3D Great Rock Bible
John Entwistle iTunes Tracks John Entwistle Official Website

John Entwistle

The quiet anchor-man of The WHO since their inception in 1964 (going even further back to playing alongside PETE TOWNSHEND in the late 50s combo, The Confederates), bassist JOHN ENTWISTLE (born 9th October 1944, Chiswick in London) was talented in his own right as a moonlighting solo artist.
Nicknamed “The Ox” (a track from the quartet’s debut set `My Generation’), his long-standing tenure with The WHO produced some of the group’s more quirkier moments via `Boris The Spider’ and `Whiskey Man’ (both from `A Quick One’), `Silas Stingy’, `Someone’s Calling’ and others (from `The Who Sell Out’), co-credits with KEITH MOON on `Fiddle About’ (from `Tommy’) and arguably his best achievement `My Wife’ (from `Who’s Next’).
It was then inevitable that he’d use his subsequent spare time to write his own albums, kicking off in 1971 with SMASH YOUR HEAD AGAINST THE WALL {*7}, a potent mixture of heady rock’n’roll that was moribund in subject matter (`Heaven And Hell’, `You’re Mine’ and `My Size’); note also his cover of NEIL YOUNG’s `Cinnamon Girl’. If drummers RINGO STARR and his retainer sidekick KEITH MOON could get away with the odd vocal foible, then why not the not so quite ENTWISTLE.
WHISTLE RYMES (1972) {*6} – featuring HERD man PETER FRAMPTON on guitar – and band album RIGOR MORTIS SETS IN (1973) {*4} continued on without much fuss, the latter combining light-hearted retro ditties (`Made In Japan’ was an obvious 45) and the odd cover, namely Johnny Cymbal’s `Mr. Bassman’, LITTLE RICHARD’s `Lucille’ and an Elvis hit `Hound Dog’. Under the banner of JOHN ENTWISTLE’S OX, there was yet further irreverent banter and song by way of a fourth album of R&R pastiche, MAD DOG (1975) {*4}; check it out for `Cell Number Seven’ (written after the band’s arrest in Montreal a year earlier).
A long-ish lay off to concentrate on WHO recordings and the untimely death in 1978 of old mucker MOON, John was finally back (and in the US Top 100) in 1981 with TOO LATE THE HERO {*3}. But this was hardly anything to shout about, even the presence of JOE WALSH and Joe Vitale (on guitar and drums respectively) couldn’t save it from a critical pasting.
Although The WHO re-formed and re-formed again on several occasions (Kenny Jones was Keith’s replacement), the group went into a sharp decline throughout the late 80s, only an appearance at Live Aid was a high point. Several years on from a disastrous cash-grabbing tour of America in 1989, comeback solo effort THE ROCK (1996) {*4} was released only in the States. Attributing several songs penned by frontman Henry Small (formerly of Canadian soft-rock outfit Prism) and session guitarist Devin Powers, ENTWISTLE and his team arena-rock of backers, including WHO newbie Zak Starkey (son of RINGO STARR), found it hard to gel on leftover-like 80s dirges, with the exception of `Stranger In A Strange Land’ and `Life After Love’.
Forming The JOHN ENTWISTLE BAND (enlisting co-frontmen Godfrey Townsend on guitar, Gordon Cotton on keyboards and Steve Loungo on drums), two rather spineless sets appeared either side of the new millennium: concert piece LEFT FOR LIVE (1999) {*3} – taking in re-takes of MOSE ALLISON’s `Young Man Blues’ (from his WHO days), JOHNNY KIDD’s `Shakin’ All Over’ and a Geoff Downes/John Parr song `Under A Raging Moon’ (written for WHO man ROGER DALTREY) – and metal-pop TV soundtrack work from 1997, MUSIC FROM VAN-PIRES (2000) {*5}. Sadly, while staying at the Hard Rock Café in Las Vegas, The Ox Passed away on 27th June 2002. The WHO (basically TOWNSHEND and DALTREY and a few others) subsequently replaced big John and embarked on further tours, and even a “comeback” album.
© MCS Dec2011

Share this Project

Leave a Comment