Leslie West, ‘Mississippi Queen’ Rocker, Is Lifeless at 75

Leslie West was born Leslie Weinstein on Oct. 22, 1945, in New York Metropolis to Invoice and Rita Weinstein. His mom was a hair mannequin, his father the vice chairman of a rug shampoo firm. He grew up within the suburbs.

When Leslie was 8, his mom purchased him his first instrument, a ukulele, however he turned entranced with the guitar after seeing Elvis Presley play one on tv. He purchased his first guitar with the cash given to him for his bar mitzvah.

After his dad and mom divorced, he modified his title to West, and upon graduating highschool he determined to go immediately into the music enterprise. “I went to N.Y.U. — New York Unemployment,” he jokingly informed The Information-Occasions of Danbury, Conn., in 2005.

His skilled profession started in a band he fashioned within the mid-Sixties along with his brother Larry, who performed bass. The band, the Vagrants, was a blue-eyed soul group impressed by a success act from Lengthy Island, the Rascals. The 2 bands performed the identical native golf equipment, as did Billy Joel’s early group, the Hassles.

Improbably, Vanguard Data, higher identified for folks, jazz and classical artists, signed the Vagrants. Their first single, “I Can’t Make a Buddy,” a storage rocker, turned a minor hit in 1966. Mr. Pappalardi, who produced among the Vagrants’ songs, helped them get hold of a brand new contract with Atco Data, a subsidiary of Atlantic, for which they reduce a canopy of Otis Redding’s “Respect” that earned East Coast airplay in 1967.

However Mr. West yearned to document one thing heavier, so he left to make a solo album in 1969 whose title, “Mountain,” was a reference to his imposing dimension. Produced by Mr. Pappalardi, it featured many songs co-written by the 2, together with “Lengthy Purple,” which, in a dwell model backed by the drummer N.D. Sensible, featured a drum break that impressed one of the preferred samples in hip-hop historical past, heard on greater than 700 recordings, together with ones by Public Enemy, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar.

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