Leslie West of Mountain Passes Away at 75

2020-12-23

Mountain founder and guitar great Leslie West has died. He was 75 years old.

“Leslie West Live!” album art – Story by Charles Ken

Mountain founder and guitar great Leslie West has passed away at 75

This year has brought another loss in the music world, as Mountain frontman and guitar great Leslie West has passed away. He was 75.

West is best known for his time in Mountain, but he began his career as the frontman of Long Island, New York’s The Vagrants, which he performed in with his brother, Larry. From there, West released a solo album in 1969 called “Mountain,” then followed up by founding the band Mountain with bass player Felix Pappalardi, keyboardist Steve Knight and drummer N.D. Smart.

Mountain famously played the 1969 Woodstock festival, although they didn’t appear in the 1970 concert movie about the event. Later that year, Smart was replaced by Corky Laing.

Mountain went on to perform at the famed 1969 Woodstock festival, plus score a bevy of chart-toppers. The band’s debut album, 1970’s “Climbing!,” scored the guys a No. 17 position on the Billboard 200, as well as a hit single in “Mississippi Queen.” The band’s follow-up, 1971’s “Nantucket Sleighride,” reached No. 16 on the the Billboard 200.

As his career progressed, Leslie became known as one of the best rock guitarists of his era. He influenced everyone from Eddie Van Halen to Pete Townshend to Randy Rhoads. He also contributed some guitar to The Who’s 1971 release, “Who’s Next,” but his credits don’t appear on the record.

Additional musical projects included the trio West, Bruce & Laing, as well as various solo releases. Mountain also got back together several times over the years. West’s most recent solo album was 2015’s “Soundcheck,” which featured guest playing by Jack Bruce of Cream, Peter Frampton and Queen’s Brian May.

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Posted by Charles Ken | Rock, Rock News