Big Mountain! Where Are They Now?
Updated: May 20, 2020
Big Mountain, is a reggae band known for its remake of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way", which became a top 10 hit single in the US in early 1994, reaching No. 6 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and No. 2 in the UK., and won the MTV Europe Music Awards as Best Cover. The song was also featured in the soundtrack of the film, Reality Bites (Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke) (1994).
Its follow-up, "Sweet Sensual Love" reached No. 51 in the UK, whilst the album Unity went on to sell over a million copies worldwide. The band first reached the charts with the song "Touch My Light" in 1993, a song taken from their debut album Wake Up.
In 2004, after 15 years and 9 albums on major labels, which included Warner Records, Big Mountain decided to take some time off to focus on family and side projects. In 2015 Quino McWhinney, the band’s lead singer, put together a successful Kickstarter campaign to test the waters and finance a recording project. The strong show of support convinced the band that it was time for a comeback.
The album “Perfect Summer” was released in 2016 and that same year the band was back on the world stage headlining Rototom Reggae Festival in Valencia, Spain. They have since headlined the One Love Festival in New Zealand, Pol’and’Rock Festival and Colombo Music Festival in Sri Lanka.
In 2017 the band received a big boost from Hollywood by being included in the soundtrack for the successful remake of Jumanji. Ooh Baby I Love Your Way is proving to be one of the most successful songs in the history of music as Big Mountain continues to hold onto a strong listening audience worldwide without the help of a major label. The band is currently exceeding 3 million streams per month on Spotify.
Big Mountain also holds claim to being pioneers of reggae in Spanish. Touch My Light recorded in 1992 was the band’s first radio hit and was recorded in Spanish and English. A disc jockey in El Centro California took it upon himself to splice a Spanglish version. That version quickly became a favorite around the southwest US. On Big Mountain’s next album Unity the song “Un Sensual Amor” became a top 10 hit in Spain in 1994.
Quino and his brother James, percussionist and singer of Big Mountain, are Americans of Mexican heritage. Their maternal grandparents migrated to the United States as farmers from Chihuahua, Mexico, in the early 1900’s. Growing up in San Diego exposed the McWhinney brothers to the terrible pain and suffering families endure when they get torn apart by deportation. They believe that all people have a right to travel far and wide to fulfill their dreams, especially when it comes to bettering their lives and the lives of their children and families. Big Mountain just released their new single ‘Deportation Nation’ and a video filmed by the Mexico-US border wall to demonstrate to their undocumented immigrant sisters and brothers that the band stands in solidarity with their plight. A documentary of the single will also be released in mid-November.
But it’s not the first time they sing about this important issue. In 1994, as part of their album Unity, they released a song called Border Town to express their views on this issue.