Ian McDonald Passed Away

“It’s really all the same. Some people used to say to me, ‘How can you do FOREIGNER after you’ve been in KING CRIMSON?’ But it doesn’t make any difference to me. I just apply myself to whatever the situation or the environment calls for,” Ian McDonald, who passed away at the age of 75 on February 9th, said to me a few years ago. One of the quietest, if well-heard, architects of clever rock, what would be called progressive later, he was lucky to have played in – or, rather, instrumental in creating of – not one but two legendary ensembles, and performed on many a prominent record, yet never thought of himself as a trailblazer in the pop-reeds department.

“I’m certainly not a sax player but I did study the flute in recent years. I went to a classical flute teacher, and for a while I was concentrating on that because I wanted to improve my playing and my two-tone,” stated Ian, despite his melodious lines shining on the likes of “Long, Long Way from Home” and “I Talk To The Wind” and his talent as a composer blinding on "In The Court Of The Crimson King" that McDonald co-wrote. The veteran’s solo career didn’t bring him a lot of success, the acclaim for the “McDonald and Giles” collaboration notwithstanding, although 1990’s “Drivers Eyes” with many guests, was brilliant, and HONEY WEST’s "Bad Old World" that he co-fronted was impressive, too. Sadly, this work proved to be the artist’s last. Stricken with cancer, he quietly bowed out to be sorely missed.

February 11, 2022

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