John Entwistle – The Ox

Born on the 9th October 1944, John Entwistle lit up stages across the globe until the 27th June 2002.

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Entwistle was best known for his bass playing in British megaband The Who. In fact, he was the only member of The Who had had any kind of professional musical training prior to getting started. Over his years of success Entwistle has been the influence of hundreds of young aspiring bass players across the globe.

Growing up as an only child in London, his parents were both musical people and this evidentially was passed on to John. His parents went through a divorce, extremely rare at the time, and this led to Entwistle becoming a young recluse.

Having tried the piano, trumpet and French horn without any great or long-term success, his musical nomad years lasted until age 11. He met Pete Townshend and they formed a trad jazz genre band. His large fingers meant that he struggled to play the trumpet, and was recommended to try the guitar instead. Inspired by the tunes of Duane Eddy, he took up the bass and a legend was born.

He joined Roger Daltrey, a year older in Acton County School, in his band The Detours. john entwistle 2Both Daltrey and Entwistle encouraged Townshend to pick up the guitar and soon enough Townshend had joined them both in the band.

After your traditional young band changing names several times, they eventually settled on The Who. It was at this time that Entwistle dyed his hair black so that Daltrey would stand out from the others more.

In 1967, Entwistle married Alison Wise and they moved into a home in Acton, London. It was here that his taste for strange objects first materialised – from tarantula spiders to suits of armour adorning the walls and rooms of his home. By the time he moved to the Stow-on-the-World, away from the big city in the late 1970s, his Quarwood mansion resembled more of a museum than a home.

Known as “The Ox” because of his natural power or “Thunderfingers” because of his quiet persona off-stage but loud equivalent when he played, he was also one of the first to use Marshall Stacks to make himself be heard over the other band members. He even helped come up with new ways of playing the instrument with the likes of bi-amping, which makes use of both high and low bass sounds sent through separate signal paths, proving to be extremely powerful for the future.je1

He was part of The Who until 1971, when he released his own solo album alongside. He released seven solo albums in total, one of which was a collection of unreleased The Who music. As well as being a quality bass player, he was a fantastic artist and painter too.

He toured with groups like The Best and members of the Rat Race Choir throughout his later years. He also toured with The Who in the 90s, and he regularly played with various other bands and gigs across the globe until his untimely death.

He died in room 658 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on the 27th June 2002. This was the day before The Who were to take on a US tour. It was determined that his death was brought on by a heart attack.


1 thought on “John Entwistle – The Ox

  1. Albie Vickers

    It was a hard life growing up the way some of us did. john was always interested in anyone bass, He always had ideas. A nice block if he had the time! hope your at peace mate……….


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