The hard rock outfit Mountain emerged from the 1960s rock explosion. Formed in 1969 by Leslie West and former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi, they established themselves in a short time as a premiere rock band. The group debuted at the Fillmore in 1969. Mountain's first album, Climbing!, was released on Windfall Records on March 7, 1970. West and Pappalardi were joined by drummer Corky Laing and organist/keyboardist Steve Knight. The album sold surprisingly well, hitting Billboard's Top 20. Much of the blues-rock album's success was thanks to their most popular track, the rollicking, anthemic "Mississippi Queen," a song that still gets airplay 40 years after its release. Mountain also parlayed their hot start to a spot on the coveted Woodstock lineup.
Following the popularity of "Mississippi Queen," Mountain released two more albums before they split in 1972. The band reformed in 1974, sans Steve Knight, and released Avalanche, which hardly made a commercial dent. Mountain dropped out of the public eye for a number of years after Avalanche bombed, until, tragically, Felix Pappalardi was shot by his wife Gail in their New York City apartment. Pappalardi died shortly thereafter, leading to a homicide conviction for the shooter. He was only 43 years old. His wife would be released only two years later.
After Pappalardi's death, the band reformed and crafted 1985's Go for Your Life. The album was disappointing and has since dropped out of print, but the group was back together. They released their more albums—Man's World (1996), Mystic Fire (2002), and Masters of War—and still plays live occasionally. In 2008, they embarked on a nationwide tour with Joe Satriani.