Fat Mattress was formed in late 1968 by Noel Redding with vocalist Neil Landon, bass guitarist Jim Leverton and drummer Eric Dillon. Redding (from Folkestone) and Leverton (from Dover) had been involved in the flourishing early 1960s group scene in South East Kent which also included Landon (who hailed originally from Kirdford, Sussex). Dillon (from Swindon, Wiltshire) was brought in by Leverton who had met him while playing in Engelbert Humperdinck'sbacking band. The band was formed while Redding was a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with a view to enabling Redding to both play guitar and sing lead, as well as to record original material. While he had done all three things with the Experience, they were restricted to rare occasions. Martin Barre was briefly a member of the band, but soon left to replace Mick Abrahams in Jethro Tull.
The first major public exposure of the band was as the opening act to the Jimi Hendrix Experience on a tour of theUnited States, during which Redding would perform with both bands. Landon, Redding, and Leverton all sang lead, allowing the group to employ a great deal of vocal harmonies.
The group was signed to Polydor Records and released the eponymous Fat Mattress album in 1969. The album was modestly successful, with one song, "Magic Forest" becoming a hit in the Netherlands.
In August 1969 The band made an appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in front of a crowd of an estimated 120,000 people. The line-up also included Bob Dylan & The Band, The Nice, The Pretty Things, The Who, and the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.
On 27 September 1969 Fat Mattress (along with The Who) appeared on the popular German TV show, Beat-Club. They performed three songs; "Naturally", "Mr. Moonshine" and "Magic Forest".
A major U.S. tour was cancelled after completing only five dates of an initially anticipated thirty. In the midst of recording Fat Mattress II, Redding and Leverton had a falling out, resulting in Redding's departure from the band. He was replaced by Steve Hammond at roughly the same time as Mick Weaver was added to relieve Leverton on keyboard duties, allowing Leverton to focus on bass and vocals. Fat Mattress II was less of a success than their debut, and the band split in the middle of recording what would have been their third album.
- Neil Landon – vocals
- Noel Redding (1968–69) – guitar, vocals
- Jim Leverton – bass, organ, vocals, harpsichord (born James Leverton, in 1946, in Dover, Kent, England)
- Eric Dillon – drums, percussion (born in 1950, in Swindon, Wiltshire, England)
- Steve Hammond (1969–70) – guitar (born in 1939, in London died in 1994, in Port Hueneme, California, USA)
- Mick Weaver (1969–70) – organ, harpsichord, piano