Leslie West, the guitarist and co-lead vocalist of ’70s heavyweight hard rock outfit Mountain, has died at the age of 75.
Earlier in the week, West’s brother, Larry, posted on social media that West’s heart gave out and was on a ventilator.
West’s guitar company, Dean Guitars, was first to confirm the news of West’s death, though no other details were available.
With a heavy heart, we are saddened to hear about the passing of #Dean Artist and part of the Dean family, Leslie West. Legendary and one of a kind. Rest In Peace.
West, born Leslie Weinstein in New York City on Oct. 22, 1945, was one of rock’s great guitar players. He started his career in the 1960s with the Vagrants before forming Mountain with Felix Pappalardi and were joined by keyboardist Steve Knight and N.D. Smart on drums. With their blend of blues and hard rock, the group ushered in a new era of heavy rock and are considered one of the pioneering metal bands.
The band’s biggest hit was 1970’s “Mississippi Queen.” The song peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and more recently, was covered by Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin as part of their Hanukkah Sessions series.
In 2011, West had his lower right leg amputated due to a battle with diabetes. West continued to perform live after the surgery.
As expected, a number of rock luminaries paid tribute to the late guitarist.
@lwestmountain Leslie West of Mountain is gone. His music remains but his amazing spirit is no more. I'm at a loss for words right now…and that says a lot. RIP my friend.
— Dee Snider (@deesnider) December 23, 2020
RIP Leslie West. A massive guitar influence on so many & always a blast to speak with. I knew him well. We had Leslie as the announcer on @ThatMetalShow a few seasons. He also gave me this awesome guitar. RIP to a legend & friend who will be missed. pic.twitter.com/h11n69QXz7
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) December 23, 2020
Rest in Power #LeslieWest! I love his playing, singing and writing. A big influence on so many musicians, including myself. Leslie had THE SOUND in his hands. Was so cool to hang out with him at a NAMM dinner in ‘09, what a great friendly guy and phenomenal musician. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/WsV25hmnB9
— 𝕸𝖎𝖈𝖍𝖆𝖊𝖑 𝕬𝖒𝖔𝖙𝖙 (@Michael_Amott) December 23, 2020
We are saddened to learn Leslie West Mountain has passed away. We did many shows with him over the years and he will be…
Wow … I’m very saddened to hear this terrible news about Leslie West. He was a major influence on my playing. God Bless you Brother.. you are Soaring with Angels https://t.co/wEeLbJ6fXZ
— NEAL SCHON MUSIC (@NealSchonMusic) December 23, 2020
More to come…
To see our running list of the top 100 greatest guitarists of all time, click here.