Sunday, February 19, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Mountain

Song:Mississippi Queen
Album:On Top

The 1970 hard rock classic Mississippi Queen was the biggest hit for Mountain. They likely would have had more success if they had remained together longer. Mountain was formed in the wake of the split of Cream. Lead singer and guitarist Leslie West led a band in New Jersey called The Vagrants. Cream producer Felix Pappalardi had produced some of the band's music. When The Vagrants split up, West started the new band Leslie West Mountain. This was a reference to West's physical bulk. Pappalardi expressed an interest in Mountain and joined the band playing bass. The drummer was ND Smart of The Remains. The band recorded an album and played Woodstock. That performance was not filmed. Soon after, Smart was replaced by Canadian Corky Laing. Pappalardi knew him from his band Energy. Mountain signed with Windfall Records with distribution by Bell Records. Climbing! was their debut album and it reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 200. Mississippi Queen reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also got a big boost when it was used in the 1971 film Vanishing Point. Laing had written the song before he joined Mountain and pulled the lyrics out of his pocket when West was looking for new songs during the Climbing! sessions. Today the song is considered a southern rock classic though Mountain isn't from the south. They recorded a couple more albums that didn't sell as well and a combination of West's drug abuse and Pappalardi's dislike of touring split Mountain up in 1972. This budget CD is a good intro to their music. West and Laing formed West, Bruce & Laing with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce. They recorded a 1973 album and Bruce left. In 1974, West and Pappalardi reformed Mountain with session musicians Alan Schwartzberg (drums) and Bob Mann (keyboards) and recorded a live album. Felix Pappalardi was murdered by his wife in 1983. She was convicted of criminally negligent homicide. West and Laing reformed Mountain in the 80s and the band still tours today. Here's Mountain performing Mississippi Queen on Randall's Island from the 1970 film The Day The Music Died.

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