John Entwistle

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John Alec Entwistle (9 October 1944 – 27 June 2002) was an English bass guitarist, songwriter, singer, horn player, and film and record producer who was best known as the bass player for the rock band The Who. His aggressive lead sound influenced many rock bass players.[1][2] He has been described as "the greatest bassist in the history of rock" by Greenwich Time and The Ledger.[3][4] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who in 1990.

Entwistle's lead instrument approach used pentatonic lead lines, and a then-unusual trebly sound created by roundwound RotoSound steel bass strings. He had a collection of over 200 instruments by the time of his death, reflecting the different brands he used over his career: Fender and Rickenbacker basses in the 1960s, Gibson and Alembic basses in the 1970s, Warwick in the 1980s, and Status all-Carbon fibre basses in the 1990s.

Contents

Birth and early career

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 feature in 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, playing a major role in encouraging Townshend's budding talent on the guitar, and insisting that Townshend be admitted to the Detours as well. After changes in personnel, Daltrey had fired all members of his band with the exception of Entwistle, Townshend, and the drummer, Doug Sandom, although it was only because he had not yet found a drummer with sufficient talent to replace him. Upon the entry of Keith Moon to the band, Daltrey relinquished the role of guitar to Townshend, becoming frontman and lead singer in the band, while the band considered several changes of name, temporarily performing as the High Numbers, and finally settling on the name The Who. When the band decided that the blond Daltrey needed to stand out more from the others, Entwistle dyed his naturally golden hair black, and it remained so until the early 1980s. Around 1963 John played in a London band for a short while called The Initials, the band split due to the falling through of a resident stint in Spain.

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