Rocking into the new decade after appearing at Woodstock in 1969, the rock band Mountain created a unique sound that was noted for one instrument.
Working on their debut album and the first single,which became their best-known: Mississippi Queen.
The lead single for their album Climbing!, the band’s lead guitarist Leslie West worked with drummer Corky Laing’s initial creation The Queen. Bassist Felix Pappalardi and lyricist David Rae also tossed in their creative additions.
During the recording session, Pappalardi made the band record numerous takes, and Laing used a cowbell to count off the beginning, which has become a recognizable hallmark of the song’s introduction. Listen to it here.
Released in March 1970, Mississippi Queen quickly climbed the Billboard Hot 100 charts, hitting #21 at its peak, while the album Climbing hit #17 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.
The band toured North America extensively and had their hit single included in the cult film Vanishing Point, released in 1971.
The band is often credited with being one of the first heavy metal bands of the decade and its song became its only hit song, despite the band’s evolution and reformation over consequent years.
The song has been recorded by many bands in consequent years including WASP, Molly Hatchet, Ministry and Ozzy Osbourne.