Video Classics: ‘Mississippi Queen’ – Mountain

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Corky Laing and Rev Jones in 2009

Corky Laing and Rev Jones in 2009 (Mario Tama, Getty Images)

[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Mountain[/lastfm] isn’t quite as well-known as a lot of other bands that had their genesis in the late ’60s and kept on rocking through the ’70s. Fame is measured by such things as record sales and concert dates, and they aren’t anywhere near that top tier occupied by the likes of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]The Rolling Stones[/lastfm] or [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Led Zeppelin[/lastfm]. But influence? That’s another matter … and going by the host of imitators that tried to copy Mountain’s sound in the 1970s, Mountain was one of the most influential bands when it comes to the creation of the heavy metal sound, and “Mississippi Queen” is arguably their best-known song.

Sometimes, Video Classics has to make the choice between featuring a pristine performance of aging stars in the modern day, or a somewhat blurry and muddle recording from back in the day. In this case, we went for an authentic 1970 performance from the Goose Lake Music Festival (sometimes called ‘Michigan’s Woodstock’, for those not in the know) …

The song’s title, of course, conjures up images of steamboats or the like, but the actual inspiration was somewhat different. According to an anecdote related from Wikipedia

Being put together by (original band members) David Rea and Corky Laing, the lyrics were inspired by an incident that happened to Laing while playing at a club in Nantucket. An unnamed friend’s girlfriend was there, visiting from Mississippi. She happened to be wearing a see-through dress that evening. Quite suddenly, the power on the entire island went out, and in a drug-induced moment of creativity, Laing began belting out the words

Add your thoughts to the comments below or take a look at Video Classics past…

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