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John Entwistle

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Biography

John Alec Entwistle was born in Chiswick, a London suburb, in 1944. In the early 1960s, he played in several traditional jazz and dixieland outfits with schoolmate Pete Townshend, and later joined Roger Daltrey’s band the Detours. This band later became The Who.

He was nicknamed “The Ox” because of his amazing consitution (e.g. drinking). Bill Wyman described him as “the quietest man in private but the loudest man on stage.” He was also known as “Thunderfingers” by his bandmates and fans.

John Entwistle was a talented songwriter and artist. He wrote several well-known Who songs including:

“Cousin Kevin”
“My Wife”
“Boris The Spider”
“Heaven and Hell”
“Success Story”
“Whiskey Man”
“905”
These songs, along with his solo material, reveal a dark sense of humor which was often incompatible with Pete Townshend’s more introspective work. Though he continued to contribute material to all of The Who’s albums, his frustration with having his material recorded by the band (largely with having to relenquish singing duties to Roger Daltrey) led him to release Smash Your Head Against The Wall in 1971. He was the first member of The Who to release a solo record.

Entwistle also contributed many backing vocals and horn performances to the group, most notably on Quadrophenia, where he layered several horns to create the impressive brass as heard on songs such as 5:15, among others.

Rarely captured well in the studio, his style and sound was fully developed by the time of The Who’s performance of “A Quick One While He’s Away” for the Rolling Stones’ 1968 Rock and Roll Circus, as well as the seminal 1970 Live at Leeds concert recording.

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