- In case anyone hadn't seen this.
John Entwistle, Bass Player for The Who, Dies at 57
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 8:36 p.m. ET
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- John Entwistle, the quiet, efficient bass player who
co-founded The Who and helped it become one of the most dynamic and
successful rock bands in history, was found dead of a heart attack Thursday
in his Las Vegas hotel room. He was 57.
Entwistle was on medication for a heart condition, according to Steve
Luongo, a member of Entwistle's band.
An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, but Clark County fire officials said
there was nothing suspicious about the death, which comes nearly a
quarter-century after the band's original drummer, Keith Moon, died of an
overdose at the age of 31.
The Who was scheduled to play at the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino on Friday, the
first date of a three-month, nationwide tour. The show was canceled but the
rest of the tour was undecided, said Beckye Levin of promoter Clear Channel
``I was told he passed away in his sleep last night,'' Levin said, breaking
into sobs during a telephone interview.
The group, founded in London in the early 1960s, was part of the British
rock invasion along with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and others. They
were the voice of a new breed, with a parade of guitar-driven hits that
included ``My Generation,'' ``I Can See For Miles,'' ``I Can't Explain,''
``Substitute,'' ``Pinball Wizard,'' ``Won't Get Fooled Again'' and ``Who
Their concerts were literally explosive -- a fusion of audacious
acrobatics, martial precision and high octane rock 'n' roll that blew away
audiences and left the stage and their instruments a smoldering wreck. The
group was one of the premier rock bands in the world throughout the 1970s
and sold millions of albums.
``A lot of our fans liked us because we made mistakes. It made us look more
human. And then the fact that we could actually sort of burst out laughing
on stage when we made a real bad blunder,'' Entwistle told The Associated
Press in a 1995 radio interview.
Entwistle allowed his fingers to literally race over his instrument, but he
stood silently on stage -- a stark contrast to the antics of guitarist Pete
Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey.
Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, called Entwistle ``one of the
great, great rock 'n' roll bassists of all time. A real genius.''
``He just was the most humble rock star I have ever met, besides having the
best hands of any bass player in the history of rock and roll,'' added
rocker Sammy Hagar.
Entwistle's song writing contributions to the band were minimal compared
with the prolific Townshend. The bass player penned ``Boris the Spider''
and ``My Wife,'' among others -- none of them big hits. Yet he was the only
member of the band with formal musical training.
He was among the first in rock to experiment with the six- and eight-string
bass and he also played the French horn.
``As a musician, he did for the bass guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the
guitar,'' said Luongo, 49, who played drums in The John Entwistle Band for
the last 15 years.
Entwistle was born Oct. 9, 1944 in London, and played piano and trumpet in
his early years. He met Townshend and Daltrey in his high school years and
by 1964 the band was born.
The Who rivaled the Rolling Stones for wild, high-energy shows that
included Townshend's slashing, windmill-like guitar licks, Moon's frenetic
drumming and Daltrey's use of a microphone cord as though it were a lariat.
During a concert at the Rikki Tik Club in England in May 1966, Townshend
smacked Entwistle in the head with his guitar; a year later, Moon, at the
close of the band's performance on ``The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,''
detonated a flash bomb that destroyed his drum set, stunned guests and
damaged Townshend's ears.
The Who played at the first Woodstock, opening with Entwistle's ``Heaven
and Hell,'' and churned out a succession of albums, including ``My
Generation,'' ``Happy Jack,'' ``The Who Sell Out,'' ``Who's Next,''
``Quadrophenia,'' ``Who Are You'' and ``The Kids Are Alright.''
They also made 1969's groundbreaking rock opera, ``Tommy,'' about a deaf,
dumb and blind messiah. The album was turned into a film starring
Ann-Margret, in 1975 and later into a Broadway show.
Entwistle in many instances improvised as much as guitarist Townshend, who
once said the bass player provided more lead material than he did.
``A lot of my playing is improvising,'' Entwistle explained to Bass
Frontiers magazine in 1996. ``I will just discover different little
patterns or riffs in any key at anytime. Somewhere in my brain I have a
list of things I can play. It's a matter of putting them in the right
``A lot of my best songs were written without instrument at all,'' he
added. ``For 'My Wife,' the words and the music were basically written in
my head and I had to transfer them to an instrument afterward so I could
He released the first of his nine solo albums in 1971, and later formed his
own ensemble, Ox, while continuing to play with The Who.
After Moon's death in 1978, the remaining members of the band retired in
1982 but reunited and toured frequently in recent years. They gave a
rousing performance at last year's ``Concert for New York,'' which raised
funds for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, and their latest album,
``Ultimate Collection,'' entered the Billboard charts two weeks ago at No.
They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Entwistle was also an artist and was in Las Vegas to open a show at
Grammy's Art of Music Gallery at the Aladdin Hotel-Casino. His work
included cartoon-type portraits of himself and his fellow band members, and
a picture featuring rock stars Hendrix and Eric Clapton was going to be
unveiled at the gallery.
The image of a quiet artist seemed to fit Entwistle, who often said he
didn't worry about the wallflower label some applied to him.
``John always said that all the other personas in The Who were taken so he
took that one,'' Luongo said.
Funeral arrangements were incomplete.