Playing the bass as a lead instrument with a full on volume, treble and bass attack, and with his very specific selection of type of bass, plus what strings and amplification to use, Entwistle brought an uncompromising new approach to the bass guitar.
He was also adept at piano, trumpet, synthesizer and The Horn (see note below), which he contributed throughout albums by The Who (it is one of the instruments that really helps make Tommy so special) as well as all over his own solo releases.
At this point I could pick out one essential John Entwistle composition (from The Who’s album A Quick One), and so wonderfully would it encapsulate the above title for this Halloween piece, that I could almost stop writing and just leave you with some of the song’s lyrics:
According to Pete Townshend, “Boris the Spider” was Jimi Hendrix’s favorite song by The Who, and they loved finding a place for the song in their live sets.
It was a look he would retain for decades. While happy to take a backseat to the others in the band, and even with his memorable songs like “Boris…”, “My Wife” and Whiskey Man” peppering Who albums, he recorded and released the first solo album by a member of The Who, 1971’s Smash Your Head Against The Wall.
Not only does it feel like it could have come from the vaults of The Who as a long lost album, Entwistle’s songwriting, production and performances by the band are superb including guest percussion and backing vocals by Keith Moon, The Bonzo Dog Band’s Vivian Stanshall, and The Bonzo Dog Band/Rutles’ Neil Innes.
|The front and back covers for Rigor Mortis Sets In|
At the same time he was making a statement about the then modern (classic) rock sounds that he felt were getting tired and boring.
The album displays some powerful bass, some decent songwriting and while it doesn’t really match Entwistle’s previous work, there the John we all love is still there and the album i something a fan might want to seek out. After this there was a terrible and shelved album that finally came out called The Rock, with guest vocalists and a slick bad metal sound.
It is best forgotten.
You can find numerous compilations and live recordings from this period until he became another death by misadventure in June 2002 while The Who was on a reunion tour.