King Crimson and Foreigner Founding Member Ian Mcdonald Passed Away
via SuproUSA / Youtube
English multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald, who was a founding member of both King Crimson and Foreigner has died Wednesday at the age of 75.
His death was confirmed via press release noting that he “passed away peacefully on February 9, 2022 in his home in New York City, surrounded by his family.”
McDonald’s son Max reported on Facebook that the cause was cancer writing:
“He was incredibly brave, and never lost his kindness or his sense of humour even when the going was rough.
“My father was a brilliant, intuitive musician, a gentle soul, and a wonderful dad. He will live on forever through his beautiful music and the love of his fans.”
McDonald co-founded King Crimson in 1968, alongside Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake and lyricist Peter Sinfield.
On the band’s prog-rock debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, McDonald played saxophone, flute, clarinet, Mellotron, harpsichord, piano, organ, vibraphone, backing vocals and production among his contributions.
King Crimson’s final performance with its original lineup took place at the Fillmore West in San Francisco on December 16, 1969. McDonald then departed the band following their first U.S. tour and years later, he formed yet another iconic band Foreigner.
Foreigner’s initial lineup included guitarist Mick Jones, singer Lou Gramm, drummer Dennis Elliott, keyboardist Al Greenwood and bassist Ed Gagliardi, with McDonald providing rhythm guitar, woodwinds and additional keyboard. Some of the classic tracks which featured McDonald’s playing are “Feels Like the First Time”, “Cold As Ice”, “Hot Blooded” and “Double Vision.”
McDonald left Foreigner in 1980 and proved to be an in-demand session musician playing on records, including the T. Rex album Electric Warrior, and with acts like Steve Hackett and Asia.
Decades later, McDonald joined in reunions featuring Foreigner’s surviving original members in 2017 and 2018, an experience he later admitted “felt really good.”
Foreigner co-founder Al Greenwood was among those paying tribute, writing:
“He was like a brother to me. A true musical genius, Ian’s musicianship was an integral part of launching both King Crimson and Foreigner into legendary status.
“His contribution to Foreigner’s success was immense. Ian was a dear friend, a kind and wonderful man, and I will miss him terribly.”