John Entwistle

John Entwistle
John Entwistle was born on October 9th, 1944. Known as “The Ox”, John Entwistle was one of rock’s greatest bass players. Usually stationary and exhibiting little flash on stage he let his fingers do the “rocking”. He met up with school chums Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend in 1964 and formed “The Detours”. When they discovered another band with the same name they changed their name to “The Who”. Keith “Moon the Loon” completed the lineup when he smashed up the Who’s previous drummers drum kit.When management came along he had their name changed to “The High Number’s” and adopted a”mod” image. “The High Number’s” recorded two songs and tanked. Management was sacked and the original name “The Who” was reinstated. “The Who” then took control of their own musical direction and were signed by Decca Records. In 1965 they released the single “I Can’t Explain” which cracked the top forty. This song is still covered today and remains a classic. They released a string of albums which sold moderately in the US. Another popular single released during this period was the teenage rock-anthem “My Generation” which included the classic line “hope I die before I get old”. In 1967 “The Who” released “I Can See For Miles” which was a top ten hit in the states. Around this time they set a rock precedent by smashing up their equipment at the end of their set. They performed a high-powered set at the Monterray Pop Festival but still superstardom eluded them. In 1968 they appeared on “The Smothers Brother’s” variety show and true to form smashed up their equipment. Keith Moon capped off the show by blowing up his drum kit. (causing Townsend permanent hearing damage). They even grabbed Tommy Smother’s acoustic guitar and smashed it up handing it back to him in little pieces. “The Who’s” fortunes were soon to change. Townsend began work on new project that would again set a new precedent in rock music . In 1969 “The Who” released the two record set “Tommy”, the first rock opera. Instantly hailed as a masterpiece “Tommy” followed the form of the traditional opera complete with an “Overture” and “Underture”. This album produced “Pinball Wizard” , “I’m Free”, and “Were Not Gonna Take It”. In August of 1969 “The Who” appeared at Woodstock making it on to both the “Woodstock” movie and the accompanying 3 record soundtrack. By the end of the 60’s “The Who” had finally acheived the superstardom they were long overdue. In 1970 they released the hard rocking “Live at Leeds” with a 14 minute version of “My Generation” infused with parts of “Tommy” and a thundering version of “Magic Bus”. They also reworked an old single called “Substitute” and a few covers, most notetably “Summertime Blues”. By now “The Who” had stopped destroying their equipment, a lot of “Gibson SG’s” were quite relieved. In early 1971 they released the single ‘Join Together” followed by the album “Who’s Next”. Considered by most rock critics as there finest album , “Who’s Next” yeilded “Baba O’ Reily”,”Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Behind Blue Eyes”. Entwistle sang lead on “My Wife”. Also released in 1971 was a collection of their older singles grouped into a package called “Meaty,Beaty Big and Bouncy. In 1973 they released another two record set rock opera “Quadrophenia”. Not quite the impact as “Tommy”, yet “Quadrophenia” produced another handful of Who classics, “Love Reign Over Me”,”The Real Me”,”5:15″ and “Bell Boy”. In 1974 a collection of outtakes were released as “Odd’s and Sod’s” which contained “Long Live Rock” and “The Naked Eye”. In 1975 a full length feature film of “Tommy” was released. Directed by Ken Russell and starring Ann Margaret and Oliver Reed it also included appearences by Elton John, Eric clapton, and Tina Turner as “The Acid Queen”. Also in 1975 “The Who by Number’s” was released , this is generally considered a lackluster album but did contain “Slip Kids” and the FM hit single “Squeeze Box”. In 1976 MCA released “The Who’s Greatest” which contained the song “The Relay”. By now Moon’s alcoholism and bizarre behavior was starting to affect the band and they embarked on a period of inactivity after the “By Number’s” tour. In 1978 “Who Are You” was released and was more true to “Who” rocking form with the title track “Who Are You”,”Trick Of The Light” and “Sister Disco”. The Who’s fortunes were about to take a nose drive. On September 7th, 1978 Keith Moon died in his sleep from a mixture of booze and hemvarine, a prescription drug meant to curb his alcoholism. (See Keith Moon for further information) “The Who” would never be the same and the future of “The Who” was in limbo. Townsend was devestated and moon’s death sent him into a downward spiral of heavy drinking. In the interim a documentary film of the Who resulted in the two record soundtrack “The Kids Are Alright” released in 1979. After passing out frequently for the next couple of years Townsend woke-up one morning and decided to put out another album. They recruited “Kenny Jones” for drummer. No one in the band liked Kenny’s drumming but still they released “Face Dances” in 1981 and “It’s Hard” in 1983. The record’s had some bright spots, “You Better You Bet”,”Another Tricky Day”,”Athena” and “Emmenence Front”, but the “Who” magic was gone. The Who embarked on a farewell tour , released an uneven live album “Who’s Last” and then called it quits. Entwistle released a number of solo albums over the years, most notably 1971’s “Smash Your Head Against The Wall” and 1973’s “Rigormortis Set’s In”. He released solo efforts well into the 90’s. The “Who” however could never call it quits and resurfaced in 1988-89 with a reunion tour featuring the rock opera “Tommy”. In 1996 they embarked on a tour which featured “Quadrophenia”. Again in 2002 another reunion tour was planned. By now John was suffering from a heart condition. His hearing by this time was so impaired he required two hearing aids to hear normal conversation. He was staying at “The Hard Rock Hotel” in Las Vegas scheduled to perform the following night when he was found dead in his hotel room on June 27th, 2002 at the age of 57. Another end to one of rocks greatest legends. The remaining members of “The Who”, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend went on without him. “John would of wanted it that way”

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