Say It's Your Birthday: Iron Butterfly's Lee Dorman

It's also Justine Frischmann of Elastica's birthday today. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Lee Dorman, the second bassist for Iron Butterfly, the

band that built a career out of a riff, was born today in 1942. Dorman replaced

original bassist Jerry Penrod in 1968, the same year the band's seminal album,

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita, featuring the 17-minute title track that would

become the band's trademark, was released. Formed in 1966, Iron Butterfly were

considered one of the leading hard-rock bands of the day, and although they are

now remembered as one-hit wonders, the band sold over 7 million albums

(admittedly, 4 million of those were from In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita alone).

Doug Ingle, Iron Butterfly's keyboardist, organist, and lead vocalist, formed

the band in Los Angeles in 1966 at age 20; by 1967, the band had a recording

contract on the strength of their local shows at the Whiskey. Heavy, the

band's debut album, stayed on the charts for nearly a year, still, in 1968,

three of the band's original members left, opening the door for Dorman. The

band would peak the following year, as In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita became

Atlantic's biggest selling album to date, and their next effort, 1969's

Ball, hit #3 on the album charts. In 1969 the band's personnel went

through more changes, adding duel guitars; however, the band would only release

one more album, 1971's aptly named Metamorphosis before disbanding that

same year. Various reincarnations of the band have appeared over the years,

none meeting with very much success, and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita," in all its

17-minute glory, remains a staple of classic-rock radio. Also born today:

Elastica leader Justine Frischmann, saxophonist Cannonball Adderly (1928); and

the Fireballs' Jimmy Gilmer (1940). --Seth Mnookin