Place of Death
Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas
Cause of Death
Heart Attack / Cocaine
Claim to Fame
Bassist of the Millenium
Music Department, Composer
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Profile Bio Text
John Alec Entwistle was born in Chiswick, a London suburb in 1944 and attended Acton County Grammar School. He joined the Middlesex Youth Orchestra and his initial music training was on trumpet, french horn, and piano, all three of which would figure into his later rock playing. In the early 1960s, he played in several traditional jazz and dixieland outfits. He formed a duo called the Confederates 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 strong constitution—his seeming ability to "eat, drink or do more than the rest of them." Bill Wyman, bassist for the Rolling Stones, described him as "the quietest man in private but the loudest man on stage." For this reason, and his onstage demeanor in which he would stand calmly while plucking very fast, he was often known by the nickname "Thunderfingers" by his bandmates and Who fans.
Entwistle`s Who 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 with the exception of Quadrophenia, his frustration with having his material recorded by the band (largely with having to relinquish singing duties to Roger Daltrey) led him to release Smash Your Head Against the Wall in 1971, thus becoming the first member of The Who to release a solo record. Entwistle also contributed backing vocals and horn performances to the group`s songs, most notably on Quadrophenia, where he layered several horns to create the brass as heard on songs such as "5:15", among others.
In the mid 1960s, Entwistle was one of the first to make use of Marshall stacks. Pete Townshend later remarked that John started using Marshalls in order to hear himself over drummer Keith Moon`s drums, and Townshend himself also had to use them just to be heard over John. They both continued expanding and experimenting with their rigs, until (at a time when most bands used 50-100w amps with single cabinets) they were both using twin Stacks with new experimental prototype 200w amps.
This, in turn, also had a strong influence on the band`s contemporaries at the time, with Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience both following suit. Ironically, although they pioneered and directly contributed to the development of the "classic" Marshall sound (at this point their equipment was being built/tweaked to their personal specifications), they would only use Marshalls for a couple of years. Entwistle eventually switched to using a Sound City rig in search of his perfect sound, with Townshend also switching later on.
Entwistle also experimented throughout his career with "bi-amping," where the high and low ends of the bass sound are sent through separate signal paths, allowing for more control over the output. At one point his rig became so loaded with speaker cabinets and processing gear that it was dubbed "Little Manhattan," in reference to the towering, skyscraper-like stacks, racks and blinking lights.
His "full treble, full volume" approach to bass sound was originally supposed to be captured in the bass solo to "My Generation". According to Entwistle, his original intention was to feature the distinctive Danelectro Longhorn bass, which had a very twangy sound, in the solo, but the strings kept breaking. Eventually, he recorded a simpler solo using a pick with a Fender Jazz Bass strung with LaBella tapewound strings. This solo bass break is important as it is one of the earliest bass solos (if not the first) captured on a rock record. A live recording of The Who exists from this period (c. 1965), with Entwistle playing a Danelectro on "My Generation", giving an idea of what that solo would have sounded like.
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Full Name at Birth
John Alec Entwistle
Jason (Dog) 
John Alec Entwistle (9 October 1944 – 27 June 2002) was an English singer, songwriter, composer, musician, film and music producer. In a music career that spanned more than 40 years, Entwistle was best known as the original bass guitarist for the English rock band the Who. He was the only member of the band to have formal musical training. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who in 1990.
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Chris Entwistle (son)
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Music Profile Complete
Music Genre (Text)
Rock, art rock, hard rock, power pop
Musician, songwriter, record producer, musical arranger
Bass guitar, vocals, french horn, keyboards, piano, trumpet, double bass, guitar, harmonica, jaw harp, bugle, percussion, eight-string bass guitar
Polydor, MCA, Atco Records, Track Records, Griffin Music
The Who, The John Entwistle Band, Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Gov't Mule, Led Zeppelin, The Fabulous Poodles, Susanna Hoffs, Tipton, Entwistle & Powell, Téléphone
Fabulous Poodles, Tipton, Entwistle & Powell, Henry Small
Vocals, bass guitar, French horn
The Best, Tony Ashton, Mountain
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