Before influential classic rock guitarist Leslie West passed away in December 2020, he was planning to re-record some of his classics from Mountain and West Bruce & Laing.
Additionally, there were some new songs in the works. And the idea was to record them with a variety of celebrity musician guests.
Unfortunately, West passed away too soon.
“There was nobody on earth quite like Leslie,” says the guitarist’s widow, Jenni West (in a press release and on Sonic Perspectives).
“The second you heard him play, you knew it was him. He loved playing the guitar and making music. He lived to make people feel good — it was his passion. He was famous to his fans throughout the world, but he was adored by other musicians.”
She continues:” Everybody from country stars, rappers, and heavy metal players — they all loved Leslie. He found it surprising, but I think he was also pleased to know how much he inspired other musicians.”
Leslie West may be gone. But the guests still showed up to the party!
LEGACY: A Tribute To Leslie West is the result.
Blood on the Sun (feat, Zakk Wylde)
Theme from an Imaginary Western (feat. Dee Snider and Mike Portnoy)
Quite honestly, it might be easier to list who is NOT on LEGACY: A Tribute To Leslie West than to list who is.
The festivities start as Zakk Wylde rips into Blood Of The Sun (from Mountain’s 1969 debut), backed by Bobby Rondinelli and Rev Jones.
LEGACY: A Tribute To Leslie West’s rhythm section was actually West’s regular as a solo artist. And they also show up on most of the tracks.
Leslie West was a beloved figure among musicians. You practically can’t name a classic hard rock guitarist that wasn’t influenced by his style.
Not nearly as famous as Jimmy Page, Richie Blackmore, Eddie Van Halen or even Ace Frehley (arguably), his style left a fingerprint on hard rock music in general.
As far as guests, I said there were too many to mention. But what the heck – let’s mention them.
- Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) – “Theme For An Imaginary Western,” “Never In My Life”
- Eddie Ojeda (Twisted Sister) – “Theme For An Imaginary Western”
- Robby Krieger (The Doors) – “The Doctor”
- Slash (Guns n Roses) – “Mississippi Queen”
- Zakk Wylde (Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) – “Blood Of The Sun”
- Yngwie Malmsteen (Guitar Legend) – “Long Red”
- Randy (BTO) and Tal Bachman – “Money (Whatcha Gonna Do)/By The River (medley)”
- Martin Barre (Jethero Tull) – “For Yasgur’s Farm”
- Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) – “Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin),” “For Yasgur’s Farm”
- Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke) – “Silver Paper”
- Elliot Easton (The Cars) – “Sittin’ On A Rainbow”
- George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob) – “Never In My Life”
- Marty Friedman (Megadeth) – “Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)”
- Steve Morse (Deep Purple) – “Why Dontcha”
- Mark Labelle (Dirty Honey) – “Mississippi Queen”
- Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) – “Theme For An Imaginary Western”
- Rudy Sarzo – (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne) – “Theme For An Imaginary Western”
- Ronnie Romero (Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group) – “Why Dontcha,” “Sittin’ On A Rainbow,” “The Doctor”
- Teddy Rondinelli (Vanilla Fudge) – “Long Red”
Joe Lynn Turner, best known as a singer in one of the Rainbow line-ups, is featured on not one, but two cuts.
First is a standout version of the classic rock deep cut “Nantucket Sleighride.”
It’s a bluesy, prog-flavored title track from Mountain’s second album released in 1971. International guitarist Marty Friedman strums alongside West on this one.
Possessing one of the best 80s rock radio voices ever, Turner later teams with guitarist Martin Barre, best known as the longtime lead axe-man for the UK’s Jethro Tull.
Their haunting take of the psychedelic rocker “For Yasgur’s Farm” is one of LEGACY: A Tribute To Leslie West’s better renditions.
But wait – there’s more.
Completing a vocal hat-trick is Chilean hard rock vocalist Ronnie Romero.
Ronnie Romero has been a touring member of recent line-ups for Rainbow and Michael Schenker Group. His Dio-esque voice lends each track a bit of a metal edge while remaining in the classic rock pocket.
The 12 cuts on Legacy: A Tribute to Leslie West are a stunning and heartfelt testament to the true impact Leslie West not only had as guitarist – but as a songwriter and performer.
It’s essential listening for diehard fans, classic rock lovers, aspiring guitarists and newbies.
“Legacy: A Tribute To Leslie West is an outstanding remembrance of one of our all-time great guitarists and will do much to get the word of West’s contributions out to upcoming generations of players.” – Rock and Blues Muse
“I’m pretty sure that music aficionados who are into vintage hard rock, southern rock, or guitar-oriented rock in general, will find something worth listening to in this selection. Even with some of the guests adding their personal twists to the music, they do it in a way that’s authentic and respectful.” – Tunela Magazine
“not only is the love and respect for West palpable from beginning to end, but also the songs are done in the artists’ own way whilst still appreciating the originals that West had created.” – Distorted Sound
Classic Mountain and Leslie West rock music:
Never in My Life
Theme For An Imaginary Western
Roll Over Beethoven
Howard Stern pays tribute to Leslie West and shares memories of the late rock guitarist on the Stern Show.