Ian McDonald

born on 25/6/1946 in London, England, United Kingdom

died on 9/2/2022 in New York, NY, United States

Ian McDonald (musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Ian McDonald (musician)

Ian McDonald (born 25 June 1946) is an English multi-instrumental musician, best known as a founding member of progressive rock group King Crimson, formed in 1969, and of the hard rock band Foreigner in 1976. He is well known as a rock session musician, predominantly as a saxophonist. He also plays keyboards, flute, vibraphone, and guitar.


Born in Osterley, Middlesex, McDonald served five years in the Army as a bandsman. His music talent ranged from classical orchestra to dance bands to rock. In 1969, he was in King Crimson's initial line up, which recorded their first album In the Court of the Crimson King. McDonald and drummer Michael Giles departed and formed a spin-off group that released one album titled McDonald and Giles. He re-appeared in King Crimson in 1974 and intended to rejoin the band as a full member but did not get the opportunity to do so given Fripp's decision to split the group.

He became a founding member of the band Foreigner in 1976, for whom he played guitar as well as his woodwinds and keyboards.[1] He has been a session musician and appeared in the recording of the hit single "Get It On (Bang a Gong)" by T. Rex, and recordings by Linda Lewis, Christine Harwood amongst others. He also has some production credits to his name, including albums by Fruupp, Darryl Way's Wolf and Fireballet. In 1999, he released a solo album, Drivers Eyes.

In 1997, the release of the King Crimson four CD set Epitaph, consisting of rare live recordings of the 1969 version of King Crimson, renewed interest in the early Crimson material. Out of that interest, the 21st Century Schizoid Band was formed in 2002 and several tours and live albums have followed. The band includes former King Crimson members Michael Giles (drums and percussion), Peter Giles (bass), McDonald (sax, flute, keyboards), Mel Collins (alto/tenor sax, flute, keyboards) and also Jakko Jakszyk from Level 42 on guitar and lead vocals. After the first tour Michael Giles was replaced with another former King Crimson drummer Ian Wallace, who has since died.

McDonald has contributed saxophone and flute to several tracks on Judy Dyble's 2009 release, Talking With Strangers. The album sees McDonald reunited with former King Crimson bandmate Robert Fripp on the 20 minute "Harpsong".

On 28 July 2009, McDonald made a guest appearance with Asia during their opening set for Yes at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Philadelphia. McDonald played flute, clarinet, saxophone and sang backing vocals for "In the Court of the Crimson King" and also returned for the encore to sing backing vocals for "Heat of the Moment". His guest appearance on "In the Court of the Crimson King" is featured as a bonus track on Asia's 2011 DVD release, "Spirit of the Night: Live".

On May 14, 2010 (Sherman Theatre, Stroudsburg, PA) and May 15, 2010 (Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, Atlantic City, NJ), Ian made guest appearances during "An Intimate Evening with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake". Played flute and shared lead vocals/vocal harmonies with Greg Lake on "I Talk to the Wind" while playing solo flute on "Lucky Man". For these two songs, it was essentially "Emerson, Lake & McDonald".

In 2010, Ian provided alto sax, flute and percussion textures to "Beautiful Accident," the debut album by progressive blues band, Third International. One track, "Penitentiary" was co-written by Ian with Third International frontman, Andrew Pearson.

In 2011, the ever-eclectic McDonald began working with long-time neighbor Lynnea Benson and her husband Ted Zurkowski, directors of New York City's Frog and Peach Theatre Company, which specializes in off-Broadway productions and readings of Shakespearean plays. In collaboration with Zurkowski, McDonald composed and performed guitar and piano music to accompany select Frog and Peach Shakespearean productions and readings: "Julius Ceasar," "Two Gentleman of Verona," "Hamlet," "A Midsummer Nights Dream," "King Lear," "The Taming of The Shrew" and "Measure for Measure." In addition, Ian became involved with Zurkowski' band, Honey West, the self-described "US/ UK Indie Rock Country Fusion Invasion" band. According to the Honey West website, Ian is providing "lead guitar/sax/keys/harmony vocals" to their current NYC live performances and to a second album due for release in late Spring 2013.


