Ian McDonald- Founding Member of Foreigner & King Crimson Dies at 75

Ian McDonald passed away today, a founding member of both King Crimson and Foreigner, his death confirmed by a press release sent to Rolling Stone, the magazine reported. He was 75 years old.

Rolling Stone reported the press release says that McDonald “passed away peacefully on Feb. 9, 2022, in his home in New York City, surrounded by his family.” The cause of death was not immediately known.

McDonald, a multi-instrumentalist, helped write the King Crimson 1969 debut, In the Court of King Crimson, which is widely considered to be the first prog-rock record. The song Schizoid Man from that LP is, to many, synonymous with McDonald – the sax solo he played in that song during a King Crimson performance in London’s Hyde Park was remembered by many who saw it for dazzling playing, resulting in the mostly-seated audience rising to its feet.

He played saxophone and keyboards in King Crimson, as well as various instruments with Foreigner, which he co-founded with Mick Jones and singer Lou Gramm in New York City in 1976.

His keyboard work is heard on Foreigner chart-topping singles like “Head Games,” “Double Vision,” “Hot Blooded,” and “Feels Like the First Time.” Additionally, he co-produced the band’s debut album, Foreigner, and subsequent albums Double Vision, and Head Games.

He also played saxophone on the T. Rex album Electric Warrior, released in 1971, on what now is a Classic Rock staple, “Get It On.” 

At the time of his death, McDonald was working with what Rolling Stone described as a “rootsy rock band” called Honey West.

Born in 1946 in Osterley, Middlesex, England, McDonald played saxophone in the British Army jazz band, serving for five years.

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