Mountain (band)

Last updated
Mountain
Origin Long Island, New York, U.S.
Genres
Years active
  • 1969–1972
  • 1973–1974
  • 1981–1985
  • 1992–1998
  • 2001–2010
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.mountainrockband.com
Members Leslie West
Corky Laing
Past members Felix Pappalardi
Steve Knight
N. D. Smart
Allan Schwartzberg
Bob Mann
David Perry
Miller Anderson
Mark Clarke
Richie Scarlet
Randy Coven
Noel Redding
Elvin Bishop
Rev Jones

Mountain is an American hard rock band that formed on Long Island, New York in 1969. [1] [2] Originally comprising vocalist and guitarist Leslie West, bassist and vocalist Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N. D. Smart, the band broke up in 1972 and has reunited frequently since 1973, remaining active as of November 28, 2009. [3] Best known for their cowbell-tinged song "Mississippi Queen", as well as for their performance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, Mountain is one of many bands to be commonly credited as having influenced the development of heavy metal music in the 1970s. [4] [5] The group's musical style primarily consisted of hard rock, blues rock [1] and heavy metal. [6]

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Long Island island in New York, United States of America

Long Island is a densely populated island off the East Coast of the United States, beginning at New York Harbor approximately 0.35 miles (0.56 km) from Manhattan Island and extending eastward into the Atlantic Ocean. The island comprises four counties in the U.S. state of New York. Kings and Queens Counties and Nassau County share the western third of the island, while Suffolk County occupies the eastern two-thirds. More than half of New York City's residents now live on Long Island, in Brooklyn, and in Queens. However, many people in the New York metropolitan area colloquially use the term Long Island to refer exclusively to Nassau and Suffolk Counties, which are mainly suburban in character, conversely employing the term the City to mean Manhattan alone.

New York (state) State of the United States of America

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Contents

History

1969–1972

In early 1969 Leslie West, formerly of the Long Island R&B band The Vagrants, put together a band with Norman Landsberg (keyboards, bass) and Ken Janick (drums) and began playing gigs and recording demos. Right around this time, former Cream collaborator/producer Felix Pappalardi, who'd previously produced the Vagrants, expressed an interest in producing West's work. [3] West, previously disgruntled and unsatisfied with the lack of success he desired in his first project, found Cream to be a great inspiration. He began to feel disillusioned with the R&B and Blues scenes of the 1960s that he previously played in. He envisioned a project that would take on a rawer and much harder style which he had begun to favor, with his newly-developed guitar style inspired by hearing Cream's Eric Clapton.

Leslie West American rock guitarist, singer and songwriter

Leslie West is an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the hard rock band Mountain.

Rhythm and blues, commonly abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the 1950s through the 1970s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. R&B lyrical themes often encapsulate the African-American experience of pain and the quest for freedom and joy, as well as triumphs and failures in terms of relationships, economics, and aspirations.

The Vagrants

The Vagrants were an American, Long Island-based rock and blue-eyed soul group from the 1960s. The group was composed of Peter Sabatino on vocals, harmonica, and tambourine, Leslie West on vocals and guitar, Larry West on vocals and bass guitar, Jerry Storch on organ, and Roger Mansour on drums.

Pappalardi rejected the demos by the West-Landsberg-Janick trio, but took a suggestion that he play bass on West's solo album, Mountain . The album also featured Landsberg and former Remains drummer N.D. Smart. The album spotlighted West's raw vocals and melodic, bluesy guitar style, and Pappalardi's bass lines were prominent throughout. According to West, when Pappalardi asked what would be next, West suggested the pair go on the road. The group was heavily influenced by Cream. Keyboardist Steve Knight (from Devil's Anvil, another of Pappalardi's productions) was added after Landsberg left to form another group, Hammer, with Janick.

<i>Mountain</i> (Leslie West album) 1969 studio album by Leslie West

Mountain is the debut album by American rock guitarist and vocalist Leslie West, released in July 1969 by Windfall Records.

The Remains American rock band

The Remains were a mid-1960s rock group from Boston, Massachusetts, led by Barry Tashian. Although the Remains never achieved national success, they were very popular in New England, and were one of the opening acts on The Beatles' final US tour in 1966.

Cream (band) 1960s British rock supergroup

Cream were a British rock band formed in London in 1966. The group consisted of lead vocalist/bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist/vocalist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire (1968), is the world's first platinum-selling double album. The band is widely regarded as the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold more than 15 million records worldwide. Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more current material such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".

Naming themselves "Mountain", after West's 1969 solo album, West, Pappalardi, Smart and Knight played shows on the West Coast before getting to play their third concert as a working band at the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York. Mountain was received enthusiastically by the festival audience 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. Their performances of "Blood of the Sun" (from West's album) and "Theme for an Imaginary Western" (a song they planned to record for Climbing and co-written by former Cream bassist Jack Bruce) did appear on the second volume of Woodstock performances called "Woodstock II" (however, both of these "live" songs were not recorded at Woodstock). The 40th Anniversary Edition of Woodstock on DVD and Blu-ray features filmed performances of "Beside The Sea" and "Southbound Train".

