Steve West


Steve West, lead guitarist on Paul Revere & the Raiders’ classic 1963 version of “Louie, Louie,” died of pneumonia on December 28. He was 76.

West had to leave the Raiders while he was still in high school, but his contribution to its success was vital, as the single and its flipside, “Night Train,” cut on a Fender Duo Sonic through a Showman amp, succeeded in getting the band signed as Columbia’s first rock band.

In his 2015 VG interview, West recalled, “I can remember to this day sitting in the studio, with [singer Mark Lindsay] standing right in front of me, urging me on. I must have done the solo five times, with different ideas, before finally coming up with the last one.”

“He blew me away,” said Lindsay. “He was only 16 years old, and he was just a phenomenon.”

West cited Duane Eddy, Chet Atkins, and Howard Roberts as influences.
Remaining in the Northwest, he went on to back many country stars, including Joe Maphis, on guitar and bass. “I loved it,” he said. “You get an idea of what the artist wants, and then you develop it. It’s always creative.”

He is survived by his wife, Linda, who was also his musical partner on accordion.

This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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