” had enough attitude and swagger to wilt any set of established values its listeners might target. It  became an all- purpose anti-etablishment anthem.

     The plea of the narrator/singer in this song is a guy who is frustrated with the “useless information” and advertising hype he hears on radio and TV, plus his own personal plight of not being able to score with the ladies. The guy is essentially throwing up his hands in frustration with life in general: he just isn’t getting any satisfaction on any level.  Millions of young people then were trying to make their way in the world, and many weren’t happy or “satisfied” with what they saw around them.

     The song’s lyrics, for their day, were controversial, in part, because they challenged the prevailing cultural mores.  Perceived as an attack on the status quo, the song could be threatening to older listeners.  “Satisfaction”  offered plenty of attitude – not only in its lyrics, but also in its sound and the way the Stones delivered the song.   “Satisfaction,” in fact, had enough attitude and swagger to wilt any set of established values its listeners might choose to target.  It became an all-purpose, anti-establishment anthem with broad applicability.  The song was a good fit for its times and audience.


Breakthrough

The Rolling Stones pictured on “Satisfaction” record sleeve, from left: Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger (looking a bit out of it), and Brian Jones, 1965-66.
The Rolling Stones pictured on “Satisfaction” record sleeve, from left: Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger (looking a bit out of it), and Brian Jones, 1965-66.
     For the Rolling Stones, “Satisfaction” proved to be the breakthrough song; the one that set them apart and sent them on their way toward superstardom. The group performed “Satisfaction” on American TV even before the single was released in the States.  On May 20, 1965, they appeared on the ABC show Shindig! from Los Angeles.  “Satisfaction” was released as a U.S. single by London Records on June 6th,1965, with another somewhat obscure song on its B-side, “The Under-Assistant West Coast Promotion Man.”  The Stones were then touring in the U.S., the third time they’d been to the States.  But at the time they were still a new group to many in America.  As part of this tour, for example, on May 4th, 1965, they performed at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia.  On June 5, 1965 they played to about 3,000 people at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, Florida.  “Satisfaction,” meanwhile, had entered the Billboard Hot 100 that week and rose to No. 1 by July 10th, displacing The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself.”  The song was also featured on the Rolling Stones’ third U.K. album, Out of Our Heads, also released in the U.S. in July 1965.

Keith Richards & Brian Jones comparing guitar licks,1960s.
Keith Richards & Brian Jones comparing guitar licks,1960s.
     Glenn Gass, a professor at the School of Music at Indiana University, told ABC News decades later on the 45th anniversary of “Satisfaction,” that although there were many great songs that year from groups such as the Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, the Byrds, the Four Tops and others, “Satisfaction” nonetheless “claimed that summer.”  The song held the top spot on the record charts for four weeks until August 7, 1965, when another English band, Herman’s Hermits, hit No. 1 with their tune, “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am.”  Still, “Satisfaction” remained on the Billboard charts for 14 weeks.  The song sold 500,000 copies in its first eight weeks, giving the Stones their first official gold record award by the Recording Industry Association of America.  The song also put the Stones on the path to “Beatles-level” popularity.  “They were already going strong,” said Indiana University’s Gass of the Stones’ growing popularity then, “but that song put them in the Beatles’ stratosphere of rarified air.”“…It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band…”
                    – Mick Jagger
 Mick Jagger himself would later acknowledge much the same in a 1995 interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine:

“…It was the song that really made the Rolling Stones, changed us from just another band into a huge, monster band.  You always need one song.  We weren’t American, and America was a big thing and we always wanted to make it here.  It was very impressive the way that song and the popularity of the band became a worldwide thing.  It’s a signature tune, really,…a kind of signature that everyone knows.  It has a very catchy title.  It has a very catchy guitar riff.  It has a great guitar sound, which was original at that time.  And it captures a spirit of the times, which is very important in those kinds of songs… Which was alienation.  Or it’s a bit more than that, maybe, but a kind of sexual alienation.  Alienation’s not quite the right word, but it’s one word that would do.”

