Rockers Pay Tribute to the Mountain Man, Leslie West

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When news broke earlier this week that guitarist Leslie West was gravely ill, many fellow classic rock legends began expressing admiration for one of their own heroes and wishing him well. Sadly, West did not recover from the heart attack that he had suffered days earlier. He died yesterday, December 23, 2020, at age 75.

Related: Our obituary on the Mountain frontman and hard rock guitar hero

We’ve collected several of the tributes to West and shared them below.

On West’s official Facebook page, a post, presumably from his wife, Jenni, said, “Heaven just got a lot louder. Rest now my love.”

The Kinks’ lead guitarist, Dave Davies, wrote on Twitter: “I loved Leslie West and his guitar playing. Loved Mountain. Mississippi Queen. So American so cool. Mountain were the beginning of American heavy metal I thought.”

Neal Schon wrote, “Wow… I’m very saddened to hear this terrible news. He was a major influence on my playing. God Bless you are Soaring with Angels.”

From Bruce Kulick: “I am very saddened by the loss of one of my biggest guitar heroes, Leslie West. His music and guitar tone was always a huge influence on me. I saw him live many times, and Grand Funk played shows with Leslie on the same bill. That was so exciting for me. He will always be remembered as a HUGE rock guitar legend. Another tragic day in 2020.”

Paul Stanley: “Leslie’s tone could stop a rhino in a full charge. Mountain sound was massive. Leslie was a warm and lovely guy.”

Ace Frehley: “I lost a dear friend yesterday, he was Leslie West the lead guitarist from “Mountain”…Probably best known for their hit “Mississippi Queen”…He was an amazing guitarist, and I was awaiting a call from him, since I did a remake of one of his songs on “Origins Vol. 2”…but now I’ll never get a chance to hear what he thought of the cover…It’s so sad, we’ve lost so many great guitar 🎸players this year…my prayers are with his family & friends during this holiday season! He was one of the great guitarists and a good friend over the years!!! He will be missed in the Rock & Roll Community! I’m sure he’s up in R&R Heaven w/all the other musicians we’ve lost!🙁…R.I.P Mr. West! 🎸😉❤️🙏” — Ace

Best Classic Bands Staff

7 Comments so far

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  1. Glen Kosinski
    #1 Glen Kosinski 24 December, 2020, 21:24


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    • The Line
      The Line 25 December, 2020, 02:17

      In the spring of 1970 my senior year at Michigan State University a festival was held and on of the acts was Mountain. I had purchased Leslie West’s first album but had not heard the bands album well—they simply stole the show just a great sound West to me was the new Clapton. Just loved that band and always followed his career. Blessed to have seen him and heard him.

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  2. Da Mick
    #2 Da Mick 25 December, 2020, 00:51

    As an electric guitar player of 55 years, who’s enjoyed and played many styles of music, I was never really that appreciative of “heavy” music genre, especially more so at the time when much of what is now thought of as classic was created. But Mountain was, and still is, different to me. Now often quoted as, or thought of, the originators of a heavier sound that became much more widespread and popular, there’s no doubt that Mountain as a band, and Leslie West in particular, were original in the intensity of the heavy sounds they crafted to voice their melodic and raucous songs.

    But I think it’s a disservice to simply deem Mountain the grandfather of the heavy bands. Tom Morello’s says that “His guitar tone on “Mississippi Queen” is hands down the BADDEST guitar tone on record,” and I’m in complete agreement — always has been, and probably always will be. When that immediately recognizable cowbell comes on the radio, you absolutely have to turn it up to feel the intensity of what comes next. Don’t you? It’s not that Leslie was the greatest technical guitar player in an age that brought us some of the all-time greats. It’s just that whatever he played, especially on their studio recordings, sounded so freakin great — a sublime mixture of an unearthly liquid tone with breathy melodic notes, that was instantly recognizable and so amazingly memorable.
    With all the techno-wizardry guitar playing and deep-throated singers that have come forth since Mountain first graced the airwaves, the bottom line is that what came out of Leslie’s mouth and instruments always seemed to hit the sweet spot, and in that sense, was, and still is, so simply enjoyable.

    I think David Coverdale’s quote said it best: “I’ve never tired of listening to Mountain…”

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  3. Monster Mountain Man
    #3 Monster Mountain Man 25 December, 2020, 01:34

    I’m originally from Long Island and I remember going to clubs to see The Vagrants and talking to Leslie about music & his guitar playing. The other band on L.I. were The Hassles where Billy Joel emerged from & both were very nice guys. I saw Mountain many times and I have all their music. Leslie and Felix were a great pair who made hard kick ass music. Now at 71 I have 40% hearing in both ears which is attributed to sitting in the 6th row near Leslie’s Marshall amps during a show in NYC. I felt something dripping out of my ear and when I felt it, it was ear wax. Over the years my ears got progressively worse but I’d do it all over again just to hear Mountain again. RIP, Mr. Weinstein and make sure to hang with Felix, Jimi & Eddie. We’ll get to meet again not to far from now. Condolences to his family…Dolph.

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  4. Gregorio
    #4 Gregorio 25 December, 2020, 03:29

    Leslie West was a superlative artist!
    His in concert bombastic performance shot you through the stratosphere!
    Mountain, West, Bruce and Laing and thereafter climbing higher than Mountain!
    Truly an Everlasting Everest!
    Thank you, Leslie, for your magnanimous music and magnificent memories!

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  5. Daveyjoe
    #5 Daveyjoe 3 January, 2021, 14:57

    His playing speaks for itself. But also, what a friendly, unpretentious guy. And it’s nice, during a time when a lot of our leaders are not presenting a good picture of us to the world, to be able to point to Leslie and say, “Yeah, he was one of us.”

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  6. Carlos Lee
    #6 Carlos Lee 29 June, 2021, 17:36

    Mountain Climbing was their first album and one of the first rock albums I purchased as a 13 yo kid. I was, am still am hooked on Leslie West’s guitar sound. Felix Pappalardi and him made a fine team. I must have listened to that album 5,000 times the next few years then did the same with Mountain Flowers of Evil. To me he brought on the heavier sound, but still with a melodic feel to it. Something other bands had a hard time matching up to for my listening! Rest In Peace Leslie West! I miss you being in this world!

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