Ronnie Montrose passed away yesterday folllowing a battle with cancer. He was 64.
Montrose started his music career as a session player with Van Morrison, appearing on the 1971 album Tupelo Honey. He later joined the Edgar Winter Band on the classic They Only Come out at Night album, which gave us, “Frankenstein,” and, “Free Ride.” In 1973 he formed Montrose, and after trying out a young New Yorker, Eddie Money to be the lead singer, he signed up another unknown vocalist by the name of Sammy Hagar.
The first Montrose album is still considered to be one of the most groundbreaking Hard Rock albums of all time. It was a huge influence on many Hard Rock and early Heavy Metal bands of the mid 1970's, and was still a hugely influential album throughout the 1980's. With songs like, "Bad Motor Scooter," and, "Rock Candy," the first Montrose album was several years ahead of it's time stylistically. The band never managed to follow up that album with an equal, and Hagar went solo after the 2nd Montrose album (Paper Money), but that first album is still one of the all time best straightforward Hard Rock albums ever recorded.