by Robert Wilkinson
Along with John Lennon, we wish John Entwistle of the Who, one of the greatest bass players in history, a big Happy and Merry. Today we have lots of videos!
As you know, I was/am a big Who fan. They were easily the most exciting band in history when it came to live performances. I've written a lot about it in the birthday celebrations of their guitarist, Pete Townshend, and their incredible drummer, Keith Moon. (Sorry for any busted links.) While everyone else on stage were a whirl of energy and motion, John Entwistle, known to his bandmates as "The Ox," stood rock still, the anchor "at the eye of the hurricane."
AMG states John Entwistle "was probably the most influential bassist in rock music. Before Entwistle came along as a member of the Who, bassists seldom stood out for their playing and few casual listeners knew or cared what purpose the four-stringed instrument served -- after he came along, everyone knew."
He truly anchored the sound of the group, using his custom built, extended neck bass to play both the bass lines, rhythms, and countermelodies. His songwriting was twisted, humorous, and at times very dark, and he had a very bizarre sense of humor. Check out "Boris the Spider," "Heaven and Hell," "Whiskey Man," and "My Wife,"
Today I found many videos of the Who, so please enjoy the bass playing and thunderous stage shows you're about to see!
First, some tame stuff from early in their career. Here's a promotional video done in 1964 for their first smash hit, "I Can't Explain."
Here’s an early gem from 1965, a video of the Who lip-synching to the awesome studio version of “Substitute” John's "lead bass" pumps big time!
A rare (and very twisted!) gem! I found the original studio version of a song John wrote for the B side of "Substitute," "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."
This one's a lost gem! From an uncompleted movie in 1964, back when the Who were known as the High Numbers, here's "The High Numbers performing "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" and "I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying."
Here's The Who on the last "Shindig!" show in 1965 doing a medley of "I Can't Explain" and "My Generation."
From the Happy Jack album, stills set to the studio cut of Entwistle's "Doctor, Doctor."
Some live performances! From the Beat Club, 1967, "I'm A Boy,"
Here are the Who live at the Marquee Club in 1967 pounding out a 9 minute three song set! “Happy Jack,” “So Sad About Us,” and “My Generation”
From that set, one of my favorite tunes from that era! If you don’t want to sit through all 3 tunes, here are the Who live doing “So Sad ‘Bout Us.”
Here's The Who live in Helsinki 1967 doing "Substitute" and "My Generation."
From 1967 on the Smothers Brothers tv show, here are the Who lipsynching "I Can See For Miles" and "My Generation." (The explosions were real, courtesy of Keith Moon!)
A great live performance of the controversial masterpiece, "Pictures of Lily."
Here’s their legendary performance at the Monterrey Pop Festival in the Summer of Love June 1967! Mods decked out in paisley, it’s their first tour, and they blew a lot of minds!! 19 minutes of pure gold!!
Also from Monterrey, between “Summertime Blues” and “A Quick One” here’s one of their greatest tunes, the oh so controversial “Pictures of Lily”
As they were one of the only acts to play at BOTH Monterrey and Woodstock, here’s 28 minutes of video footage of their set at Woodstock 1969!
(Set list: "Sparks," "Pinball Wizard," The Abbie Hoffman Incident, "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Summertime Blues," Encore & Pete Dialogue, "My Generation," "Naked Eye")
Here’s the entire 65 minute audio-only set of The Who Live At Woodstock – the entire set
Here's an exciting (and loud!) version of the John Entwistle song opening the great Live At Leeds concert album. If you're so inclined, turn it up! "Heaven and Hell."
From their live performance at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, here's John in a skeleton outfit leading the Who in opening the set with "Heaven and Hell." You'll note that he's the only one standing still with an imperturbable look on his face in the midst of the swirling chaos!
Here’s the Who at their peak!
The Who at the Isle of Wight, 1970 – pt. 1 (51+ min – pt. 2 is nowhere to be found. However, this is the equivalent of the first 4 parts of what will pick up at the next link. They take a while to load, so don’t give up to quickly.)
Speaking of live concert performances, here are the Who performing at the Bill Graham concert in 1970 at Tanglewood, which was the last time they performed the entire Tommy album. Enjoy!
From a few years later, here's John Entwistle performing a song he wrote for the "Happy Jack" album. Live on the King Biscuit Flour Hour in 1975. set to stills, "Whiskey Man."
I was in Houston Texas November 1975 for this show! It was the first show of their 1975 US tour, and I and my friends had been waiting for that night for a long time! Yes, they really did achieve a “maximum r & b sound” on stage that rivaled or surpassed what they did in the studio when they weren’t maxing out their amps!
I found as many clips from that show as I could, and put them in order of the set list. For your enjoyment, a live concert by the Who of
For those who want the whole show, here it is!
(Set list: Substitute, I Can't Explain, Squeeze Box, Baba O'Riley, Boris the Spider, Drowned, However Much I Booze, Dreaming From The Waist, Behind Blue Eyes, Amazing Journey, Sparks, Acid Queen, Fiddle About, Pinball Wizard, We're Not Going To Take It, Summertime Blues, My Generation/Join Together/Naked Eye/Roadrunner, Won't Get Fooled Again, Magic Bus/My Generation Blues.)
From 1975 in Michigan, the Who at their peak! 43 minutes of pure gold! The Who live in Pontiac 1975
(Set list: “Pinball Wizard,” “I'm Free,” “Tommy's Holiday Camp,” “We're Not Going To Take It,” “Summertime Blues,” “My Generation,” “Join Together Blues,” “Roadrunner,” “My Generation Blues,” “Won't Get Fooled Again.”)
From the same 1975 tour, this time in Cleveland, the Who doing John's composition "Boris the Spider."
The Who with Kenny Jones on drums in a 2 hour, 25 minute full concert from Chicago in 1979! The Who Live in Chicago - 1979
Here they are live in Essen in 1981 doing “You Better You Bet”
Here’s the official music video from 1981 of the Who doing "You Better,You Bet."
In Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 17th December 1982, the Who doing "Boris the Spider."
Here's a live performance by the Who at Radio City Music Hall in 1989 set to stills of the haunted John Entwistle composition from "Tommy," "Cousin Kevin."
Here are a few from his early solo albums.
From his solo studio album, "Smash your head against the wall," John's song that opened most Who concerts for a lot of years, "Heaven and Hell."
From many years later, not that many months before he died, The Who at The Royal Albert Hall November 2000 doing another signature John Entwistle tune that doesn't have a very uplifting sentiment, "My Wife." From the same show, a major league bass solo on a song titled "5:15."
Here's another live performance at Camden Entertainment Centre, New Jersey, or "My Wife."
We'll finish today’s music with a tribute video someone made of and for John titled "My Wife (video for John)"
This is a strange little documentary called “Is There Life After the Who,” (or maybe “There Is Life After Who”) done some time in themed-80s. It really looks like a very informal “cinema verite’” attempt using very low tech equipment and a home movie approach.
I also found an interesting professionally produced documentary called “An Ox’s Tale – The John Entwistle Story,” narrated by Peter Frampton. It's of significantly better quality than the other documentary. If you want to know more about this amazing talent, postwar England, and the awesome music scene that developed during the 50s and 60s, for your viewing pleasure,
Happy birthday and RIP, John. I'm sure you and Moon the Loon are blowing up astral toilets in astral hotels somewhere in an obscure frequency of the Bardo. Sorry you died so young at 57, but at least you were at Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel. Seems fitting, since you were one of the hardest rockers of them all.
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson