Erik Braunn, lead guitarist with Iron Butterfly during the heavy metal band’s greatest success, died of cardiac arrest Friday in Los Angeles. He was 52.
Braunn, a violin prodigy, began his musical career at 4. He was born in Pekin, Ill., but raised in L.A. He was 16 when he joined Iron Butterfly and spent 1967-69 on tour with the band. He was lead guitarist on the band’s 1968 anthem “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”
Braunn and Doug Ingle, Ron Bushy and Lee Dorman made their mark on musical history with their psychedelic 17-minute “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The album of the same name went platinum and stayed on the national sales chart two years. A three-minute version became a Top 40 radio hit.
Braunn occasionally reunited with the band for performances and worked as a songwriter, musician and producer until his death.