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1967, two years after “Satisfaction” was released.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in 1967, two years after “Satisfaction” was released.
     “Satisfaction” did, however, in the mid-1960s, tread upon sensitive ground with its lyrics suggesting frustrated adolescent sexuality — i.e., not getting any “girl reaction” – interpreted by some listeners and radio programmers as meaning a girl willing to have sex.  In fact, when the Rolling Stones performed the song on the TV show Shindig! in 1965, the line “trying to make some girl” was censored.  And again, when they performed it later on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1966 the same line – “trying to make some girl”– was not used.

     “Satisfaction” also put rock music, and the Rolling Stones, on something of a more raucous, more bawdy, harder-edge path – a distinction some would later draw in comparisons to the Beatles.  The Beatles, of course, had just been through their 1964-1965 “Beatlemania” period with a phenomenal run of pop hits and lots of “yeah, yeah, yeah.”  The Stones, on the other hand, were coming on with a little different sound; providing music that had more of an R&B- and blues-tinge to it.  “Satisfaction” was a “great ‘no’ to the Beatles’ ‘yeah’,” offered Glenn Gass from Indiana University in a 2010 interview with ABC News at the song’s 45th anniversary.  Others, including writer Tom Wolfe, would go farther.  “The Beatles,” he once famously wrote, “just want to hold your hand.  The Rolling Stones want to burn your town down” – an exaggeration, of course, but the message was plain.

Ed Sullivan talking with Mick Jagger; Keith Richards in background, at another, later show rehearsal, January 15, 1967.
Ed Sullivan talking with Mick Jagger; Keith Richards in background, at another, later show rehearsal, January 15, 1967.
     But it wasn’t just the Stones who were supplying that harder edge to rock music.  In 1964 there had also been bluesy songs like the Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun,” and even the Beatles did their raucous cover of “Twist and Shout” that year.  The Stones themselves also had the bluesy 1964 hit, “Time is On My Side,” which rose to No. 6 that November.  Bob Dylan, meanwhile, had “Like A Rolling Stone” in the summer of 1965, a landmark message song.  Still, “Satisfaction” grabbed center-stage attention at the time, appealing to mainstream rock audiences in a new way.  It was a distinctive turn.  After 1965-1966, of course, the music would change again, and the change would escalate, with much more innovation, new sounds, and good music to come – from the Stones, Dylan, the Beatles, and many others.

     The Stones, for their part, would follow “Satisfaction” with a long list of other 1960s’ hits, such as: “Get Off My Cloud” and “As Tears Go By” in 1965; “Paint it Black” and “19th Nervous Breakdown” in 1966; “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday” in 1967; “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” and “Street Fighting Man” in 1968; “Sympathy for the Devil” and “Honky Tonk Woman” in 1969, and many more.  The Stones, in fact, were just getting started in the 1960s, with about four more decades of music-making and performing ahead of them.  “Satisfaction,” meanwhile, would experience a spike in sales after being heard in movies such as Apocalypse Now in 1979 or Starman of 1994, as well as during and after the Stone’s many concert tours.

In November 2004, Rolling Stone magazine put “Satisfaction” at No. 2 among its ‘500 Greatest’ songs.
In November 2004, Rolling Stone magazine put “Satisfaction” at No. 2 among its ‘500 Greatest’ songs.
     Over the years, “Satisfaction” has been accorded high honors in the pantheon of rock `n roll.  The song has been noted in various “top 100 lists” by Vox, BMI , VH1, MTV, Q magazine and other media and rock music venues.  Newsweek once called the song’s opening guitar riff, “five notes that shook the world.”  In November 2004, Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at No. 2 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”– second only to Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”.  In 2006, “Satisfaction” was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry, songs deemed to be among those that are culturally and/or historically significant.

     Other stories at this website on the Rolling Stones, their music, and business history include, for example, “Paint It Black” (song history & subsequent uses); “Stones Gather Dollars” (how the Rolling Stones helped develop a lucrative concert touring model); “Start Me Up” (Bill Gates & Windows 95 theme song), and “Shine A Light, 2008” (Rolling Stones film trailer).  Additional story choices on other topics at this website may be found on the Home Page or in the Archive.  Thanks for visiting — and if you like what you see here, please consider supporting this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle


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Date Posted: 11 July 2011
Last Update: 11 March 2012
Comments to: jdoyle@pophistorydig.com

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “…No Satisfaction, 1965-1966,”
PopHistoryDig.com, July 11, 2011.

