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Mountain is an American blues-rock band that formed in Long Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker in 1969. Originally comprising vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist Felix Pappalardi and drummer N. D. Smart, the band broke up in 1972 before reuniting in 1974 and remaining active until today. Arguably best known for the song "Mississippi Queen", Mountain is one of many bands to be commonly credited as having influenced the development of heavy metal music in the 1970s.


The band was formed shortly after Leslie West, formerly of the Long Islandmarker R&B band The Vagrants, recorded a solo album titled Mountain with bassist and former Cream collaborator Felix Pappalardi producing. The album also featured former Remains drummer N.D. Smart. It was decided to name the band Mountain after Leslie West's immense size. West's raw vocals and melodic, bluesy guitar style, and Pappalardi's heavy and elegant bass lines were the elements of Mountain's distinctive sound. Though heavily inspired by seminal Britishmarker blues-rock band Cream (with which Pappalardi had been a frequent collaborator: he produced Disraeli Gears, Goodbye and Wheels of Fire, also contributing viola, brass, bells and organ to the latter), keyboardist Steve Knight was added to avoid Mountain being perceived as a simple imitation. Cream drummer Ginger Baker held a brief stint as manager of the band during their early years.

They played their fourth live concert at the 1969 Woodstock Festivalmarker in Bethel, New Yorkmarker (later chronicling the experience in their song "For Yasgur's Farm"), but the band did not appear in the film of the event nor was their performance included on volume 1 of the festival's live album. It was however included on the second volume. Soon after, Smart was replaced by Laurence "Corky" Laing. Their debut, Climbing!, was released in 1970 and featured the band's signature song, "Mississippi Queen", which reached the middle of the top 40 charts. The album itself reached the top 20 on the US album charts.

The follow-up album Nantucket Sleighride, released in 1971, also reached the top 20 but failed to yield a hit single. The title track was used in the United Kingdommarker as the theme to ITV's Sunday political program Weekend World. After these early releases the band continued to receive a certain measure of critical acclaim but never again achieved great commercial success.

After Nantucket Sleighride, the band produced Flowers of Evil consisting of one side of studio material and one live side, culled from a concert at New York Citymarker's legendary Fillmore Eastmarker. The following year, Mountain broke up. Shortly after, West and Laing formed West, Bruce and Laing with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce, producing two studio albums and a live release over the next two years.

Later career

In 1973 West and Pappalardi reformed Mountain with Allan Schwartzberg on drums and Bob Mann (of pioneering jazz rock band Dreams) on keyboards and guitar – a tour yielded the double live album Twin Peaks. The studio work Avalanche, with rhythm guitarist David Perry and Corky Laing once again on drums, was the last heard from the band for over a decade.

On April 17, 1983, Gail Collins Pappalardi, Felix's wife and songwriting partner who had designed many of the band's album covers, shot Pappalardi in the neck in their fifth-floor East Side Manhattan apartment. He was pronounced dead at the scene and Collins was charged with second-degree murder. Later cleared of that charge, she was convicted of the lesser criminally negligent homicide and sentenced to 16 months to four years in prison. After her release from jail, she vanished into private life.

Mountain reformed in 1985, releasing Go For Your Life. They have continued to record and tour, with bassist Richie Scarlet (known for his work with Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach and his multiple solo records) rounding out the lineup. Their most recent album is 2007's Masters of War, featuring 12 Bob Dylan covers and a guest appearance from Ozzy Osbourne.

In 2003 West and Laing authored a book of recollections entitled "Nantucket Sleighride and Other Mountain on-the-Road Stories" detailing their time with the band at its peak and their subsequent careers.

Mountain's video game debut came late fall 2007 on RedOctane's Guitar Hero III featuring "Mississippi Queen" as a playable track. The song is also featured in the Harmonix video game Rock Band, although the version featured is a cover of the studio recording.

The band headed out on the road during October and November, 2008, on a North American tour opening for Joe Satriani and with former Michael Schenker Group member Rev Jones on bass. A review of the San Diegomarker House of Blues date covered the Mountain set -- including Blowing In The Wind from the Masters of War album -- with enthusiasm. Of the Satriani set, the reviewer was also pleased with the blues influence he felt Mountain brought to the evening, and with Leslie West joining in a Satriani-led, closing "Stormy Monday" and "Going Down" blues jam.


Studio albums


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