Our Top 10 Montrose Songs list takes a look at a cult band that helped launch the career of vocalist and red rocker Sammy Hagar. The band also served as a showcase for the sensational guitar work of band leader Ronnie Montrose. The band first formed in 1973. A year earlier Ronnie Montrose had enjoyed great commercial success as the guitarist on Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.” Ronnie Montrose had been a member of the classic Edgar Winter Group. Before Ronnie Montrose joined the Edgar Winter group he had had done work as a session guitar player.
The first Montrose album was released in 1973 entitled Montrose. The band on the record featured Ronnie Montrose on guitar, Sammy Hagar on lead vocals, Bill Church on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums. The album was produced by Ted Templeman who would later play a pivotal role in producing the great Van Halen albums of the late 1970’s and beyond.
The second Montrose album was released in 1974. The album was entitled Paper Money. The album featured one lineup change as Alan Fitzgerald replaced Bill Church on bass. Paper Money would be the last Montrose album that Sammy Hagar would sing lead vocals on. Once again the album was produced by Ted Templeman.
In 1975, Montrose released their third album entitled Warner Bros. Presents. The album featured a very different sound from the previous two records. Not only was lead singer Sammy Hagar replaced by vocalist Bob James, the album served as the first Montrose record not produced by Ted Templeman.
The fourth Montrose album entitled Jump On It was released in 1976. The album featured a cover that caught many record buyers eyes when it first landed on the shelves. It would be the last album released by the band for at least eleven years.
After Ronnie Montrose disbanded his Montrose band, he eventually formed a new band called Gamma and worked on other various projects In 1997, Ronnie Montrose reformed Montrose with Johnny Edwards on lead vocals, Glenn Letsch on bass, and James Kottak on drums. The band released the album entitled Mean. It would become the last official Montrose studio album.
Sadly Ronnie Montrose committed suicide in 2012. A year later in 2013 Sammy Hagar reunited the original Montrose lineup for a tribute concert to his former bandmate.
Our Top 10 Montrose songs list takes a look at the music the band released during their short run in the 1970’s. The first two albums are highly recommended as they showcase a band ready to explode. However, with Sammy Hagar’s departure, the band never achieved superstar status.
# 10 – I Don’t Want It
We open our Top 10 Montrose songs list with a track from the band’s debut album that was released in 1973. I Don’t Want It was side A’s closing track The song was written by Sammy Hagar and Ronnie Montrose.
# 9 – M for Machine
This cool Montrose song was released on the 1987 comeback album entitled Mean. Ths songs was issued as the fifth song on the album. One of those very rare songs that only die hard Montrose fans have ever heard.
# 8 – What Are You Waiting For
The Montrose track “What Are You Waiting For,” was released on the band’s fourth album entitled Jump On It. The song appeared as the second track on the record. What Are You Waiting For was written by Ronnie Montrose’s ex Edgar Winter Group band mate Dan Hartman. The same Dan Hartman who had the mega selling disc hit in the 1970’s entitled “Instant Replay.”
# 7 – Matriarch
The Montrose song “Matriarch,” was the opening track on the band’s third album entitled Warner Bros. Presents. Lead vocals on the track were performed by Bob James.
# 6 – Make It Last
The great track “Make It Last,” was released on the band’s debut album in 1973. The song was written by Sammy Hagar. It was the albums closing track.
# 5 – Paper Money
The title track from the band’s second album. Dig that drum and bass intro. The song “Paper Money,” was also the album’s closing track.
# 4 – Bad Motor Scooter
This great song Bad Motor Scooter was written by Sammy Hagar. It was originally released on the first Montrose album. It was later released on Sammy Hagar’s live album in the late 1970’s.
# 3 – I Got The Fire
The great Montrose song “I Got The Fire,” was released on the band’s second album entitled Paper Money. The song served as the album’s opening cut. If we took Led Zeppelin and The Who and mixed them together in a blender, a cup of Montrose would pour into the glass. Just take a listen to this song and you will know what we mean.
# 2 – Space Station # 5
This smoking rock and roll cut was released on the first Montrose album. It is probably one of the most overlooked songs of the classic rock and roll era. Listen to that guitar lick at the beginning. Sammy Hagar sounds like The Who’s Roger Daltrey on his opening scream.
# 1 – Rock Candy
There was no doubting this one. Our choice for the number one song on our top 10 Montrose songs list turns out to be their most famous song also. No one can deny that great guitar lick that opens the song. Sammy Hagar comes screaming in and there you have it. Classic rock and roll! A legendary rock and roll singer was born on this one, and you know his name.
“Rock Candy,” was released on the band’s debut album in 1973. The song is still performed live by Sammy Hagar.