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. His aggressive lead sound influenced many rock bass player He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Who in 1990.
Entwistle’s instrumental approach used pentatonic lead lines, and a then-unusual treble-rich sound (“full treble, full volume”) created by roundwound RotoSound steel bass strings. He was nicknamed “The Ox” and “Thunderfingers,” the latter because his digits became a blur across the four-string fretboard.
After making a surprisingly effective debut with Smash Your Head Against the Wall, Who bassist John Entwistle consolidated his solo success with Whistle Rymes.
Like its predecessor, this album combines catchy, straightforward, pop-tinged rock with dark, often bitingly sarcastic lyrics; good examples include “Thinking It Over,” a witty, waltz-styled tune about a potential suicide having second thoughts while preparing to jump off a building, and “Who Cares,” a punchy, piano-driven rocker about a man who deals with the problems of life by refusing to take it seriously. However, Entwistle‘s finest achievement in this respect is “I Feel Better,” a devastatingly sarcastic tune that features the singer putting down an ex-lover by listing all the things all the things he does to get back at her. Viciously witty yet full of emotion, this poison-pen gem ranks up there with Harry Nilsson‘s “You’re Breaking My Heart” as one of rock’s ultimate post-breakup songs. Whistle Rymes further benefits from a stylish production job by Entwistle that judiciously adds extra instrumental layers to the album’s basic rock style to subtly broaden its sonic palette; for instance, “Thinking It Over” is anchored by a thick synthesizer bassline and “I Wonder” allows Entwistle to indulge his skill with brass instruments by overdubbing himself into a virtual big band brass section.
The album’s title pokes fun at a common misspelling of Entwistle’s surname. Several of the tracks give a humorous look on domestic life, following the birth of Entwistle’s son, Christopher.
“Ten Little Friends” was written on piano at John Entwistle’s Ealing home studio and sprang from a bout of writer’s block. The title comes from a set of troll figures given to him by the Who’s Keith Moon. The track features a guitar solo from Peter Frampton. As well as his usual bass guitar, Entwistle also plays bass synthesizer.
1. “Ten Little Friends” (4:03)
2. “Apron Strings” (3:47)
3. “I Feel Better” (4:46)
4. “Thinkin’ It Over” (3:12)
5. “Who Cares?” (4:28)
6. “I Wonder” (2:58)
7. “I Was Just Being Friendly” (3:33)
8. “The Window Shopper” (3:28)
9. “I Found Out” (3:51)
10. “Nightmare (Please Wake Me Up)” (6:16)
11. “I Wonder (Demo)” (2:52)
12. “All Dressed Up (Demo)” (2:53)
13. “Back on the Road (Demo)” (3:53)
14. “Countryside Boogie (Demo)” (4:28)
All songs written and composed by John Entwistle.
- John Entwistle – bass, keyboards, vocals, synthesizer, bass synthesizer, trumpet, piano, French horn
- Peter Frampton – guitar
- John Weider – backing vocals, violin (on ‘Nightmare’)
- Keith Moon – percussion
- Rod Coombes – drums
- Jimmy McCulloch – guitar
- Neil Sheppard – keyboards
- Bryan Williams – trombone, keyboards
- Alan Ross – acoustic guitar
- Graham Deakin – drums
- Producer – John Entwistle, John Alcock
Released: November 3, 1972
Recorded: During May 1972, Studio Island Studios, Notting Hill, London, England
Style: Psychedelic Rock
Label – Track Records