IN MEMORIAM - Leslie West
GOLDMINE|March 2021
Ten months before Mountain’s Top 40 debut with the powerful “Mississippi Queen,” the band performed “For Yasgur’s Farm” and eight more songs at Woodstock. In our 2009 Woodstock 40th anniversary interview article, guitarist and vocalist Leslie West told Goldmine, “We were performing at the Fillmore West and Winterland in California, heard about what was going on back east, and knew we were going to it. We had to rent our own helicopter, because there was no way we were getting upstate in New York with the freeway closed. I almost fell out of the helicopter when I saw all those people. All of a sudden, in the middle of nowhere, you saw a city. It was something else. I was really nervous. When I did my guitar solo, it sounded pretty loud.

In 2010, Leslie reflected on the 40th anniversary of “Mississippi Queen” with Goldmine. Asked if this was the Mountain song that he was most fond of, “No. My favorite Mountain songs are ‘Theme for an Imaginary Western,’ which Jack Bruce wrote, and ‘Nantucket Sleighride.’”

At the same time that Mountain had their sole Top 40 hit with “Mississippi Queen,” The Ides of March also had their sole Top 40 hit with “Vehicle,” written and sung by the group’s guitarist Jim Peterik, who told Goldmine, “Nobody could squeeze more tone and soul out of a Les Paul Jr. guitar than Leslie West. As a guitar player he made me realize that less is more in the right hands. Rock in peace my guitar hero.”

In early 1972, after three successful albums for the group, Mountain disbanded, and Leslie West and Corky Laing joined forces with Jack Bruce. West, Bruce and Laing released a pair of studio albums and a live album. In 1973, Mountain re-formed and released a live album, followed by a studio album the following year.

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