With Giles, Giles and Fripp

  • Brondesbury Tapes (1968 live recordings, released 2001) (contributed clarinet, flute, guitar, saxophone and vocals)

With King Crimson

  • In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)
  • Epitaph (1969 live recordings, released 1997)
  • Red (1974) (played alto saxophone, but as a session musician)

With McDonald and Giles

  • McDonald and Giles (1971)

With Keith Tippett's Centipede

  • Septober Energy (1971)

With Fruupp

  • Modern Masquerades (1975)

With Foreigner

  • Foreigner (1977)
  • Double Vision (1978)
  • Head Games (1979)

With Steve Hackett

  • Genesis Revisited (1997)
  • The Tokyo Tapes (1998)
  • Darktown (1999)

With John Wetton

  • Hazy Monet Live in New York City (1997)

Solo album

  • Drivers Eyes (1999)

With 21st Century Schizoid Band

  • Official Bootleg V.1 (2002)
  • Live in Japan (2003)
  • Live in Japan (2003) (DVD)
  • Live in Italy (2003)
  • Pictures Of A City Live in New York (2006)

With Waking in the Blue

  • Isn't It Pretty to Think So (2003)


  • Success Stories with Bruce Jenner (1987) (Nationally Syndicated CBS Television Show)
  • Wachenröder (1998) (Sega Saturn Video Game)

As producer or guest instrumentalist

  • Linda Lewis Say No More (1971)
  • T Rex "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" (1972)
  • Darryl Way's Wolf Canis Lupus (1973)
  • Fruupp Modern Masquerades (1974)
  • Keith Christmas Brighter Day (1974)
  • Fireballet Night on Bald Mountain (1975)
  • Ian Lloyd Ian Lloyd (1976)
  • Steve Taylor On the Fritz (1985)
  • Park Stickney Action Harp Play Set (2000)
  • Judy Dyble Talking With Strangers (2009)
  • Third International Beautiful Accident (2010)
  • Asia Spirit of the Night: Live (2011)


  1. Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years, 1st, London: Reed International Books Ltd. CN 5585.
  • King Crimson Biography
  • Gramy Records - Ian McDonald

External links

  • The Ian McDonald Interview (2012)
  • / Interview_with_Ian_McDonald_in_Big_Bang_Magazine
  • The Artist Shop IRC Chat with Ian McDonald on Wednesday, October 27, 1999
  • The Artist Shop/Talk City chat with King Crimson founding member Ian McDonald on Sunday, May 3, 1998
  • The Official Frog and Peach Theatre Company Website
  • The Official Honey West Website
  • The Official Third International Website
King Crimson
Robert Fripp | Adrian Belew | Tony Levin | Pat Mastelotto

Former members | Guest musicians

Original studio albums
In the Court of the Crimson King | In the Wake of Poseidon | Lizard | Islands | Larks' Tongues in Aspic | Starless and Bible Black | Red | Discipline | Beat | Three of a Perfect Pair | THRAK | The ConstruKction of Light | The Power to Believe
Other records
Cat Food/Groon | Atlantic Sampler | The Night Watch/The Great Deceiver | Epitaph/21st Century Schizoid Man | Matte Kudasai | Elephant Talk | Thela Hun Ginjeet | Heartbeat | Three of a Perfect Pair/Man With an Open Heart | Sleepless | VROOOM | Dinosaur | People | Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream | Level Five | Happy With What You Have to Be Happy With
Live albums
Earthbound | USA | The Great Deceiver | B'Boom: Live in Argentina | THRaKaTTaK | Epitaph | The Night Watch | Absent Lovers: Live in Montreal | Cirkus: The Young Persons' Guide to King Crimson Live | Live in Mexico City | The ProjeKcts | The Deception of the Thrush: A Beginners' Guide to ProjeKcts | The Beginners' Guide to the King Crimson Collectors' Club | Heavy ConstruKction | VROOOM VROOOM | Ladies of the Road | EleKtrik: Live in Japan | The Power To Believe Tour Box
A Young Person's Guide to King Crimson | The Compact King Crimson | Heartbeat: The Abbreviated King Crimson | Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson | Sleepless: The Concise King Crimson | The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson - Volume One - 1969-1974 | The 21st Century Guide to King Crimson - Vol. 2 - 1981-2003
This page was last modified 02.04.2014 17:03:09

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