Rock Star Shot Dead


by Peter Mclaughlin and Larry Sutton
with Thomas Raftery
New York Daily News April 18, 1983

Felix Pappalardi, the producer of the rock supergroup Cream in the '60s, was shot dead yesterday in his elegant apartment above the East River. Police charged his wife in the slaying.

Detectives from the E. 21st St. stationhouse said 911 emergency operators recieved a call from Pappalardi's wife, Gail, 43, about 6 a.m. When police arrived at the apartment, they said, they found the musician lying on the bed in his underwear, a single bullet in his neck.

Pappalardi, 41, was pronounced dead at the scene. A .38-caliber two-shot derringer was lying nearby, police said.

Mrs. Pappalardi apparently called her attorney after notifying police of the shooting. Authorities said she refused to answer questions at the couple's fifth floor apartment at 30 Waterside Plaza, a fashionable residence overlooking the river at 28th St, until her attorney arrived a short while later.

Mrs. Pappalardi was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, police said. She later was admitted to Belleview Hospital after complaining of severe head pains.

Neighbors said the couple had quarreled just before the shooting. They reportedly had a history of arguing.

Pappalardi was credited with fashioning the "heavy" rock and roll sound -emphasizing loud guitars and a thumping bass - favored by many of today's popular groups. He first gained fame in the mid-'60s as the record producer for Cream, a British group featuring Eric Clapton.

Pappalardi later founded his own group, Mountain, and played bass in the punchy style of Jack Bruce, the bass player for Cream. Mountain was among the headliners at Woodstock. "Mississippi Queen", the band's most popular song, was a favorite on many rock radio stations.

Pappalardi was born in the Bronx. He started playing guitaron the Greenwich Village folk scene in the 1960s, working with such performers as Joan Baez, the Lovin' Spoonful and the Youngbloods.

Mountain broke up in 1972. The group reunited two years later, but Pappalardi soon left to organize another group, Creation. He produced his own solo album, "Don't Worry, Ma", in 1979.

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This article is from AP, dated April 18, 1983...
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Associated Press NEW YORK

Felix Pappalardi, a record producer and former bass guitar player for the rock group Mountain, was shot dead yesterday, and his wife was charged with his slaying, police said. Pappalardi, 41, had been shot once in the neck and was pronounced dead when police arrived at the East Side apartment, authorities said. His wife, Gail, 43, had called police at 6 a.m. and allowed officers into the couple' s fifth-floor apartment, police said. A .38-caliber derringer was recovered at the scene. Mrs. Pappalardi was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, said officer Fred Elwick. Pappalardi, born in the Bronx, began his career as a folk artist in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and worked with such artists as Joan Baez, the Lovin' Spoonful and the Youngbloods. He made his name as producer for the rock band Cream. In 1969, Atlantic Records asked him to work with the Vagrants, a band that became Mountain. Pappalardi played bass guitar and keyboard, sang backup vocals and acted as producer. The hard-rock, high-decibel band played briefly as Mountain, recording "Mississippi Queen" and other songs. Since then, members have formed other groups. In recent years, Pappalardi worked as a record producer, but the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock says he was rendered deaf by his appearances with Mountain. He issued his own solo album, Don' t Worry Ma, in 1979.


Newspaper photo of Felix;
wife Gail Collins being taken into custody.

This article is from AP, dated April 19, 1983...
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Associated Press NEW YORK

The wife of record producer Felix Pappalardi, charged with shooting him to death, was ordered held without bail yesterday for psychiatric tests. Criminal Court Judge George Roberts ordered the examination for Gail Collins Pappalardi, 43, when she was brought before him for arraignment on a charge of second-degree murder, said Mary de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 25. Pappalardi, former bass guitarist for the rock group Mountain and also producer of the rock band Cream, was shot once in the neck Sunday and pronounced dead. Police officers came to the couple' s apartment in response to a telephone call from Mrs. Pappalardi. A .38-caliber derringer was recovered at the scene, police said.

Associated Press, 1983

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