Legendary guitarist Leslie West, responsible for the hit “Mississipi Queen” died at the age of 75, the cause was not revealed. The news was shared by Dean Guitar, company that the musician had an endorsement deal. Few days ago his brother said he was hospitalized, saying that: “His heart gave out and he’s on a ventilator, may not make it through the night.” West had his lower right leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes back in 2011.
“With a heavy heart, we are saddened hear about the passing of #Dean Artist and part of the Dean family, Leslie West. Legendary and one of a kind. Rest In Peace,” Dean guitars statement said.
Dean Guitars CEO Evan Rubinson talked about it, saying: “To a man that I truly loved more than most. The funniest, most honest guy I’ve met. #RIP #LeslieWest”
West was born in New York City, but grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, and in East Meadow, New York, Forest Hills, New York and Lawrence, New York. After his parents divorced, he changed his surname to West. His musical career began with the Vagrants, an R&B/blue-eyed soul-rock band influenced by the likes of the Rascals that was one of the few teenage garage rock acts to come out of the New York metropolitan area itself (as opposed to the Bohemian Greenwich Village scene of artists, poets and affiliates of the Beat Generation, which produced bands like The Fugs and The Velvet Underground). The Vagrants had two minor hits in the Eastern US: 1966’s “I Can’t Make a Friend”. Also a cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” the following year.
Some of the Vagrants’ recordings were produced by Felix Pappalardi. Who was also working with Cream on their album Disraeli Gears. In 1969, West and Pappalardi formed the pioneering hard rock act Mountain. Which was also the title of West’s debut solo album. Rolling Stone identified the band as a “louder version of Cream”. With Steve Knight on keyboards and original drummer N. D. Smart, the band appeared on the second day of the Woodstock Festival on Saturday.