Ian McDonald founder of Foreigner and King Crimson dies aged 75

The multi-instrumentalist and songwriter best known for his role as founder of rock group’s King Crimson and Foreigner, Ian McDonald dies aged 75 according to his representative. McDonald apparently passed away peacefully on February 9 at his home in New York surrounded by his family.
McDonald had cancer according to his son.
McDonald who played saxophone and keyboards for King Crimson also wrote their iconic 1969 debut “In the court of the crimson king”, as well as many others before leaving the group less than a year later. He did however appear on later albums as a session musician.
King Crimson’s label Discipline Global Mobile said on their website: “Ian’s contribution to King Crimson was invaluable and profound.”
McDonald then founded rock group Foreigner with guitarist Mick Jones, playing a variety of instruments as well as singing on their first three LPs. All three of the albums, Foreigner, Double Visions and Head Games, cracked the top 10.

He also appeared as a session saxophonist on T Rex’s classic 1971 album, Electric Warrior.
Born in Osterley, Middlesex, in England, in 1946, McDonald served for five years in the British Army where he played in a jazz band. He collaborated with the group Giles, Giles, and Fripp, a precursor to King Crimson. His jazz sensibility was key to the early King Crimson sound. A piece that he wrote for the army band called “Three Score and Four” would turn into the midsection of “21st Century Schizoid Man.”
King Crimson started performing around London in the spring of 1969, and immediately developed a reputation as a fearsome and highly original band.
“We hadn’t really heard anything else like it,” former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett told Rolling Stone of seeing Crimson live in those early days. “You had that sort of free-jazz sensibility, but it was done with rock sensibility. And you had the guitar being twinned with the sax the whole time, so it was a very angular approach. It was the precision of the piece that was most interesting.”
McDonald’s sax solo made a huge impression at the Hyde Park gig. “The high point of that gig was the whole audience rising to their feet as one and cheering Ian McDonald’s solo during ‘Schizoid,’” Crimson roadie Richard “Vick” Vickers told band biographer Sid Smith. “I remember the hairs on the back of my neck rising as the roar from this huge crowd went up.”
A true great Ian McDonald, who dies aged 75.


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Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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