Ian McDonald, a multi-instrumentalist who co-founded the rock bands King Crimson and Foreigner, has died. He was 75.
A spokesperson said McDonald passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at his home in New York City. Cause of death was not been provided.
Born on June 25m 1946, in Osterley, England, McDonald co-founded the influential progressive rock band King Crimson in 1968 with Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, and Peter Sinfield. Its 1969 debut album In the Court of the Crimson King hit the Top 5 in the UK and went Top 30 stateside, fueled by the lead track “21st Century Schizoid Man” and the 9 minute-plus title cut.
The group’s lineup famously fluctuated, with McDonald leaving after the debut LP and later rejoining in 1974, just before its official breakup. In the interim he and drummer Michael Giles released an album as McDonald and Giles.
McDonald went on to form Foreigner in 1976, playing rhythm guitar, woodwinds and keys alongside Mick Jones, Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliott, Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi. The sextet would go on be one of the most successful rock bands of the era, scoring three consecutive albums with the 1977 self-titled debut, 1978’s Double Vision and 1979’s Head Games.
All three made the U.S. Top 5 and have gone at least five times platinum — with Double Vision becoming a 7 million-seller. The discs generated a slew of hit singles ranging from “Cold as Ice” and “Hot Blooded” to “Double Vision” and “Dirty White Boy.”
McDonald left Foreigner in 1980, ahead of what would become its most successful LP, 4, but reunited with the band’s surviving original members in 2017 and 2018. During his career, he also worked with T.Rex — playing on its enduring hit “Get It On (Bang a Gong)” — Asia, among other bands and musicians.
Nellie Andreeva contributed to this report.
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