The band that Ozzy Osbourne said is one of his favorites

Ozzy Osbourne

John Michael Osbourne or simply Ozzy Osbourne, helped to form Black Sabbath in Birmingham, England back in 1968. Alongside Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, he was a fundamental part in the creation of Heavy Metal music, showing the world that music could be heavy and spooky.

They influenced countless generations of musicians and even though he was fired from the band in the late 70s due to addiction problems, Ozzy was able to create a successful solo career and become also influential as a solo act.

Over the decades he talked about many people who inspired him and even revealed once which was one of his favorite bands of all time.

The band that Ozzy Osbourne said is one of his favorites

Black Sabbath released their self-titled debut album in 1969 and in the next year they put out more classic albums like “Paranoid” (1970) and “Master of Reality” (1971). Although the albums were really successful, they toured as the opening act for a few bands before becoming the headliners.

In 1971, the group toured across the United States as Mountain’s support act. That was when Ozzy first got in touch with the group that would become one of his favorite ones.

He recalled that in an interview with Launch Radio Networks back in 2005. At the time the ‘Prince of Darkness’ was promoting his covers album “Under Cover”, on which he covered Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen”. The band’s original guitarist and singer Leslie West was a special guest on that track.

“Well, Leslie West and I, and Mountain, go back many years. In fact, the very first American tour that Black Sabbath ever did. Way back in, I think, 1971 or 1970, we opened the show (for Mountain).”

He continued:

“I’ve had a soft spot for Leslie when he was big, when he was bad, when he was on heroin, when he was not on heroin, when he… Mountain were, were, and still are, one of my favorite bands. ‘Mississippi Queen’ was always one of my favorite songs. And then Sharon says, ‘You know, we got Leslie West to play on it’. I was like, ‘You’re joking!'” Ozzy Osbourne said.

“Mississippi Queen” was first featured on Mountain’s debut studio album “Climbing!” (1970). The track was released as a single at the time, peaking at number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Ozzy really loves that track and one year before finally covering the song he listed as one of his favorites of all time in an interview with Rolling Stone. “This one brings back memories of my very first U.S. tour with Black Sabbath,” Ozzy Osbourne said.

Curiously, Mountain’s guitarist and singer Leslie West said in an interview with Steve Newton in 2002 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), that Ozzy said that it was them who turned him on to American Rock. “Yeah (I thought they would be huge). I really loved Ozzy and I loved the guitar player Tony Iommi. I have some great stories with them because Ozzy said that Mountain was really (the band) that turned him on to American Rock. We did a lot of dates with them, the whole tour we hung out together,” Leslie West said.

Ozzy Osbourne also sang on a Mountain album

Two years after having Leslie West as a special guest on his covers album “Under Cover” (2005), Ozzy was invited by him to sing on Mountain’s 2007 album “Masters of War”. It was the final album of the American band and it has only Bob Dylan covers. Ozzy was a guest vocalist on the title-track “Masters of War” but only sang two versions. Because the label prevented him from singing more than that.

West recalled that in an interview with Guitar World in 2012. “I helped on his version of ‘Mississippi Queen’. I had asked him, I said, ‘I’d love you to sing on one of these Dylan songs we’re going to do.’ At the time, Sony didn’t want him singing any more cover songs. Because he had just done a whole record of covers.”

“So it went back and forth. He didn’t have a problem with it; the label did. So I sent him ‘Masters of War,’ and they said he could sing two verses. I picked out two verses and sent it to him. It sounds like we were in the room together, but it wasn’t. He was at his studio,” Leslie West recalled.

Randy Rhoads was a huge fan of Mountain and Leslie West

It wasn’t only Ozzy who was a big fan of Mountain. The legendary Randy Rhoads, who was Osbourne’s first solo guitarist, also was a big fan of the band. The late guitar player said many times that he was more inspired by classical music than by other players. But he did praised West and Mountain many times. In an interview in the early 80s made available by VMI Worldwide (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Rhoads said that he thought they were “the greatest thing”.

“You know, I get asked all the time, who’s your favorite, who’s your influences? If you play so long, they’re bound to change. Whoever’s good you listen to for a while. I can say one of my favorite sounds was when I first heard Mountain and Leslie West with that harmonics and the sustain. But I just thought it was the greatest thing. But since then I just, you know, I just like anybody who plays guitar. I don’t have a favorite,” Randy Rhoads said.

Mountain was formed in 1969 having in their classic formation Leslie West (Guitar and vocals), Felix Pappalardi (Bass and vocals), Steve Knight (Keyboards) and Corky Laing (Drums). Knight left the band for good in 1972 and Pappalardi passed away in 1983.

So it was only West and Laing who kept the band going over the next decades, finally reaching an end in 2010. The only surviving member of the classic line-up is the drummer Corky Laing.

Rafael Polcaro: I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG