ENGLEWOOD, N.J. -- Leslie West is likely spending his 71st birthday on Saturday rehearsing for his upcoming gig at BB King New York on Oct. 29.
The legendary rocker of Mountain was born Oct. 22, 1945 in the Forest Hills section of Queens, and grew up in Hackensack. He's been on the music scene since 1965.
The rock, southern rock and blues guitarist settled down in Englewood, where good golf and close proximity to New York City seemed a perfect match.
His world changed in 2011 when his leg was amputated due to a blood clot caused by complications of diabetes. That didn't keep him out of the music world for long.
A prosthetic leg and a handicapped-accessible van put him right back on stage, touring again and doing what he does best -- rocking out.
He formed Mountain in 1969 with Cream producer Felix Pappalardi. The band played Woodstock on Saturday, Aug. 16, 1969, doing an 11-song set at 9 p.m.
"Mississippi Queen" was Mountain's most successful single, reaching number 21 in the Billboard Hot 100 record chart in 1970.
West, along with keyboard player Al Kooper of Blood, Sweat & Tears, recorded with The Who during the March 1971 "Who's Next New York" sessions.
He also played guitar for the track "Bo Diddley Jam" on Diddley's 1976 20th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll album.
West continues to front Mountain, as well as record and perform on his own. His solo album, entitled "Blue Me," was released in 2006. His 2015 album, "Soundcheck," was number 2 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums chart.
West's career started with a teenage garage band, The Vagrants, playing R&B/Blue-eyed soul-rock. It was one of the few local bands at the time to come out of the NYC-Metro area instead of Greenwich Village.
The Vagrants had two minor hits in 1966, "I Can't Make a Friend" and a cover of Otis Redding's "Respect."
West married his fiancée Jenni Maurer on stage after Mountain's performance at the Woodstock 40th anniversary concert in Bethel on Aug.15, 2009.
The Oct. 29 B.B. King in Manhattan starts at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 day of show. See the venue's website for details.
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