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John Entwistle, The Who bassist, dies
June 27, 2002 3:31 PM   Subscribe

John Entwistle, The Who bassist, dies in Las Vegas on the verge of a U.S. tour.
posted by schmedeman (43 comments total)

 
Wow. He will be missed. He's probably the first bass player I've saw that can actually do something interesting and creative with the instrument.
posted by skallas at 3:34 PM on June 27, 2002


The Who were my favorite band from about the time I was 14. I remember watching them perform "My Generation" on a late night showing of The Kids Are Alright and realized watching Entwistle standing there solidly plucking away amidst the explosions and insanity, that he was The Who's secret weapon, the anchor that kept the inspired lunacy from dropping off into complete chaos.

Plus he played like noones business, wrote two of The Who's funniest songs("Boris The Spider" and "My Wife") and at long last made the bass guitar a cool instrument.
I shall be breaking out Who's Next and Meaty, Beaty Big and Bouncy tonight.

Thank you, Ox. You will be missed.
posted by jonmc at 3:42 PM on June 27, 2002


RIP, Thunderfingers. I remember seeing the Who share a bill with The Grateful Dead at a Day On The Green. Remember Jerry dancing his ass off during an Entwistle solo. Good Times.
posted by gnz2001 at 3:55 PM on June 27, 2002


popping in their "my generation -- the very best of" right now. Great live recordings....some of them aren't even stereo.
posted by th3ph17 at 4:05 PM on June 27, 2002


Entwistle had to be the only bass player who could make the repetition of a single note through an entire song (Magic Bus) listenable and even exciting. His playing was one of the major reasons The Who are my favorite British Invasion band.

(off to listen to A Quick One While He's Away)
posted by toddshot at 4:10 PM on June 27, 2002


RIP indeed, Boris the Spider. My favorite rock band of all, now minus the original bass and drums. And my other favorite band from back then, The Beatles, now only has a bassist and a drummer. Hmmm . . . .
posted by LeLiLo at 4:12 PM on June 27, 2002


The Who's secret weapon

I couldn't have put it better. His incredible sense of time allowed Keith Moon to develop drums as a lead instrument in rock.

Also, I took a few guitar lessons from Entwistle's touring guitarist when I was in high school. One degree of separation. I'm just sayin', is all....
posted by Ty Webb at 4:13 PM on June 27, 2002


My favorite rock band of all, now minus the original bass and drums. And my other favorite band from back then, The Beatles, now only has a bassist and a drummer. Hmmm . . . .

DANGER! DANGER! SLOWLY, CAREFULLY BACK AWAY FROM THAT THOUGHT!
posted by Ty Webb at 4:14 PM on June 27, 2002 [1 favorite]


I'm so upset by the news that I'm not thinking clearly . . . .
posted by LeLiLo at 4:21 PM on June 27, 2002


Saw him just last summer, here. Damn bad news.
posted by JanetLand at 4:39 PM on June 27, 2002


What I remember about the who's (I keep wanting to draw that arrow) earlier sound was just Entwhistle's bass. While Towshend and Daltrey seemed to be trying to figure out just what the who was on Meaty Biggy Big and Bouncy, the Ox just hummed along on bass, keeping the general mess together. What I hear in My Generation is not Daltrey's vocals, Townshend's choppy guitar or even the lyrics. I hear that bass riff. Same with songs like The Seeker (kick ass bass line) and I Can See for Miles (easy and relaxed, just like him on stage). He was the first bassist I ever noticed.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:39 PM on June 27, 2002


Ouch.

Just...ouch.
posted by girlhacker at 4:45 PM on June 27, 2002


MSNBC and others are reporting that his death is the result of a heart attack.

re: Magic Bus.
Although he makes that one note sound good, he didn't like playing the song.

His playing on "The Real Me" on Quadrophenia is my favorite. His bass takes the lead instrument role throughout.
posted by bravada at 4:54 PM on June 27, 2002


Oh gee... I really hope my boyfriend hears this before I see him next. I don't want to be the one to drop this news on him. We were just talking about him last week...
posted by stefnet at 4:54 PM on June 27, 2002


bravada, I am hearing "The Real Me" in my mind even as I type this. I think in a while I will dig out my VHS copy of "The Kids Are Alright" documentary, just to watch Entwistle play that amazing solo part in "My Generation" -- the one where his fingers are moving at 500 mph and yet he is standing there looking completely bored, like it's just another day at the office. Wow.
posted by litlnemo at 5:20 PM on June 27, 2002


His playing on "The Real Me" on Quadrophenia is my favorite. His bass takes the lead instrument role throughout.

