The music world, and the hard-rock community in particular, is mourning the loss of Mountain frontman Leslie West, who died Tuesday at age 75 after suffering cardiac arrest earlier in the week.
Peter Frampton, members of Black Sabbath, KISS‘ Paul Stanley and may other artists took to social media to pay tribute to West and acknowledge his contributions as an influential and powerful guitar player and singer, and to acknowledge their friendship with the larger-than-life musician.
Here are just some of the homages:
Peter Frampton: “Leslie West was the very first US guitar player I met when Humble Pie opened for Mountain here. Leslie’s playing and sound had me glued watching everything he did. He was a sweetheart and an extremely funny man. I love you Leslie and will miss you dear friend. RIP.”
Ozzy Osbourne: “Very sad about my dear friend Leslie West’s passing.”
Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi: So sad to hear the news of Leslie West’s passing. He was a great guitar player and his band Mountain were one of the first band that Sabbath supported on our early tour of America. We struck up a great relationship on that tour — they were a really good band and Leslie’s playing and sound was just superb and he was a great singer too! When they came to the UK to tour he brought a gift of a similar Gibson to what he used on stage…he was a really nice guy and will be sadly missed. RIP.”
Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler: “Sad to hear of Leslie West’s passing. Such a lovely bloke. He was fantastic to us when Sabbath supported Mountain on our first US tour. He came to see us at Mohegan Sun, even though he was wheelchair bound. Mississippi Queen one of, if not the, greatest riff of all time.”
KISS’ Paul Stanley: So very sad. Leslie’s tone could stop a rhino in a full charge. Mountain sound was massive. Leslie was a warm and lovely guy. Sad.”
Slash: “RIP #LeslieWest.”
Robbie Robertson: Leslie West playing that Les Paul Jr with that tone and tenacity really moved me. Blessing to his friends, fans and family.”
The Kinks‘ Dave Davies: “I loved Leslie West and his guitar playing. Loved Mountain. Very sad day. [Mississippi] Queen. So [American] so cool. Nantucket Sleighride. He will [definitely] be missed. A one off player. Thank you, Leslie.”
Journey‘s Neal Schon: “Wow…I’m very saddened to hear this terrible news about Leslie West. He was a major influence on my playing. God Bless you Brother…you are Soaring with Angels.”
David Coverdale: “R.I.P Leslie West…Yet another sad loss…I’ve never tired of listening to Mountain.
Nils Lofgren: “Rest In Peace, friend. Grin opened for Mountain and West, Bruce and [Laing] through early ’70s. Sweet, bad ass blues man. Got to play together first Rock n Roll Fantasy Camp. I’ll always remember his smile as he looked me in the eye, inspired and shared his gifts.”
Dee Snider: “Leslie West and Mountain are one of the founding fathers of heavy metal. His explosive, powerful guitar playing and [searing] solos helped define the genre. Attending guitarists gatherings with Leslie I saw ALL guitarists bow down before him (yes even Eddie Van Halen). And his influence on HIP HOP (You heard me!) is undeniable. His song Long [Red] has been sampled on over 750 hip hop tracks including Jay-Z 99 Problems. What an incredible force [he] was!”
Lita Ford: “One of the baddest, true hard-core rock and roll guitar warriors that ever lived! Never In My Life did I find a legend like you. Great musicians will never die. Rest in Peace Leslie West.”
Tom Morello: “His guitar tone on ‘Mississippi Queen’ is hands down the BADDEST guitar tone on record.”
Joe Satriani: “R.I.P. Leslie West. We had some great times together onstage and some legendary laughs everyday on tour. Thank you for all the great music. My deepest condolences to the West family.”
Living Colour‘s Vernon Reid: One of the GOAT. This year will not be looked upon with fondness outside of marriages & childbirth. Rest In Chords Of Power, Fatsby.”
Sebastian Bach: “Rest in peace @lwestmountain we became friends in the 90s and I’ll never forget you bringing your whole family to Jekyll and Hyde on Broadway and you and me staying up all night after the show in my hotel room hanging out talking about rock and roll.”
Ex-Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes: “So very sad to hear that my dear friend Leslie West has passed away. Leslie’s work with Mountain will be remembered by millions of Music Listeners. A pioneer, both singing and guitar playing, was absolutely beyond. Brothers for 5 decades.”
Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens: “Leslie West has moved on to go jam with EVH. As a fellow Queens N.Y. kid Leslie was our guy. From the days playing the Action House in Long Island with the Vagrants, Leslie was the best of the best.”
Grand Funk Railroad and ex-KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick: “I am very saddened by the loss of one of my biggest guitar heroes Leslie West. His band Mountain was amazing, and his guitar tone was always a huge influence on me. I saw him live many times, and GFR played shows with Leslie on the same bill. Huge Rock Guitar Legend. 2020 sucks.”
By Matt Friedlander
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