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Mountain Biography

Mountain was formed in 1969 by guitarist Leslie West and former Cream bassist and producer, Felix Pappalardi .  The two met whilst Leslie was a member of Long Island R&B band The Vagrants.   After leaving The Vagrants to record a solo album, Leslie agreed that Felix would produce the release, entitled ‘Mountain’.  The sessions for the album went so well the pair formed a band which would take its name from the album.   So it was that Mountain was born.

Joining Leslie and Felix, was keyboard player Steve Knight  and drummer N.D. Smart, who had also played on Leslie’s album.  The band started to gig and whilst the response was positive, no one would have dreamed how big the audience would be for the fourth gig. In August 1969 Mountain , along with the likes of The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills Nash And Young and of course Jimi Hendrix played at the Woodstock festival in upstate New York. 

Following this momentous performance,the band decided on a change in personnel and Canadian drummer Corky Laing replaced  N.D.  Smart.  Their debut album ‘Mountain Climbing’ went gold, thanks in part to the hard rock classic ‘Mississippi Queen’.  There were other tracks such as ‘Yasgur’s Farm’, ‘Never In My Life’ and a cover of the Jack Bruce song ‘Theme For An Imaginary Western’, that would all form the backbone of the band’s live set for the next thirty years.

Mountain continued to record albums and tour for the next two years, releasing the monumentally successful ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ and finally ‘Flowers Of Evil' following which the band split.   Felix Pappalardi moved into production and Corky Laing and Leslie West formed ‘West, Bruce And Laing’ with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce. This association produced two studio albums, ‘Why Don'tcha’ and ‘Things We Like’ plus live album 'Live n Kickin' released after the trio split.  Following this album, Leslie 

re-formed Mountain with Felix, although Corky didn't participate initially, he was soon back on board.  The band once again split in 1975 with all the various members going on to work in a solo capacity, or in the case of Leslie and Corky, together in ‘Leslie West's Wild West Show’.

The lure of Mountain however was strong and in the eighties once again, Leslie and Corky teamed up, although this time without  Felix,  who had tragically been shot dead by his wife and song writing partner Gail Collins.

Despite the comings and goings of various members over the years, the core of Leslie West and Corky Laing has continued to work as Mountain.  Releasing occasional albums and performing live, the band have rarely been bettered which has been borne out with the launch of the official bootleg series in 2004.


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