John Entwistle – “Smash Your Head Against The Wall” (Track Record UK LP 2406 005)
I first hopped on to The Who bandwagon around the time of “Tommy” – but I doubtlessly knew of their hit singles that came before “Tommy” – like “Magic Bus” and “Happy Jack”. I always instinctively knew they were ‘hip’, but…I was unprepared for how good both “The Who Sell Out” and “Happy Jack” / “A Quick One” are as albums. These guys are great!! When the big book gets written, Pete Townshend is up there with John Lennon, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan etc.
How could one not love the author and singer of “Boris The Spider”? “I’ve Been Away”? “Doctor Doctor”? etc. I fully embraced “Tommy”, and couldn’t wait for whatever was next from these guys.
I do not remember the chronology exactly (I was too young), but before “Who’s Next”, there was a John Entwistle solo album. I saw it, couldn’t believe my eyes – and asked my dad for the $5 necessary as quickly as possible (for the original mix British LP on Track Record) – I have 5 variants on this album, and some singles from it as well. The current CD issue (an SHM-CD paper sleeve CD from Japan) has numerous “bonus tracks” – all of which matter not a whit.
I love each and every track on “Smash Your Head” – I was always sorry that he seemed to keep remixing this album – the US version of the LP had different lead vocals on some songs! As with most of “My Ultimate Collection”, at some time or another – each and every song on this LP has been a favorite song that I have sung to myself (and others). “Pick Me Up (Big Chicken)” is probably my single favorite work in the entire canon of work by the members of The Who. I still discuss this album with friends of mine! “Is ‘Cyrano’ really Pete Townshend?” – uh, no.
I was all of 12 years old when I got this LP! It totally got in under the radar. I just couldn’t play it enough! 20+ years later, I went and saw John Entwistle play a show in a tiny nightclub – with enough amplification for a 14,000 seat ampitheatre. Deafening! But I went (and stayed) because of how much I love this album.
Even when albums by The Who got to be rough sailing in the latter part of the 70’s, one could still go straight to the John Entwistle songs therein and see what the fuss was about.
I definitely cried when The Ox checked out in Las Vegas. One couldn’t replace Keith Moon in The Who – but…one really can’t replace John Entwistle.
Rest in Peace, John Alec Entwistle (1944 – 2002)