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San Francisco's Montrose, formed by veteran guitarist Ronnie Montrose (who had already played with Herbie Hancock and Van Morrison) and by vocalist Sammy Hagar, were for a few years the West Coast's premier hard-rock band. Montrose (Warner, 1973), featuring Rock Candy, Space Station No 5 and Bad Motor Scooter, and Paper Money (1974) revealed the aggressive, pyrotechnic styles of both guitarist and vocalist.

Hagar left the band after the second album and launched a solo career that peaked with the album Street Machine (1979) and a number of hits (There's Only One Way To Rock, 1981; Heavy Metal, 1981; I'll Fall In Love Again, 1981; Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy, 1982; I Can't Drive 55, 1984; Give To Live, 1987), and then joined Van Halen.

Montrose kept the band alive through three more albums and then launched a solo career with the (far more interesting) instrumental album Open Fire (Warner, 1978). After three albums with a new band, Gamma, Montrose returned to his classy, mostly instrumental art: Territory (1986), The Speed of Sound (1988), Diva Station (IRS, 1990), Mutatis Mutandis (IRS, 1991), Music From Here (Fearless Urge, 1994).

Ronnie Montrose killed himself in march 2012.

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