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Leslie West

Leslie West first gained recognition as the lead guitarist for the Vagrants, a locally popular 1960s Long Island group. One of that group's singles was produced by Felix Pappalardi, a bass player who also produced Cream. After the Vagrants and Cream split up, Pappalardi played bass on and produced West's debut solo album, Mountain (July 1969). Following its release, the two teamed up with drummer Norman Smart (soon replaced by Corky Laing) and keyboard player Steve Knight to form the band Mountain, which cut the albums Climbing! (February 1970; a gold-selling LP featuring the Top 40 single "Mississippi Queen"), Nantucket Sleighride (January 1971; which also went gold), and Flowers of Evil (November 1971). In 1972, Pappalardi left Mountain to return to being a producer. (Posthumous record releases included Mountain Live (The Road Goes on Forever) [April 1972] and The Best of Mountain [February 1973].) West and Laing joined with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce to form West, Bruce & Laing. The trio recorded two studio albums, Why Dontcha (October 1972) and Whatever Turns You On (July 1973). (A live album, Live 'N' Kickin', was released in April 1974.) Bruce quit in the summer of 1973, and West and Laing briefly formed Leslie West's Wild West Show. Then West, Pappalardi, Alan Schwartherg (drums), and Bob Mann (keyboards) re-formed Mountain, recording a double live album, Twin Peaks (February 1974), in Osaka, Japan, in August 1973. This was followed by a Mountain studio album, Avalanche (July 1974), made by West, Pappalardi, Laing, and Knight. Then Mountain split again, and West formed the Leslie West Band, releasing The Great Fatsby (April 1975) (which featured Mick Jagger) and The Leslie West Band (1976) (which featured Mick Jones, later of Foreigner). Bedeviled by substance abuse problems, West retired from music for a time, then cleared up and again re-formed Mountain with Laing and bassist Mark Clarke (Pappalardi had died in 1983) for Go for Your Life (March 1985). The group broke up again, and West made Theme (1988), again teaming with Jack Bruce. West then participated in the Guitar Speaks (1988) and Night of the Guitar (1989) recordings of legendary rock guitarists for IRS Records' Illegal subsidiary. His next solo album was Alligator (August 1989), followed by Dodgin' the Dirt (1994). In 1994, West and Laing teamed with ex-Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding in another edition of Mountain, recording two tracks for the compilation Over the Top (1995). The solo As Phat as It Gets followed in 1999. After an album for Voiceprint, Guitarded, in 2004, West released two blues-inflected albums for Blues Bureau International, 2005's Got Blooze and 2006's Blue Me. West lost a leg due to complications from type 2 diabetes in June of 2011, but it didn't slow him down much. He released Unusual Suspects, which featured guest spots from guitarists Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, Joe Bonamassa, and Steve Lukather three months later in September. ~ William Ruhlmann, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