Bethel, New York Town in New York, United States

Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, United States. The population was estimated at 4,255 in 2010.

<i>Woodstock</i> (film) 1970 documentary film

Woodstock is a 1970 documentary film of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969 near Bethel, New York. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.

<i>Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More</i> 1970 live album by various artists

Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More is a live album of selected performances from the 1969 Woodstock counterculture festival. Originally released on Atlantic Records' Cotillion label as a triple album on May 11, 1970, it was re-released as a two-CD set in 1994. Veteran producer Eddie Kramer was the sound engineer during the three-day event.

Soon after Woodstock, Smart was replaced by Canadian Laurence "Corky" Laing, [3] who was the drummer on the classic Climbing! , which was released in March 1970. [1] It led off with what became the band's signature song, "Mississippi Queen", which reached #21 in the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured in the 1971 cult film Vanishing Point , while the album reached #17 in the Billboard Top 200. [3]

Corky Laing Canadian musician

Laurence Mustard "Corky" Laing is a Canadian rock drummer, best known as a longtime member of pioneering American hard rock band Mountain.,

<i>Climbing!</i> 1970 studio album by Mountain

Climbing!, also known as Mountain Climbing!, is the official debut studio album by American blues rock band Mountain, released on March 7, 1970, by Windfall Records.

Mississippi Queen

"Mississippi Queen" is a song by the American rock band Mountain. Considered a rock classic, it was their most successful single, reaching number 21 in the Billboard Hot 100 record chart in 1970. The song is included on the group's debut album and several live recordings have been issued. "Mississippi Queen" has been recorded by several artists, including W.A.S.P., Sam Kinison, Amanda Ayala, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Ozzy Osbourne, the latter of whom had a hit with the song in 2005.

Mountain began a hectic touring schedule in the middle of which they recorded a follow-up album, Nantucket Sleighride , released in January 1971. This album reached #16 but failed to yield a hit single. The title track was used in the UK as the theme to ITV's Sunday political program Weekend World . [3] After these early releases the band continued to receive a certain measure of critical acclaim but never again achieved great commercial success.

<i>Nantucket Sleighride</i> (album) 1971 studio album by Mountain

Nantucket Sleighride is the second album by the American hard rock band Mountain.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

ITV (TV network) TV network in the United Kingdom

ITV is a British free-to-air television network with its headquarters in London. It was launched in 1955 as Independent Television, under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority (ITA), to provide competition to BBC Television which had been established in 1932. ITV is the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels at the time, namely BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned because television sets would usually be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name.

After Nantucket Sleighride, the band produced Flowers of Evil (November 1971) consisting of one side of studio material and one live side, culled from a concert at New York's Fillmore East.

Mountain disbanded in February 1972 after a tour of the UK. West has since cited a combination of drug abuse within the band and Pappalardi's road weariness and burgeoning hearing impairment as primary factors. A live album, Mountain Live: The Road Goes Ever On, was issued in April 1972. [3]

Pappalardi returned to studio work, while West and Laing formed West, Bruce and Laing with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce. [3] Their first American performance was a Carnegie Hall concert, prompting a bidding war that Columbia Records won, and the new trio cut two studio albums and a live release over the next two years. After Bruce suddenly pulled out of the trio in 1973, West and Laing continued on briefly as Leslie West's Wild West Show, which also featured special guest Mitch Ryder plus NYC guitarist Peter Baron and bassist Tom Robb (formerly with Mylon LeFevre's band and later with Marshall Tucker Band).

Post-1972

By August 1973, West and Pappalardi had reformed Mountain with Allan Schwartzberg on drums and Bob Mann (ex-Dreams) on keyboards and guitar; the new lineup toured Japan and produced a double live album, Twin Peaks (February 1974), from the tour. The studio work Avalanche (July 1974), for which Laing returned to play drums and David Perry became the new second guitarist (from November 1973 to September 1974), would be Mountain's final album with Pappalardi as a participant; the group broke up again after playing a final show at Felt Forum in NYC on December 31, 1974. [3]

On April 17, 1983, Gail Collins Pappalardi, Pappalardi's wife and songwriting partner (she had designed many of the band's album covers and wrote many of their lyrics), shot Pappalardi in the neck in their fifth-floor East Side Manhattan apartment. [3]

