Monday, February 05, 2007

History of Hard Rock/Heavy Metal: Mountain

Hard rock band Mountain was formed in 1969 by guitarist Leslie West and bassist and former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi. The two met while West was a member of Long Island R&B band the Vagrants, local heroes who never broke nationally; when West left to record the solo album Mountain, Pappalardi produced it for him.

The results were satisfying enough for the two to form a partnership, and Mountain's first lineup included drummer N.D. Smart and keyboardist Steve Knight. The group played its fourth live performance ever at Woodstock, after which Smart was replaced by Corky Laing. Their debut album, 1970's Mountain Climbing!, went gold, thanks in part to the hard rock classic "Mississippi Queen." Nantucket Sleighride was equally successful, but the group failed to progress with its next album, and after Mountain Live in 1972, the group broke up.

Pappalardi, whose hearing had been damaged by Mountain's excessive in-concert volume, returned to production, while West and Laing teamed up with ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce under the name West, Bruce & Laing. A brief reunion featuring West and Pappalardi from the group's original lineup took place in 1974.

In subsequent years, West and Laing revived the group for live shows, sometimes joined by Pappalardi; West also performed with his own Leslie West Band. Pappalardi was shot and killed by his wife in 1983. Two years later, West and Laing regrouped with Mark Clarke on bass and recorded an album before once again calling it quits. Laing served as PolyGram's A&R vice president in Canada between 1989 and 1995.

In 1996, he reunited with West and Clarke for a new Mountain album, Man's World. West and Laing teamed up again in 2002 for another album as Mountain, Mystic Fire.

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