Leslie West is an American rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the hard rock band Mountain.
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, as opposed to the more bohemian Greenwich Village scene which produced bands such as The Fugs and The Velvet Underground.
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 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. New drummer Corky Laing joined the band shortly after and they had success with "Mississippi Queen" followed by "Theme For An Imaginary Western" written by Jack Bruce. Mountain is one of the bands considered to be forerunners of heavy metal and Johnny Ramone has described West as "one of the top five guitar players of his era”.
After Mountain, West continued to work with a variety of lineups, including Al Kooper, Ian Gillan and Joe Bonamassa. Theme is a 1988 album featuring Jack Bruce and Joe Franco.
Talk Dirty, Motherload, Theme for an Imaginary Western, I'm Crying, Red House, Love is Forever, I Ate It, Spoonful, Love Me Tender