King Crimson and Foreigner Co-Founder Ian McDonald Dead at 75

Ian McDonald, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter finest identified for his co-founding roles in equally King Crimson and Foreigner, died Wednesday at the age of 75. A rep for McDonald verified the musician’s demise, adding that McDonald “passed away peacefully on February 9, 2022 in his house in New York City, surrounded by his relatives.” His son described on Fb that the trigger was most cancers.

McDonald was known as just one of the critical architects of progressive rock, enjoying both of those saxophone and keyboards in King Crimson and co-writing its iconic 1969 debut, In the Court of the Crimson King. The record’s opening track, “21st Century Schizoid Gentleman,” showcased McDonald’s wild double-tracked alto-sax solo, which he done the same 12 months at a popular concert in London’s Hyde Park. He left King Crimson ahead of the yr was above, relocating on to a duo task with Crimson drummer Michael Giles. He would also surface as a session musician on King Crimson’s 1975 typical, Purple.

“Ian’s contribution to King Crimson was invaluable and profound,” browse a statement on the web site for Self-control World wide Cell, King Crimson’s history label.

Afterwards, McDonald co-started rock outfit Foreigner with guitarist Mick Jones, playing different instruments and singing on their 1st three LPs — all of which cracked the Best 10. 

“When I had the notion of forming Foreigner, Ian McDonald was amongst the very first I turned to,” Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones wrote on Facebook on Friday. “He was and often will be a huge on the English progressive rock scene. He was a musician of excellent material and versatility. … He will be sadly skipped.”

McDonald also executed as a session saxist on T. Rex’s common 1971 album, Electric powered Warrior, and later reunited with element of the first Crimson lineup as a member of the 21st Century Schizoid Band. His closing big undertaking was the rootsy rock band Honey West. 

Ian McDonald was born in Osterley, Middlesex, in England, in 1946. He served for 5 a long time in the British Army, enjoying in a jazz band. He collaborated with the group Giles, Giles, and Fripp — an early challenge featuring fellow Crimson co-founders Robert Fripp and Michael Giles that planted the seeds for King Crimson. His jazz sensibility was essential to the early King Crimson sound. A piece that he wrote for the military band called “Three Score and Four” would switch into the midsection of “21st Century Schizoid Guy.”

“I was very into things like Stan Kenton and these form of major bands at the time,” McDonald informed Rolling Stone in 2019. “I was even now in the Army. I wrote this piece referred to as ‘Three Rating and 4,’ and we put it into ‘Schizoid Man’ there. That entire area is mine that I lifted from that rating that I had written.”

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He also aided fill out the song’s iconic doomy opening riff. 1 working day, at the band’s rehearsal room in the basement of London’s Fulham Palace Cafe, singer-bassist Greg Lake played the first fifty percent and McDonald additional the relaxation.

“Greg arrived out with this 6-observe line in the rehearsal space,” he recalled. “As soon as he played that, I went to the Mellotron and went ‘daaah-daaah-dah,’ the chromatic operate-up that follows it.”

King Crimson started performing close to London in the spring of 1969, and promptly designed a status as a fearsome and extremely first band.

“We hadn’t truly listened to anything at all else like it,” previous Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett informed Rolling Stone of seeing Crimson live in those people early days. “You experienced that sort of totally free-jazz sensibility, but it was completed with rock sensibility. And you had the guitar being twinned with the sax the complete time, so it was a extremely angular tactic. It was the precision of the piece that was most attention-grabbing.”

McDonald’s sax solo made a large effect at the Hyde Park gig. “The high issue of that gig was the complete viewers rising to their ft as just one and cheering Ian McDonald’s solo through ‘Schizoid,’” Crimson roadie Richard “Vick” Vickers instructed band biographer Sid Smith. “I keep in mind the hairs on the back again of my neck rising as the roar from this big crowd went up.”  

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“Schizoid Man” turned a emphasize of In the Court docket of the Crimson King, which also featured moodier tracks like “Epitaph” and “The Court of the Crimson King” that highlighted McDonald’s talent on other instruments — including the Mellotron, flute and harpsichord. 

The band embarked on a thriving tour in late 1969, honing a daring, improv-pushed are living display. But McDonald and drummer Michael Giles quickly resolved to aspect techniques with the band. “I was in all probability not emotionally experienced plenty of to take care of it and I just designed a somewhat rash determination to go away with no consulting everyone,” McDonald explained to Sid Smith. He can be found briefly in a trailer for the approaching King Crimson doc In the Court docket of the Crimson King, tearing up and apologizing to Fripp for “breaking [his] heart” with the departure.

Immediately after his original stint in Crimson, McDonald produced a duo album with Giles, and expended time as a session player, introducing sax to T. Rex’s iconic “Get It On,” as effectively as two tracks from King Crimson’s later masterpiece, Crimson. He then introduced his multi-instrumental capabilities to the British-American band Foreigner, which he launched with guitarist Mick Jones and singer Lou Gramm in New York in 1976. McDonald performed on all of the band’s most significant early hits — which includes FM staples like “Feels Like the Very first Time,” “Head Video games,” Hot Blooded,” “Double Eyesight,” and “Head Games.” He also co-created the group’s initial a few albums, 1977’s Foreigner, 1978’s Double Eyesight, and 1979’s Head Video games.

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McDonald would return to both the King Crimson and Foreigner orbits in later on yrs. In 2002, he reunited with former Crimson bandmate Michael Giles in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, which played the primary Crimson repertoire. He also appeared stay with Foreigner from 2017 to 2019.

McDonald also labored at various moments with fellow prog mainstays Steve Hackett and John Wetton, Tales singer Ian Lloyd and Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble. He co-founded Honey West with guitarist-vocalist Ted Zurkowski, and the band launched its debut, Negative Outdated Earth, in 2017.

In later yrs, McDonald remained especially happy of his part in first King Crimson lineup. “We have been a good band, what can I say?” he told Rolling Stone in 2019. “It was genuinely fascinating new music, and the dwell shows were a lot of pleasurable. The improvisations, we just made use of to go off in truly weird locations and we’d assist just about every other… We trustworthy each and every other.”

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Kenneth Proto

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