Mountain (Rock A-Z – part #55)

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Mountain were one of the first generation heavy metal bands formed by ex-Vagrants guitarist Leslie West and bass player Felix Pappalardi in New York in 1968. Complimented by N D Smart on drums and Steve Knight on keys, they played the Woodstock festival in 1970 and released ‘Mountain Climbing’ shortly afterwards with Corky Laing replacing Smart.

Featuring dense guitar lines from West and delicate melodies from Pappalardi, they quickly established their own sound. The album was an unqualified success, peaking at number 17 in the Billboard album charts in November 1970.

Their next two albums built on this foundation, as the band refined their style into an amalgam of heavy riffs, blues-based rock and extended guitar and keyboard solos. ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ (the title track of which was later used as the theme music for the long-running UK television series ‘World in Action’) and ‘Flowers of Evil’ made the Billboard charts at numbers 18 and 35 respectively.

However, much as I love what both ‘Nantucket Sleighride’ and 1972’s live double album ‘The road goes ever on’ have to offer, it’s the last track on 1974’s ‘Avalanche’ which always has my vote. Last of the Sunshine Days ranks amongst my top twenty tunes of all time. So here it is…