After pursuing separate musical paths for almost a decade, West and Laing reunited Mountain, recruiting Miller Anderson (ex-Savoy Brown & Keef Hartley) on bass in 1981. Anderson was replaced in 1984 by Mark Clarke, and the group recorded Go for Your Life (March 1985). This line up played at the Knebworth fayre on 22/06/1985 alongside Alaska, Mama's Boys, Blackfoot, Meat Loaf, Scorpions and Deep Purple. [3] (The album was dedicated to Pappalardi's memory.) Shortly thereafter, the band performed with Triumph at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Illinois. [7]

Mountain went dormant again until 1992, when West and Laing teamed up once again and brought in Richie Scarlet (known for his solo work and collaborations with Ace Frehley and Sebastian Bach) to round out the lineup. Scarlet was replaced with Randy Coven in 1993 and in 1994 there was a Mountain lineup that included West, Laing, Noel Redding, and special guest guitarist Elvin Bishop. By 1995, the 1984-85 lineup of West, Laing & Mark Clarke was back, and recorded Man's World in 1996. In 1998 things went quiet in the Mountain camp again until 2001. That year, with Scarlet back in the lineup, the band recorded Mystic Fire , [1] released in 2002.

In 2003 West and Laing authored a book of recollections, 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 in 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.

Their most recent album is 2007's Masters of War , featuring twelve Bob Dylan covers and a guest appearance from Ozzy Osbourne.

The band headed out on the road during October and November 2008 on a North American tour opening for Joe Satriani, [8] and with former Michael Schenker Group member Rev Jones on bass. A review of the San Diego 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 West joining in a Satriani-led, closing "Stormy Monday" and "Going Down" blues jam. [9]

Fellow Long Island native Howard Stern has called Mountain one of his favourite bands and has occasionally played their music on his show. Other Mountain fans include John McLaughlin, [10] Johnny Ramone, Clutch, Karma to Burn, comedian Dennis Miller, and John Frusciante (the Red Hot Chili Peppers track "Readymade" off 2006's Stadium Arcadium features a Mountain-influenced riff). Martin Barre, guitarist for Jethro Tull has stated in interviews that Leslie West was a direct influence on his playing.

The beginning of the live recording of their song "Long Red" has become one of the most sampled drum breaks in hip hop, sampled in songs by EPMD, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Kanye West, Game, among many others.

Beastie Boys are also noted for their use of a brief sample of "Mississippi Queen" on the track "Lookin' Down the Barrel of a Gun" off of their sample-heavy 1989 album, Paul's Boutique .

Mountain has not performed live since 2010. [11] On June 20, 2011, West had his lower right leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. [12] And since that time, West has been performing and recording under his own name, with his concerts featuring many Mountain songs. Corky Laing formed a new project, Corky Laing Plays Mountain, in 2015. This project included bassist/vocalist Joe Venti and guitarist/vocalist Phil Baker in 2015. For their 2016 United States tour Laing and Venti were joined by guitarist Richie Scarlet and keyboardist Ken Sidotti. They perform Mountain music in addition to songs by West, Bruce and Laing and Cream. [13]

Band members

Latest members

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbum US Certification
1970 Climbing! 17US: Gold
1971 Nantucket Sleighride 16US: Gold
1971 Flowers of Evil 31
1974 Avalanche 102
1985 Go for Your Life 166
1996 Man's World -
2002 Mystic Fire -
2007 Masters of War -

Live albums

Compilation albums

Singles

YearName US
1970"Mississippi Queen"21
1970"For Yasgur's Farm"107
1971"The Animal Trainer and the Toad"76

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Felix Pappalardi American musician

Felix A. Pappalardi Jr. was an American music producer, songwriter, vocalist, and bassist. He is best known to the public as the bassist and vocalist of the band Mountain, whose song "Mississippi Queen" peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has become a classic rock radio staple. Originating in the eclectic music scene in New York's Greenwich Village, he became closely attached to the British power trio Cream, writing, arranging, and producing for their second album Disraeli Gears. As a producer for Atlantic Records, he worked on several projects with guitarist Leslie West; in 1969 their partnership evolved into the band Mountain. The band lasted less than five years, but their work influenced the first generation of heavy metal and hard rock music. Pappalardi continued to work as a producer, session musician, and songwriter until he was shot and killed by his wife Gail Collins in 1983.

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Twin Peaks is the second live album by American hard rock band Mountain. Released in February 1974 by Columbia and Windfall Records, it contains recordings from the band's performance at Koseinenkin Hall in Osaka, Japan on August 30, 1973. The album was produced by the band's bassist and second vocalist Felix Pappalardi, while the artwork was created by his wife and collaborator Gail Collins. It was Mountain's first release since returning after a year-long hiatus.

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  9. "Joe Satriani with Mountain – House of Blues, San Diego (CA) 11/12/08" Posted by Aaron Mayagoitia, on 411mania.com, on 11.16.2008. Retrieved 2-8-09.
  10. "Interview:John McLaughlin (solo, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis)". Hit-channel.com. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
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  13. Corky Laing - CURRENT PROJECTS