Felix Pappalardi, the energetic bass player and lead vocalist in Mountain, was born on this day in 1939 in The Bronx.
A graduate of New York's High School of Music and Art, Pappalardi added to his classical training while majoring in music at the University of Michigan. Finding no openings available in Big Apple symphonies and orchestras, Felix applied what he'd learned to arranging and producing material for Folk and Rock artists, the Youngbloods, Joan Baez and a band called the Vagrants among them. His production work on Disraeli Gears, the sophomore album by Cream, boosted his profile considerably.
The Vagrants disbanded and the group's guitarist, Leslie West, contacted Pappalardi about joining the new outfit he was putting together. By that time, Pappalardi was already working on Cream's Goodbye album, but he and West hit it off musically and one of the loudest bands in Rock history was born.
Pappalardi met an untimely and violent death in April of 1983 when his wife shot and killed him in the couple's New York apartment using a Derringer Felix had given her as a gift. She faced second degree murder charges but was convicted of criminally negligent homicide.
Other 12/30 musical birthdays of note; Bo Diddley (Ellas Otha Bates / Ellas McDaniel) (1928), and Jeff Lynne of the Move, Electric Light Orchestra and Traveling Wilburys ("Otis" WIlbury) (1947). Fellow Wilbury George Harrison was stabbed and his wife Olivia injured on this night in 1999 when an intruder broke into their Henley home. Ane Neil Young was honored with an Order Of Canada award on this day in 2009.