100 Greatest Guitarists

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Leslie West

leslie west
Bob Berg/Getty Images

Leslie West (real name: Leslie Weinstein) first made his mark in mid-Sixties garage rock, with the Vagrants' meaty cover of Otis Redding's "Respect." By 1969, West was the heavy vengeance in the Cream-like quartet Mountain. On songs like the 1970 hit "Mississippi Queen," West played roughened blues lines with deceiving facility and an R&B flair, through a black forest of stressed-amp distortion. "The riffs were incredible," says Dave Davies. "He could play flashy, intricate phrases. But he wasn't a look-at-me guy. He played with feel."

Key Tracks: "Mississippi Queen," "Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)"

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