____________________________________


 


Sources, Links & Additional Information

Young Rolling Stones, London, England,1963: From left: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones (1942 - 1969), Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.
Young Rolling Stones, London, England,1963: From left: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones (1942 - 1969), Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts.
Decca record label for Rolling Stones’ 1965 song, “Satisfaction,” by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards.
Decca record label for Rolling Stones’ 1965 song, “Satisfaction,” by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards.
Young Rolling Stones, early 1960s, U.K. street scene.
Young Rolling Stones, early 1960s, U.K. street scene.
Screen shot from Rolling Stones' performance in the October 1964 T.A.M.I. Show, filmed in Santa Monica, CA, where they performed “Time in On My Side” and “It’s All Over Now,” among others.
Screen shot from Rolling Stones' performance in the October 1964 T.A.M.I. Show, filmed in Santa Monica, CA, where they performed “Time in On My Side” and “It’s All Over Now,” among others.
Mid-1960s: Rolling Stones shown with wunderkind studio producer, Phil Spector, with sunglasses.
Mid-1960s: Rolling Stones shown with wunderkind studio producer, Phil Spector, with sunglasses.
Mick Jagger on stage, with Keith Richards and Brian Jones behind him, as Stones debut “Jumpin Jack Flash” at a New Musical Express (NME) concert in the U.K., May 1968.
Mick Jagger on stage, with Keith Richards and Brian Jones behind him, as Stones debut “Jumpin Jack Flash” at a New Musical Express (NME) concert in the U.K., May 1968.

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“Iron Butterfly”
1968-2007

Cover of Iron Butterfly’s June 1968 Atco album which included the famous ''In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'' track.
Cover of Iron Butterfly’s June 1968 Atco album which included the famous ''In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida'' track.
     Iron Butterfly.  That’s the name of a rock group – a rock group from 1968.  The name made eminent sense then, of course.  It was the time of psychedelic music – music associated with mind-altering, hallucinogenic drugs.  Butterfly imagery was cool at the time, part of the “counter-cultural” fare and quite acceptable.  As for the “iron” part, well yes, that was psychedelically appropriate, too.  But perhaps you had to be doing drugs to grasp the full meaning and context of how “heavy” it all was….

     In any case, Iron Butterfly was a group that made the music of its day.  Four California musicians established the group in 1966.  Vocalist, organist, and bandleader, Doug Ingle, formed the first version of the group in San Diego with drummer Ron Bushy and two others.

     The Iron Butterfly sound was long and heavy.  The group’s style was similar to that of acts such as Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf.  Iron Butterfly’s music helped provide a bridge of sorts from the “psychedelia sound” to the heavy metal music that followed, influencing groups from Deep Purple to Led Zeppelin.  “Now remembered as a passing fancy of the acid-rock era,” observes one writer describing the group in the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll, “at its peak Iron Butterfly was considered a leading hard rock band.” 

Record sleeve for single version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,”1968.
Record sleeve for single version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,”1968.
     The most famous of Iron Butterfly’s songs that emerged in June-July 1968 was “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” a 17-minute, mostly instrumental feast of organ and electric guitar that typified the psychedelic sound that summer.   The song also used some repeating, mostly unintelligible lyrics.  The song’s title was derived – sort of – from “in the garden of Eden.”  The track was written by vocalist, organist, and bandleader, Doug Ingle.

     Legend has it that Ingle wrote the song when he was in his cups, or worse, spending the day drinking red wine, as former band mate Ron Bushy recounted in a 2006 interview.  But when Ingle was asked about the song’s title, he couldn’t pronounce it correctly, so Bushy wrote it down as he heard it, phonetically.  “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was the translation, and the name stuck.  As for the music, in its day, the song hit the mark – especially in extended play.  And that was important in the event its listeners were in an “altered state,” as some might have called back then, also known as “stoned.”  In such condition, devotees of the band could listen to “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for hours.  But that was 1968.

