Mountain’s Leslie West Dead at 75

Leslie West, lead vocalist and guitarist of the exhausting rock band Mountain, has died, as Rolling Stone reviews and a consultant has confirmed to Pitchfork. A pioneer in “heavy” guitar-playing, the affect of West’s work could be felt in varied genres, from heavy metallic to hip-hop. He was 75 years outdated; the reason for dying was cardiac arrest.

A New York Metropolis native who grew up within the tri-state space, West acquired his begin in a band referred to as the Vagrants earlier than breaking off with producer Felix Pappalardi, who later produced the long-lasting Cream album Disraeli Gears. Collectively, they fashioned a brand new group referred to as Mountain, taking the identify from West’s current Pappalardi-produced solo album. The band had performed solely a handful of reveals earlier than being booked to carry out at Woodstock in 1969, a chance afforded to them by happenstance of sharing an agent with Jimi Hendrix.

Mountain’s actual debut Climbing! was launched in 1970. The opening observe “Mississippi Queen” is their best-known track to at the present time, and is taken into account a staple of exhausting rock. Essentially the most notable lineup of the band—West, Pappalardi, drummer Corky Laing, and keyboardist Steve Knight—would break up after simply two years. After that, West would play alongside Cream’s Jack Bruce and Lain within the power-trio West, Bruce, and Laing earlier than reuniting Mountain with new members in 1973.

Iconic guitarists from Hendrix to Ritchie Blackmore to Eddie Van Halen held respect for West, who was recognized for his searing riffs and melodic enjoying. However outdoors of rock, his legacy additionally extends to rap music; the Woodstock recording of Mountain’s track “Lengthy Purple” has been sampled in numerous hip-hop tracks, together with Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Kanye West’s “The Glory.”

Although he’d revive Mountain for extra albums all through the years—the final one, 2007’s Masters of Warfare, was a set of Bob Dylan covers—West primarily continued to file and carry out as a solo artist till his dying. His ultimate solo LP Soundcheck was launched in 2015.

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