ischaffee
Leslie you and Felix.. the absolute greatest.. I remember back In 69 seeing them at Drew University and then after that the Fillmore..I felt like I was floating when I left those concerts.. couldn't listen to anything on the radio.. All I wanted to here was Mountain... I hope to see them again.. RIP Felix !!!!
This mfkn rocks fffffaaaawww w k k k k k yyyyeeeeaaaa :D
I saw Mountain in about 1971 or 1972 at the Spectrum in Phila. . Opening act was Black Sabbath ( think that was their Phila debut ) then ( sorry for the brain fog but I cant recall which was the headline act ) Mountain n Humble Pie . What a grrreat bill !!! I think it was only 7 bucks or so for a ticket n I'm pretty sure that same line-up returned to the Spectrum at a later date . Ah , the70s , maybe the best era for great music - just my opinion .
hddcrash
Oh my oh my. I don't usually read these blogs but for some reason,,,,we l l , jrojr69 you got to start paying attention. I know your post was a year ago and I may be too late. Let me just say I seen em all, Beck included and he can't hold a guitar pick next to Leslie West. I saw him in 1971 at UNH. He blew the place up. The last time I saw him was about 10 years ago in Boston and he blew the place up. If there is any question who carries the day on his guitar pick up Unusual Suspects.
Love Leslie. Sounding like Paul Rodgers on this disk.
kvons1
How about some Nantucket Sleighride-- - - - P A N D O R A ? ?
This s**t kicks a**!
north south east west is the best live show in the world diging him a long time now 69 nyc
Saw them three times in '69 at my college in connecticut. . . t h e m yankee boys could play...zorba
Every time this guy's stuff comes around on Pandora he blows me away! Back in 1971 in Wildwood NJ Mountain kicked a**.
kvons1
Leslie West & Felix Pappalardi (&) Duke and the Drivers----F R O L I C S BALLROOM, Salisbury Beach, Salisbury, Mass July 4th, 1977-----MEM O R I E S , MEMORIES!
I've seen Leslie many, many times through his up's and downs and various addictions and weight issues!! The one thing that has never changed or been compromised is that every note he plays comes directly from the depth of his soul!!!!!! Hendrix would be about his only peer!
Keep jamming, Leslie!
One of the all timers, for sure. But who's the best?
Beck, and its not even close!
Mississippi Queen is time capsule worthy as one of the great toneful and tasty guitar solos of all time!
Seiko desu!!!!
not to shabby
oh yeah.... we tried smokin it it..... once. but I never van haled it.
fklaurel
One of the best!
not bad
the man still teares it up,
Arf!
doowopj69
van halan
graybeard19
One of my top three guitarists, West, clapton, page.....don t get no better, I guess I forgot to add Jerry Garcia and Bob wier too, guess that makes FIVE...rock on leslie, rock on!
jimi hendrix is the ONE
frank marino YEA
ronnie montrose the man
robin trower one of the greats
leslie west one of greats
I will agree Marino is one on the best i just saw him last week in maryland, front row,,, i was in shock totally on how good he really is
Right on Stormy
@tommy jackson
let's not be rude, if you're gonna whip out the 'greatest guitar player' card...how about peter green (even clapton says he's one of the best, if not the best, white bluesman), or roy buchanan, or stevie ray (yea, that's right purists, i said stevie), or ronnie earl, mike bloomfield, lightnin' hopkins, and on and on. there are many greats, and way more than those you mentioned, that belong in a conversation about greatest blues guitarists.
Absolute no-brainer.. . l i s t e n i n g to anything by him...You know who it is!
he is very good---but the greatest blues guitarist ever



lets see---ever hear of hendrix, clapton, marino,trowe r , allman,winte r , gibbons
No one can touch his tone or hand vibrato...my earliest influence
watched front row with him rev jones bass in annopolis md blew me away awwwwwwwstru c k
I saw West, Malcolm Bruce & Laing last week, front row, center- they absolutely kicked a** but they only played for an hour and fifteen minutes- my buddy and I could have sat there for ever- I wish it hadn't ended- I will go any time, any where- a tasty morsel to feed my soul- off to Kid Rock next week and Clapton & Beck in 2 weeks.....Ro c k & Roll Baby....
provenbuilde r
Leslie West is by far THE GREATEST BLUES, ROCK guitarist that ever lived. We are so fortunate that he is still young,and still able to rock this planet.When Leslie plays a song He Owns it!!!! No-one else even comes close!!!

the King of Tone !

Its a shame that Pandora doesn't include any West, Bruce and Laing. Some of the material on Why Dontcha is blues/rock at its best. The soaring bass and guitar crescendos on songs like Third Degree and I Know Love is Worth the Blues build and build until you hit the ceiling. I for one would love to see a WB&L reunion as much as I did the Cream reunion.
Boy - Baby Please Don't Go just cooks....... . .
hey cantbythrill : (love that steely dan album by the way) : Yes, you are correct. Poor felix was done in by his girlfrien (gail collins) over a petty argument. Sucks to lose such a great like that. rock on!
seen the man and even shook his hand once. One of the pioneers of kick-a** rock and roll, for sure
great find strong vocals fantastic strings
Mountain's Live Album title is "The Road Goes Ever On", and, it may be worth mentioning that Felix Papalardi was murdered by his girlfriend, who also did the album art (or so I heard).
word
sammytodaro
i guess you would have to have heard them live down in Houston to never forget the feeling generated by L.W.and moutain tearing it up! Try Glass Harp for more guitar treats...
What else can I say!! It's Leslie
hey leslie, thank you
makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up!!!!!!!!!
lESLIE IS UNBELEAVEABL E GUITEARIST SMOKEN HOT HA HA HA HA .
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