Leslie West died. The legendary singer and guitarist of Mountain, an important band for the development of hard rock in the 1970s, left us this Wednesday (23), at 75 years old.
Dean Guitars, the maker of instruments that supported the musician, was responsible for spreading the news on their networks. The cause of death was not mentioned.
“With great sadness, we are sorry to hear about the death of Leslie West, Dean artist and part of the Dean family. Legendary and unique. Rest in peace.”
I knew, since Tuesday (22), that the state of health of Leslie West was not good. The musician’s brother Larry posted on the networks :
“I ask for all your prayers. Jenni (Leslie’s wife) is next to him in Florida, but the situation is not good. I thank Jenni, he wouldn’t have made it this far without you. His heart is in trouble and he has been put on mechanical ventilation and he may not be able to survive that night. ”
Leslie West and the Mountain
Born in New York, United States, on October 22, 1945, Leslie West started in music in the 1960s, playing with The Vagrants, an R&B group. Through this project, he met bassist and producer Felix Pappalardi, who worked with Cream.
Together, the two set up Mountain, which followed Cream’s heavy rock footprint, heavily influenced by the blues. They soon released an album, credited as a solo work by West – ‘Mountain’ (1969) -, and achieved prominence performing at the Woodstock festival in 1969. After that, drummer Corky Laing joined the group, which also brought keyboardist Steve Knight.
The following year, the band released the album ‘Climbing’, which won a gold record in the United States thanks to the hit ‘Mississippi Queen’. The song became a classic and has already been rewritten by names like WASP, Ozzy Osbourne and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, among many others.
At first, Mountain didn’t last as long and gave way to a project in which Jack Bruce, bassist for Cream, would play with Leslie West and Corky Laing: West, Bruce and Laing. At the time, Leslie also recorded with The Who.
Still, the albums recorded by the band in the 70s made history: ‘Nantucket Sleightride’ (1971), ‘Flowers of Evil’ (also 1971) and ‘Avalanche’ (1974), in addition to the aforementioned ‘Climbing’ and debut ‘Mountain’, released under the name Leslie.
The band’s activities ended in 1974, with successive meetings: 1981 to 1985, 1992 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010. In the midst of all that, West continued to promote his solo career, building a long discography outside the group.
In 2011, the musician had part of his right leg amputated due to complications from diabetes. From then on, the pace of their professional activities started to be reduced.
Although he has done very few shows since then, West has continued to produce in the studio, releasing three solo albums in the past decade: ‘Unusual Suspects’ (2011), ‘Still Climbing’ (2013) and ‘Soundcheck’ (2015).