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KING CRIMSON and FOREIGNER founder IAN MCDONALD dead at 75

11-02-2022

Ian McDonald, co-founder of KING CRIMSON and FOREIGNER and revered multi-instrumentalist and producer, has died at the age of 75. No cause of death was revealed but a spokesperson said he “passed away peacefully” surrounded by family at his home in New York City.

McDonald was on board for the first three FOREIGNER albums, “Foreigner” (1977), “Double Vision” (1978) and “Head Games” (1979), as a multi-instrumentalist proficient on reeds, winds, keyboards, and guitar, his primary instrument on stage. Combined with his significant contribution to the landmark KING CRIMSON album “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, also as a founding member, McDonald has figured prominently on four of the biggest-selling albums of the 10-year period from 1969 through 1979, encompassing two completely different rock genres (pop rock and progressive rock).

“I’m quite proud of the fact that the two bands I was a founding member of, KING CRIMSON and FOREIGNER, are still out there playing,” McDonald said in a 2020 interview with Sound & Vision.

McDonald took part in reunions of FOREIGNER’s surviving original members in 2017 and 2018, commemorating the 40th anniversary of that band’s 1977 debut.

Three years ago, McDonald said that he initially had second thoughts about leaving KING CRIMSON after “In The Court Of The Crimson King”, telling The Los Angeles Beat: “I used to have regrets about that, and that I should have stayed at least through the second album. But now I don’t regret it because had I stayed, things would have turned out very differently for me up until this moment… I’m very happy with the way things have played out since then.”

Asked in a 2017 interview with Glide Magazine if he was a musical child, Ian said: “Yeah, I listened to music as a child. There was an old upright piano that I used to plunk a bit on, I suppose. (Laughs) There was a Spanish-style guitar sort of lying around that my father had. We had a record player and thinking about it, I’m really glad. We had Les Paul and Mary Ford records and classical records and things like Scheherazade and things like that, so I did grow up listening to music, and then when rock and roll appeared, I got really interested and decided that’s what I want to do. People like Chuck Berry and Little Richard and others like Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent and even Ricky Nelson — he made some great records as well. I got interested from that point of view, and then, of course, THE BEATLES came along and I was about sixteen years old and that was it. (Laughs)”

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