The Epic Life of the Who's John Entwistle - Rolling Stone
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The Epic Life of the Who’s John Entwistle

Bassist died on June 27th, 2002, of a heart attack

john entwistle the who

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In 1962, Roger Daltrey bumped into John Entwistle on the street and invited him to join his band called the Detours. Entwistle, who played the French horn and bass, suggested that his good friend Pete Townshend join as the group's guitarist. They began playing regular gigs at London's Marquee Club, and by 1964 they'd changed their name to the Who. 

john entwistle the who

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John and Alison

Entwistle married Alison Wise in 1967, and four years, he later wrote his signature song "My Wife."  It's about man stumbling home drunk, terrified that his wife is going to think he was with another woman. It's easy to imagine that this was drawn from real life. Entwistle was a quiet guy, but he loved to drink and party. 

john entwistle the who

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‘Rock N Roll Circus’

According to legend, the Who blew the Rolling Stones off their own stage at the famous 1968 Rock and Roll Circus, forcing the Stones to shelf the movie for three decades. 

john entwistle the who

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Suited Up

The success of Tommy transformed the Who into one of the biggest bands in the world, and they started to headline festivals and even perform in opera houses. The album got so huge, it began to overshadow the band. "Some people think the band's called Tommy," Entwistle said, "and the album's called The Who."

john entwistle the who

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Bare Bones

Entwistle wore a skeleton suit at many gigs during their famous 1970 tour. They played their legendary gig at Leeds University that year and headlined the Isle of Wight Festival. The band tours to this day, but many fans see this period as their peak. 

john entwistle the who

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‘Who’s Next’

The overwhelming success of 1971's Who's Next cemented their status as one of the biggest rock bands in history, but few fans knew what a painful and long process they had to endure to create the album. 

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At Home

John Entwistle was so fond of wine that the Who's 2004 tribute to the bassist was called "Old Red Wine." Here's a sample lyric: "You sniffed at the cork, chose low on the list/Held your glass to the light and gazed through the mist." 

john entwistle the who

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Live Aid

The Who broke up in 1982 after a farewell tour, but they reformed just three years later to play Live Aid. Entwistle was extremely frustrated by the group's long periods of inactivity in the 1980s and 1990s; he once said that being in the Who was like winning the lottery, but not cashing in the ticket. 

john entwistle the who

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Home Studio

In the 1990s, John Entwistle kept himself busy by painting and touring with his solo band and as a member of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band. The Who toured Quadrophenia in 1996 and 1997 before reforming on a more permanent basis in late 1999. 

john entwistle the who


Entwistle and Daltrey

John Entwistle was found dead in his hotel room at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas on June 27th, 2002, of a sudden heart attack. The group was one day away from launching an American tour. 

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