On Top


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On Top Review

by Vincent Jeffries

This 1974 best-of collection (re-released in 1992) is compiled mostly of songs culled from Mountain's two finest studio recordings, Climbing and Avalanche. Due to the band's relatively short creative zenith, the On Top track list is practically identical to the greatest hits packages Super Hits and Best of Mountain, as well as some live recordings. The quintessential stuff is all there, like the killer "Never in My Life"; one of the first-ever power ballads, "For Yasgur's Farm," and, of course, the group's classic rock radio standard "Mississippi Queen." While providing adequate evidence to prove their early-'70s hard rock superiority, nothing really separates this release from Mountain's many subsequent compilations. Fans interested in becoming acquainted with this trans-Atlantic missing link between Cream and the myriad of influential North American pre-metal outfits like Montrose and Bachman Turner Overdrive would do well to check out On Top or any Mountain hits assemblage; but just one of these recordings should be enough. The two-disc Over the Top might be the wisest purchase, as the 1995 Legacy Records release includes every track from On Top, plus a few more gems from Mountain's early-'70s metal epoch.

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