Exactly what I was going to say-- what a great sound he brought to that whole album (and what a great song, too). I was looking around for a CD copy of Quadrophenia the other day; I think I'll try a little harder now.
Relatedly, I'm beginning to understand how my parents felt when the movie stars of the 40s and 50s grew old and died.
posted by jokeefe at 5:27 PM on June 27, 2002


oh, geez. The man who made Rotosound strings world famous. I'm bummed.
posted by theNonsuch at 5:30 PM on June 27, 2002


So sad. The Who's music has carried me along since I was 15. I loved watching Entwistle play. Saw one of his solo shows 6-7 years ago. Small club, up close, playing all kinds of lesser-known songs from Who albums. It's a very sad day for Who fans. Fans of John's playing on "The Real Me" should also check out "However Much I Booze" from "The Who By Numbers."
posted by CosmicSlop at 5:38 PM on June 27, 2002


put in your favorite entwistle who album right now and play it until the bass shakes your windows.
posted by webchick at 5:43 PM on June 27, 2002


Damn, Entwistle was good. Did anyone see the DVD from their last tour? I bought it with skepticism, but was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. I even went out and bought tix to the Gorge show next Saturday. I am starting to cry. Damn.
posted by culberjo at 5:47 PM on June 27, 2002


That really sucks. I still think the Who is the most talented band to come down the pike since the Beatles. Happy to have seen them in 1979 at Madison Square Garden.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:53 PM on June 27, 2002


Man, that sucks. A Quick One... has been one of my favorite songs for a long time - and yes, before "Rushmore" came out, snarky :)
posted by GriffX at 5:53 PM on June 27, 2002


Very sad. I would have wanted to see and hear him play one more time. So long, John - say "hi" to Keith. The best damn rhythm section in rock is back together again.
posted by yhbc at 5:55 PM on June 27, 2002


I always saw him as the strong silent type. It turned out that he wasn't that silent when you knew what to listen for and he wasn't so strong--life cut shorter than it should have been. John, you and Keith can start that jam session you've been waiting for for over twenty years. You may be gone but your legacy will last many lifetimes.
posted by ashbury at 5:57 PM on June 27, 2002


...
posted by scottandrew at 6:03 PM on June 27, 2002


...
posted by webchick at 6:21 PM on June 27, 2002


Long live OX!
posted by jacques67 at 7:48 PM on June 27, 2002



Why can't we have eternal life and never die?
Never die?


rip, ivor, you dirty old sod. may your engine be shiny and full of steam and there be plenty of girl guides for you to seduce.
posted by cheaily at 7:52 PM on June 27, 2002


My favorite band of all time... I'd been looking forward for months to seeing them this August in NYC. First Joey, then Dee Dee... and now the Ox. All my faves are dropping like flies.
posted by spilon at 8:06 PM on June 27, 2002


...
posted by jbelshaw at 8:58 PM on June 27, 2002


...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:34 PM on June 27, 2002


Entwistle was a giant of bass, there won't be another like him. His concept, sound, execution, and energy were stunning, fresh, and relentless. Listen to 'Live at Leeds' - My God.
posted by crunchburger at 9:48 PM on June 27, 2002


Aw shit! John Bonham died three months before I was going to see Led Zeppelin and now THE summer concert for me is gone. Damn! Just damn...
posted by RevGreg at 11:57 PM on June 27, 2002


Damn. Whenever I got involved in any conversation about bass guitarists in rock, Entwistle always came up. He and Moon were not "the backbone of the band" as the cliche goes, they were the stars, despite Townsend and Daltrey's stage antics.

Funny. The first Who album I ever listened to was Sell Out. The image of Daltrey in a tub of beans is still one that persists in my head.
posted by vacapinta at 2:18 AM on June 28, 2002


Truly sad news.

RIP John. Condolences to his friends and family and fans.
posted by a3matrix at 6:46 AM on June 28, 2002


Remember the concert after 9-11? I was pretty worried they'd be a disappointment, the whole "Rolling Stones syndrome" and all that (a week does not pass by that I play at least some part of the Leeds cd in my apartment, that's my idea of rock music). And then, the guys came onstage and played Baba O'Riley and Behind Blue Eyes really kicked ass and I knew they were still awesome.

Thank you is too small a word.
posted by matteo at 7:34 AM on June 28, 2002


"and now THE summer concert for me is gone. Damn! Just damn..."

Sorry someone's death messed up your summer concert schedule RevGreg.
posted by mikhail at 7:48 AM on June 28, 2002


"Thank you is too small a word."

"Thank you" is two small-a words.
posted by websavvy at 8:06 AM on June 28, 2002


What's with the ellipses? Please 'splain.

I saw em twice -- in 1982 in Dallas and 2000 in West Palm Beach. What an awesome awesome band. I'll miss Ox.
posted by Holden at 9:09 AM on June 28, 2002


Holden, I believe, unless someone with more information than me knows differently, that using the ellipses as a sign of silent respect began with this thread, which started badly but wound up being a very moving tribute.
posted by yhbc at 9:17 AM on June 28, 2002


I think he did some of his best work away from The Who. Whistle Rhymes is one of my favorite albums: not only do you get his most humorous songs, you also get a then-unknown Peter Frampton on lead guitar and Entwistle's carpenter on trombone. It's in my car CD...I think I'll take the long way home tonight.
posted by joaquim at 10:04 AM on June 28, 2002


Awesome, yhbc. A moving tribute, indeed. Thank you.
posted by Holden at 11:26 AM on June 28, 2002


So sad...he was way, WAY too young to go. One of the bass idols from my yout', for sure. First rock bassist I recall that had a clear, bright sound. Everyone before sounded like mud in comparison. After him, everyone switched to round-wound strings.

Saw The Who a couple of times WAY back...in '69 (between Tommy & Live at Leeds) and again right after Who's Next? came out ('71?). Absolutely incredible shows, Entwistle was this island of rhythmic solidity among 3 thrashing maniacs.

The Who's Next? show was the loudest concert I've ever been to in my LIFE. No wonder Townsend's almost deaf.
posted by groundhog at 4:34 PM on June 28, 2002


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