There is a Zen expression that advises the way to go through life successfully is to “move like a cow.”
Or, in this case, an ox.
Forever surrounded, at least on stage, by the testosterone-soaked circus which were Messrs. Townshend, Daltrey and especially Moon, it could often be too criminally easy to overlook The Man, The Myth, dare I say The Ox which was, and forever shall be, John Alec Entwistle. In more ways than one he WAS the George Harrison of The Who I suppose, yet Entwistle never ever took a musical back seat to his more prolific (or at least pushier) bandmates, employing his mighty four strings to not so much play songs as attack them, deftly bulldozing his basic bottom-heavy end up to an indisputable place of sheer sonic equality within the critical Who picking order.
In that process John became, it’s been said, the Jimi Hendrix of the bass guitar. Well, yes, all that I guess you could say, but SO much more as well. For one, the man’s abundant compositional skills remain nothing to be sneezed over. Sure, we all know and love “My Wife,” “Boris The Spider,” and my own personal favorite slice of backyard blue-balling, Ox-style: “Someone’s Coming.” These, along with the brace of less immediately recognizable Entwistle gems, always served to deflate with a wry, macabre smirk – just as Moon that Loon would OFF record – any and most every lofty pretension emanating from that Townshend corner of the band’s equation. Prime example? Without Uncle Ernie or Cousin Kevin, “Tommy” would play as just another “Jesus Christ: Pinball Star,” now wouldn’t he?