Mountain (band)

Mountain (band)
Origin Long Island, New York, United States
Genres Blues-rock, hard rock,[1] heavy metal
Years active 1969–1972, 1974–present
Labels Windfall, Columbia, Lightyear, Recall, Big Rack
Associated acts West, Bruce and Laing, Blues Creation
Leslie West
Corky Laing
Rev Jones
Past members
Felix Pappalardi
N. D. Smart
Steve Knight
Allan Schwartzberg
David Perry
Bob Mann
Mark Clarke
Ritchie Scarlett
Randy Coven
Mark Hitt
Steve "Budgie" Werner

Mountain is an American hard rock band that formed in Long Island, New York in 1969.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3]

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.




The band was formed shortly after Leslie West, formerly of the Long Island R&B band The Vagrants, recorded a solo album titled Mountain (a reference to West's one-time physical bulk) with bassist and former Cream collaborator Felix Pappalardi producing.[2] The album also featured former Remains drummer N.D. Smart. The album spotlighted West's raw vocals and melodic, bluesy guitar style, and Pappalardi's heavy and elegant bass lines were prominent throughout, and according to West when Pappalardi asked what would be next West suggested the pair go on the road. Though heavily inspired by seminal British 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. Naming themselves after West's album, West, Pappalardi, Smart, and Knight played shows on the West Coast before getting to play their fourth 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, though 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) appeared on the second volume of Woodstock performances.

Soon after Woodstock, Smart was replaced by Laurence "Corky" Laing.[2] 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 being featured in the 1971 cult film Vanishing Point, while the album reached #17 in the Billboard 200.[2] Mountain began a hectic touring schedule in the middle of which they recorded a followup album, Nantucket Sleighride, released in January 1971. This album reached the #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.[2] 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's Fillmore East. Within a year, West has since cited a combination of drug abuse within the band and Pappalardi's road weariness and burgeoning hearing impairment as primary factors, Mountain broke up. A live album, Mountain Live: The Road Goes Ever On, was issued in May 1972.[2]

Pappalardi returned to studio work, while West and Laing formed West, Bruce and Laing with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce.[2] 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.

1980s & on

In 1974, West and Pappalardi reformed Mountain with Allan Schwartzberg on drums and Robert Mann (ex Dreams) on keyboards and guitar; the new lineup toured and produced a double live album Twin Peaks from the tour. The studio work Avalanche, for which Laing returned to play drums and David Perry became the new second guitarist, would be Mountain's final album with Pappalardi as a participant; the group broke up again late in 1974.[2]

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.[2] 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.

After pursuing separate musical paths for almost a decade, West and Laing reunited Mountain, recruiting Mark Clarke to play bass and recorded Go For Your Life in 1985.[2] (The album was dedicated to Pappalardi's memory.) The same line-up recorded a follow-up, Man's World, over a decade later. West and Laing have continued touring together, both under West's name and under the Mountain name ever since, with bassists including Richie Scarlet (known for his work with Ace Frehley, Sebastian Bach and his multiple solo records) to round out the line-up. In 2002 the band released Mystic Fire.[1] Their most recent album is 2007's Masters Of War, featuring twelve 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 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.

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 included Johnny Ramone, Karma to Burn, and John Frusciante (the Red Hot Chili Peppers track "Readymade" off 2006's Stadium Arcadium features a Mountain-influenced riff).

The band headed out on the road during October and November, 2008, on a North American tour opening for Joe Satriani,[4] 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.[5]


  • Leslie West - lead vocals, guitar (1969–present)
  • Felix Pappalardi - bass, lead vocals, keyboards (1969–1972; 1974–1976)
  • Steve Knight (keyboards) (1969–1972)
  • N.D. Smart - drums (1969)
  • Corky Laing - drums, percussion (1970–present)
  • Allan Schwartzberg- drums (1974)
  • Bob Mann - guitar (1974)
  • David Perry - guitar (1975–1976)
  • Mark Clarke - bass (1985–1995)
  • Ritchie Scarlett bass (?-2008)
  • Rev Jones - bass (2008–present)


Studio albums

Live albums

Compilation albums


  1. ^ a b c d "Biography by Bruce Eder & Steve Huey". Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 672–673. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  3. ^ Metal - A Headbanger's Journey, DVD, ASIN B000FS9OZY (2005).
  4. ^ "Mountain Announce US Tour". 2008-09-04. Retrieved 2011-07-19. 
  5. ^ "Joe Satriani with Mountain – House of Blues, San Diego (CA) 11/12/08" Posted by Aaron Mayagoitia, on, on 11.16.2008. Retrieved 2-8-09.

External links

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