The ‘Who’ have always been
a group in more than just the youthanism
for a rock band. If you were a follower
of The Who, you become a member of the
gang. You belonged. You didn’t necessarily
like the band because of the way they
looked or even the music, it was an attitude
The fact that they were the greatest
Rock ‘n’ Roll band in the world, as correctly
proclaimed on their Charlton Stadium gig
T-Shirts from 1974, the music was fantastic.
They set standards of fashion, whilst
looking the absolute business was really
a bit of a bonus.
When Keith Moon died in 1978 at the tender
age of 31, you felt as though you’d lost
one of your best mates. The cheeky mate,
who you had known all your life, loved
dearly, but were scared of, yet would
trust with your life, but not your wife.
When Keith left, it took a week to sink
in that there would be no more Who concerts
with the little drummer thrashing away
behind his ever increasing giant kit,
grabbing the microphone to sing off-key,
or make sure ridiculous comments between
songs (often unprintable). He left you
with the rest of your life to miss him
and what he stood for.
now John (The Ox) Entwistle, the rock
around which The Who’s sound was pinned
down by, has been taken away, too. Let’s
face it; you couldn’t rely upon old Moony
or Townshend, who could crash off in any
direction at any time. Someone had to
know what song they were playing, and
that someone was John.
On stage John Entwistle may have been
the quiet one of the band, but his unique
bass sound, exceptional brilliance and
enthusiasm, was essential to the sound
of the machine. You only have to shut
your eyes and you can see the stage with
Mssr’s Townshend, Daltrey and Moon thrashing
away, whilst to the side would be the
Ox standing still, his face turned as
if looking off-stage, but with his fingers
running up and down the fret board in
his bass popping style. That is until
he would march to the front of the stage
to take a solo spot.
Pete Townshend is credited with being
the main songwriter for The Who - and
he is, and some brilliant songs he’s written,
too. But they were often complemented
by some of John’s songs. The rock opera
‘Tommy’ would not have been the same without
‘Cousin Kevin’ or ‘Fiddle about’. By the
time of ‘Who Are You’ (the last album
with Keith Moon) three songs out of the
nine were written by John Entwistle. By
way of explanation at the time, John said
that writing songs for Roger Daltrey to
sing instead of himself allowed him to
have more songs on the album. I mean if
you‘ve got a lead singer you might as
well use him.
give himself an outlet for both his songs
and his love of being on stage, John had
an entirely separate career from The Who.
He was the first of The Who to release
a solo album and do a solo tour. All his
releases reaching the lower regions of
the charts, and showing off John’s wicked
sense of humour, sense of fun, and love
of good ole Rock ‘n’ Roll.
At Woodstock in 1969 and on the Isle
of Wight in 1970 The Who topped the bill.
On both occasions they opened up with
the Entwistle song ‘Heaven & Hell’.
Pete Townshend always said he loved playing
My own favorite Entwistle song, ‘My Wife’,
appeared on perhaps The Who’s greatest
album - ‘Who’s next’. A really good Rock
‘n’ Roll song which opens up with the
Murdered in cold blood is what I’m
I ain’t been home since Friday night
And now my wife is coming after me’
I think we can all relate to that in
one way or another.
John Entwistle was also The Who’s historical
keeper. In the two year gap between Townshend’s
second rock opera ‘Quadraphenia’ (73),
upon which you can hear some of John Entwistle
finest bass playing, and ‘The Who by Numbers,’
which John did the hysterical artwork
for, John went through old tapes and found
enough discarded material in The Who’s
back catalogue to release a whole album
of gems. It reached Number 10 in both
the American and British charts. Lovingly
entitled ODDS & SODS. Very apt.
for John being the quiet one of The Who,
well, that may have been on stage but
certainly not off it. My favorite Entwistle
story is that whilst out with his great
friend and drinking buddy Oliver Reed,
they used to have head butting competitions.
The first one to pass-out lost.
John Entwistle was a fine man and will
be well remembered by all those that his
life touched. He leaves behind a fine
legacy of music. To hear John at his best,
try listening to ‘Quadraphenia’, or ‘The
Who live at the Isle of Wight’ from 1970,
or his second solo album ‘Whistle Rhymes’.
John Entwistle has gone to the great
gig in the sky, and perhaps the reason
for his early departure is that they just
couldn’t wait any longer for the Ox to
Pawed by Mott The Dog
Remastered by Ella Crew