From a vastly underrated band, this song has the ability to define an era.

Not many songs are given that right, but the chosen few that stick in our heads from days past are quick to remind us of lives lived, events attended, and friends well known. Mississippi Queen by Mountain is one of those songs. The blues influence, gritty guitars, signature cowbell, and howling/growling vocals from Leslie West tell us how the counter-culture world sounded 40 years ago.

Released in 1970, Mississippi Queen appeared as part of the soundtrack for the movie Vanishing Point in 1971. It is said to have influenced the sound of heavy rock for the next four decades.  Since 1970 it has remained a steady part of the Classic Rock radio format, covered by scores of rock bands, and even been rerecorded by Ozzy Osbourne .  Mississippi Queen – in all its screaming fuzzy goodness – manages to sound good to metal heads like me even today, a feat not possible with some of the pop sounds of that era.  To understand its impact, the best way is to hear it.

This video blends  with movie footage from the time.

But also in a well-deserved homage – not only to the song but also to its genre – The Regular Show on Cartoon Network used Mississippi Queen this year in an episode, singlehandedly reviving interest in the song once again.  Even my sons – 10 and 6 – like the song now!  Three of the characters were challenged at a party to drink a huge concoction of hot sauce and leftovers.  The result of their challenge is really best when viewed:

Being paid tribute in an irreverent cartoon is probably one of the best awards the song could ever get.

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