John Entwistle was the bass player for the late 60s/70s rock band The Who
. He has an amazing ability to play his bass, which he shows in many Who
songs, but also to write good songs. I don't know that many bass players, but his fast and wild playing surely make him one of the best bass guitar
John Alec Entwistle was born on October 9, 1944, to Herbert & Maud "Queenie" Entwistle in Chiswick, England. John's father played trumpet and his mother played piano. Their marriage failed short after John was born, so he had to spend most of his childhood with his grandparents.
When he was 7 years old, he started taking piano lessons, until 11, when he switched to the trumpet. At School John started playing a tenor horn purchased by his school, and met Pete Townshend.
At 14, John became a fan of Duane Eddy and wanted to play as loud, actually even louder than him, so he decided to start playing the guitar. Even though he wanted to be lead guitarist, because his role seemed to be the most glamorous, he switched to the bass, because it excited John the most.
His family couldn't afford buying a bass guitar so Entwistle made his own out of piece of mahogany that was in the shape of a bass. John became a member of Roger Daltrey's band The Detours, playing bass. He recommended Pete Townshend on the rhythm guitar, so Pete later joined the band too.
This was 'the first Who'. It even became more Who, when Roger became the lead vocalist of the band and Pete switched to the lead guitar. This made Entwistle a bit of second guitar player. The Detours were the first band to use lots of equipment, because they wanted to be loud.
So John purchased a Marshall amplifier and became so loud that Pete had to get one too.
In 1964, John saw a irish band on television called The Detours too, so they changed their name to The Who. The first Who members were Doug Sandom on drums, Roger Daltrey on lead vocals, Pete Townshend on lead guitar and John Entwistle on bass.
Two months later however, Doug Sandom left the band, so The Who hired a new drummer, the fabulous Keith Moon. His addition to the band changed John's role. Pete Townshend said that in their group the roles were reversed. John was the lead guitar, and even though Pete's not the bass player, John produces a lot of lead work.
Though the rest of the Who were developing a powerful stage presence, John just stood there playing his bass, so for a long time, people didn't even notice he was there.
At the same time, The Who was going through some management changes. Their new manager, Pete Meaden, who was a mod, wanted them to be like mods and appeal to mods, even though they were no mods. His management didn't last long, in August of 1964, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp took over the management again, and the Who became the band's name again (during their 'mod' time they were called The High Numbers).
Soon after that The Who was forced to write their own material, so they released their first album My Generation in 1965. This album featured one song co-written by John, and the famous title track My Generation, which features a bass solo, for which he needed three bass guitars to finish, because the first two broke.
A year later, A Quick One was released by The Who. It included two Entwistle songs, Whiskey Man, and the later stage favourite Boris The Spider.
In 1967 the Who began their first U.S. apperances. Entwistle roomed with Keith Moon where the rock & roll's finest rhythm section repeatedly ordered caviar, lobster, and champagne that totaled over $5,000 at the time (about $40,000 in 1998 dollars).
After releasing The Who Sell Out in 1967, 1968 was a year of inactivity for The Who. There were rumors that that Entwistle and Moon were going to form a band with Jimmy Page called Led Zeppelin. However, The Who stayed together releasing the single Call Me Lightning with the B-side of Entwistle's Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, a homage to Moon's personality splits.
After releasing some more The Who albums, Entwistle made his first solo album available to the public in 1971; it was called Smash Your Head Against The Wall. The same year, Who's Next, one the Who's greatest albums, was released, with great basslines in Won't Get Fooled Again and The Song Is Over for example.
John's second solo album, Whistle Rhymes followed only one year later, followed by his third solo album in 1973, called Rigor Mortis Sets In. In 1974, after the release of the legendary Quadrophenia, John compiled the compilation Odds & Sods, a number of b-sides and unreleased tracks.
John released his forth solo album, Mad Dog, formed a band, called The Ox, which was also his nickname, and toured the US in 1975. He also designed and drew the album cover of The Who by Numbers released the same year, and wrote some tracks on it.
The original Who's last album Who Are You was released in 1978 featuring three Entwistle songs. Days after its release Keith Moon died because of an overdose of sleeping pills. Entwistle burst into tears, when he heard the news. After Keith's death however The Who didn't split up.
John's next solo album, Too Late The Hero, was released in 1981. The Who released Face Dances in the same year. It featured two Entwistle songs; their new drummer was Kenney Jones. One year later, The Who's last studio album, It's Hard was released, featuring three Entwistle songs.
During the rest of the eighties and the beginning of the ninties John made some reunion tours with the rest of The Who, until forming his own band, the John Entwistle Band in 1996. With this band he made a tour, the Left for Dead tour. In 1998 he toured again with his band and released a live album.
I just heard and read that John Entwistle, one of the greatest rock bass players of all time, died from a heart attack on the 27th of June 2002 in a Las Vegas hotel room.
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