     Called a one-hit wonder by some, and worse by others, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is a tune that can’t be dismissed or laughed off, however.  For in its day, this song and its album by the same name, sold millions and millions of copies.  The album was released by Iron Butterfly in mid-June 1968, with the song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” comprising the entire first side of the vinyl edition. It sold more than 4 million copies right out of the gate – and millions more later that year.“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” is no joke; it is ranked among the 50 best-selling albums in the world, and by some counts has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.  According to one Wikipedia list, the album version of In-A-Gadda -Da-Vida, is ranked among the 50 best-selling albums in the world.  Iron Butterfly’s website reports that the album has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.  In July 1968, a shortened version of the song, adapted for radio play, was released by ATCO records in a 2:53 minute format.  The single also climbed into the Top 30.  The album stayed on the Billboard albums chart for 140 weeks, 81 of them in the Top 10.  Part of Iron Butterfly’s initial national exposure was attributed to being an opening act for The Doors and Jefferson Airplane, two major and more popular groups of that era.  Iron Butterfly’s album, meanwhile, broke sales records and far exceeded the music industry’s then “gold album” standard, selling eight million copies in its first year.  In fact, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida received the industry’s first “platinum album” award for exceeding one million in sales.  The award was created and presented by then-president of ATCO Records, Ahmet Ertegun, a famous record executive who helped advance the careers of many artists.


The Fidelity Ad

 

      “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” left enough of a psychic imprint on the boomer generation that Fidelity Investments found it worthy of use as a musical hook in one of its 2006 retirement planning TV ads.  The song would be one of several in the Fidelity pantheon of rock-driven commercials the firm would use around that time to pitch its financial products to baby boomers.  Known by some as the “Flower Power” ad, the Fidelity commercial uses an animated scene of 1960s-style psychedelic flowers and butterflies as a brief, 30-second  selection from the song plays. 

     As the flowers grow in the scene and the music plays, Fidelity begins its pitch in print with a question:  “Is your IRA blooming?”  The ad then continues to another scene with more flowers branching out.  “It can help to plant the right fund,” appears next on the screen.  The music continues.  “Consider the Fidelity Strategic Income Fund,” says the next scene, followed by a frame which shows that fund as a plant branching out with various numeric rates of income yield.  Then comes the narrator with the final punchline: “Need a little flower power?”  His answer: “Our retirement specialists can help.  Call 1-800-Fidelity.  Smart move.”  As the animation continues, the words “No Loads.  No IRA Fees” appear in a hedgerow.  Then on the final screen, “Fidelity Investments, Smart Move” appears amid the flowers as the ad ends.

1968 French record sleeve for Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” single.
1968 French record sleeve for Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” single.
     Other versions of the ad for different Fidelity funds used somewhat different visuals.  But the lyrics heard in the commercials – certainly not “investment grade,” some might say – typically used the following lines:

In-a-gadda-da-vida, honey
Don’t you know that I love you?
In-a-gadda-da-vida, baby
Don’t you know that I’ll always be true?

     In September 2005, Fidelity had begun using rock music to reach boomers, beginning with former Beatle Paul McCartney, who launched the Fidelity ad series using some Wings music on ABC-TV’s widely-watched Monday Night Football program.  In March and April 2006, as Fidelity continued to air its campaign, Fidelity spokeswoman Jenny Engle explained that her company chose “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for use in the campaign specifically to target boomers, calling the song “a classic anthem for a lot of people” in that age group.  “The key is to catch people’s attention,” Engle said at the time. The spot was created by Arnold Worldwide in Boston, MA.  The Fidelity “Flower Power” TV ad also appeared during the February 2007 Grammy Awards show.


Boomer Bucks?

