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 grew to become 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 straight into the music enterprise. “I went to N.Y.U. — New York Unemployment,” he jokingly told The Information-Instances of Danbury, Conn., in 2005.
His skilled profession started in a band he fashioned within the mid-1960s together 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 Information, higher recognized for people, jazz and classical artists, signed the Vagrants. Their first single, “I Can’t Make a Friend,” a storage rocker, grew to become a minor hit in 1966. Mr. Pappalardi, who produced a number of the Vagrants’ songs, helped them receive a brand new contract with Atco Information, a subsidiary of Atlantic, for which they minimize a canopy of Otis Redding’s “Respect” that earned East Coast airplay in 1967.
However Mr. West yearned to report one thing heavier, so he left to make a solo album in 1969 whose title, “Mountain,” was a reference to his imposing measurement. Produced by Mr. Pappalardi, it featured many songs co-written by the 2, together with “Long Red,” which, in a stay model backed by the drummer N.D. Good, featured a drum break that impressed one of the most popular samples in hip-hop history, heard on greater than 700 recordings, together with ones by Public Enemy, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar.