Terrible news for the music industry tonight as Leslie West, singer and guitarist of hard rock band Mountain has passed away. His death was confirmed by Dean Guitars. His family later confirmed that he died of a heart attack. He was 75.
West and his band Mountain were best known for their classic rock song, “Mississippi Queen” from 1970. He was also known as one of the best guitar players in the business.
Dean Guitars CEO Evan Rubinson stated, “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. To a man that I truly loved more than most — the funniest, most honest guy I’ve met.”
West had an imposing presence on stage and was larger than life, literally. Mountain has come to be known as a legendary band and highly influential to rock music and musicians.
Born in New York as Leslie Weinstein in October 1945, West began his career as a member of the Vagrants, a blue-eyed soul band in the mid-’60s.
In 1969 West and Felix Pappalardi formed the hard rock act, Mountain. The band was named after West’s enormous size. West continued to perform with Mountain and solo until his final album, Soundcheck in 2015.
West is survived by his wife, Jenni Maurer, whom he married onstage at a Woodstock 40th anniversary concert in 2009.