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

Ora Sawyers

Ian McDonald, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter very best regarded for his co-founding roles in equally King Crimson and Foreigner, died Wednesday at the age of 75. A rep for McDonald confirmed the musician’s dying, adding that McDonald “passed absent peacefully on February 9, 2022 in his dwelling in New York Metropolis, surrounded by his relatives.” His son reported on Facebook that the induce was most cancers.

McDonald was regarded as one particular of the vital architects of progressive rock, playing each saxophone and keyboards in King Crimson and co-creating its iconic 1969 debut, In the Court docket of the Crimson King. The record’s opening track, “21st Century Schizoid Gentleman,” featured McDonald’s wild double-tracked alto-sax solo, which he performed the identical 12 months at a famous live performance in London’s Hyde Park. He remaining King Crimson prior to the year was more than, shifting on to a duo project with Crimson drummer Michael Giles. He would also look as a session musician on King Crimson’s 1975 vintage, Purple.

“Ian’s contribution to King Crimson was invaluable and profound,” read a assertion on the web page for Willpower World wide Cellular, King Crimson’s report label.

Later on, McDonald co-launched rock outfit Foreigner with guitarist Mick Jones, participating in several devices and singing on their 1st three LPs — all of which cracked the Prime 10. 

“When I had the strategy of forming Foreigner, Ian McDonald was amongst the first I turned to,” Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones wrote on Fb on Friday. “He was and usually will be a large on the English progressive rock scene. He was a musician of wonderful substance and flexibility. … He will be regrettably skipped.”

McDonald also performed as a session saxist on T. Rex’s vintage 1971 album, Electrical Warrior, and later reunited with component of the original Crimson lineup as a member of the 21st Century Schizoid Band. His ultimate key venture was the rootsy rock band Honey West. 

Ian McDonald was born in Osterley, Middlesex, in England, in 1946. He served for five several years in the British Military, enjoying in a jazz band. He collaborated with the team Giles, Giles, and Fripp — an early undertaking that includes fellow Crimson co-founders Robert Fripp and Michael Giles that planted the seeds for King Crimson. His jazz sensibility was key to the early King Crimson seem. A piece that he wrote for the army band known as “Three Score and Four” would change into the midsection of “21st Century Schizoid Person.”

“I was extremely into points like Stan Kenton and these kind of big bands at the time,” McDonald explained to Rolling Stone in 2019. “I was nonetheless in the Army. I wrote this piece called ‘Three Score and 4,’ and we put it into ‘Schizoid Man’ there. That total portion is mine that I lifted from that score that I had published.”

He also aided fill out the song’s legendary doomy opening riff. A single day, at the band’s rehearsal room in the basement of London’s Fulham Palace Cafe, singer-bassist Greg Lake played the to start with half and McDonald included the relaxation.

“Greg came out with this six-be aware line in the rehearsal home,” he recalled. “As quickly as he played that, I went to the Mellotron and went ‘daaah-daaah-dah,’ the chromatic run-up that follows it.”

King Crimson started out executing close to London in the spring of 1969, and quickly made a track record as a fearsome and very unique band.

“We hadn’t truly heard everything else like it,” former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett advised Rolling Stone of seeing Crimson are living in all those early days. “You had that kind of cost-free-jazz sensibility, but it was completed with rock sensibility. And you had the guitar being twinned with the sax the full time, so it was a quite angular technique. It was the precision of the piece that was most exciting.”

McDonald’s sax solo made a substantial impression at the Hyde Park gig. “The significant position of that gig was the total audience mounting to their feet as one and cheering Ian McDonald’s solo all through ‘Schizoid,’” Crimson roadie Richard “Vick” Vickers informed band biographer Sid Smith. “I try to remember the hairs on the back of my neck climbing as the roar from this substantial group went up.” out?v=MM_G0IRLEx4

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

The band embarked on a thriving tour in late 1969, honing a daring, improv-pushed are living demonstrate. But McDonald and drummer Michael Giles swiftly resolved to element approaches with the band. “I was almost certainly not emotionally mature more than enough to take care of it and I just created a alternatively rash final decision to depart with no consulting any individual,” McDonald told Sid Smith. He can be noticed briefly in a trailer for the upcoming King Crimson doc In the Court of the Crimson King, tearing up and apologizing to Fripp for “breaking [his] heart” with the departure.

Following his first stint in Crimson, McDonald produced a duo album with Giles, and invested time as a session player, including sax to T. Rex’s legendary “Get It On,” as effectively as two tracks from King Crimson’s afterwards masterpiece, Purple. He then brought his multi-instrumental abilities to the British-American band Foreigner, which he established with guitarist Mick Jones and singer Lou Gramm in New York in 1976. McDonald performed on all of the band’s major early hits — like FM staples like “Feels Like the Initially Time,” “Head Games,” Hot Blooded,” “Double Eyesight,” and “Head Games.” He also co-generated the group’s initial 3 albums, 1977’s Foreigner, 1978’s Double Vision, and 1979’s Head Games. out?v=1dIBOPyb4A0

McDonald would return to both of those the King Crimson and Foreigner orbits in later on years. In 2002, he reunited with previous Crimson bandmate Michael Giles in the 21st Century Schizoid Band, which played the initial Crimson repertoire. He also appeared are living with Foreigner from 2017 to 2019.

McDonald also worked at several times with fellow prog mainstays Steve Hackett and John Wetton, Stories singer Ian Lloyd and Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble. He co-founded Honey West with guitarist-vocalist Ted Zurkowski, and the band produced its debut, Poor Aged Entire world, in 2017.

In later on a long time, McDonald remained specially happy of his role in authentic King Crimson lineup. “We had been a excellent band, what can I say?” he instructed Rolling Stone in 2019. “It was genuinely intriguing tunes, and the live shows have been a great deal of exciting. The improvisations, we just utilized to go off in really bizarre areas and we’d guidance each and every other… We dependable every single other.” out?v=FyzWDl0nz00

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