     After the ad’s initial run in 2006, San Diego Union Tribune reporter Michael Stetz tracked down some of the band’s founders, by then in their mid-60s.  “I guess the method to their madness,” said former Iron Butterfly drummer Ron Bushy,     …Fidelity must have thought that “all the baby boomers who got stoned listening to that song are now all grown up and have money.” referring to Fidelity’s use of the music, “is that all the baby boomers who got stoned listening to that song are now all grown up and have money.”  Bushy, 64, was then living in the Los Angeles area.  Bushy’s investments, however, were not with Fidelity.  Bushy and Lee Dorman, another band member, didn’t know that “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” was going to be used to sell mutual funds and IRAs until they saw the ad on TV.  Meanwhile, Iron Butterfly the band – although in somewhat different form as of 2006 – was still touring occasionally, and Bushy and Dorman figured the ad could only spread their music around to their benefit.  More royalties would come in for band members, and as Bushy pondered the possibilities: “Maybe we’ll get a lot more gigs,” he offered.  No word on how many new accounts came to Fidelity as a result of its boomer campaign.

Poster for March 1968 “St. Paddy's Medicine Show,” Pasadena Exhibition Hall, featuring Iron Butterfly, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Steppenwolf, Jackson Browne & others.
Poster for March 1968 “St. Paddy's Medicine Show,” Pasadena Exhibition Hall, featuring Iron Butterfly, Peanut Butter Conspiracy, Steppenwolf, Jackson Browne & others.
     Over the years, “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” has also found its way into a number of other commercial uses, including as background music in various TV series —  from The Simpsons to Seinfeld.  In House M.D., the song is heard in Episode 23 of Season 3, after a patient ingests some magic mushrooms as part of a treatment for cluster headaches.  In the TV series Supernatural, it is used in episode 6, “Skin,” of season 1.  The song was also used in television’s Criminal Minds series, season 1, episode 16, titled “The Tribe” in the opening scene.  “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” has also been used in Hollywood films such as Manhunter in 1986 and Resident Evil: Extinction in 2007.  And in video games, the song  was scheduled to appear in 2009’s Band Hero, an expansion game in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series of music video games.  In 2011, the song was among those used on ESPN’s Monday Night Football program.

     Other stories at this website on the use of popular music in advertising include, for example, “Madonna’s Pepsi Ad,” “Nike & The Beatles,” “Sting & Jaguar,” “Selling Janis Joplin,” and, “Big Chill Marketing.”  Thanks for visiting. - Jack Doyle


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Date Posted: 29 June 2011
Last Update: 18 October 2011
Comments to: jdoyle@pophistorydig.com

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “Iron Butterfly, 1968-2006,”
PopHistoryDig.com, June 29, 2011.

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Sources, Links & Additional Information

A late 1960s-early 1970s poster, psychedelic style, announcing Iron Butterfly appearance at the Santa Rosa, CA Fairgrounds.
A late 1960s-early 1970s poster, psychedelic style, announcing Iron Butterfly appearance at the Santa Rosa, CA Fairgrounds.
Ticket stub from Aug 24, 1968 concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion, in Maryland.
Ticket stub from Aug 24, 1968 concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion, in Maryland.

“Iron Butterfly,” in Holly George-Warren and Patricia Romanowski (eds), The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, Rolling Stone Press, New York, 3rd Edition, 2001, pp.465-466.

Michael Stetz, “Iron Butterfly’s in An IRA Ad? Bummer,” San Diego Union-Tribune, April 2, 2006.

“Iron Butterfly,” FavoriteMusicians.com, 2008.

Steve Huey, “Iron Butterfly – Biography,”All Music Review.

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”(song), Wikipedia.org.

Brian Steinberg and Ethan Smith, “Advertisers Are Hunting for Fresh Pop Hits,” Wall Street Journal, Friday, June 9, 2006.

Iron Butterfly Website.

“Animated Flowers,”Fidelity TV ad, YouTube.com.

“List of Best-Selling Albums Worldwide,” Wiki- pedia.org.

A Mad Peck Studios Poster announcing an Iron Butterfly appearance in June 1970 in the Providence, Rhode Island area.

Michael Paoletta, Making The Brand: “Flower Power,” Billboard, April 15, 2006, p. 21.

Mark Caro, “In-a-Gadda-Da-Grammys,” Chicago Tribune .com, Feburary 11, 2007.

“Music on ESPN NFL Broadcasts,” ESPN.com, September 11, 2011.

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