Relive 5 John Entwistle Basslines
John Entwistle live in 1978 - Michele Cadonna / Youtube
While John Entwistle never really owned the spotlight during The Who’s tenure in the rock industry, the bassist had his fair share of brief and bright moments, especially in some of the band’s best-known tracks. Entwistle was The Who’s Quiet One, which was justified as he let his instrument do the talking. Here are some of the well-remembered basslines by John Entwistle.
“My Generation” – My Generation (1965)
The anthemic “My Generation” from the album of the same name fueled the vigorous youth of The Who’s time with its inspiring themes. Entwistle shows off his capacity to play rhythm and lead bass here, from following Townshend’s chord changes to bursting into his own brief solo that pinned listeners to their chairs.
“Sparks” – Tommy (1969)
“Sparks” shows Entwistle being the backbone of the whole track, binding Moon’s flurry of notes and Townshend’s thick chord progressions. Again, he opts for the usual sublime, compliant bass playing before showing off some skin with a tasty solo.
“Boris The Spider” – A Quick One (1966)
“Boris The Spider” is Entwistle’s proud brainchild, sporting a teetering, yet straightforward progression. There are times where his bass parts mimic the vocal melody of the song, but the most notable part is by the song’s bridge where the progression builds up tension, seeking resolution.
“Baba O’Riley” – Who’s Next (1971)
Entwistle does what he does best: stay true to the track’s sound while weaving his own magic in the mix. “Baba O’Riley” has a really simplistic approach regarding the bassline, but adds in subtle harmonizations with the main progression to make the whole record a cohesive one.
“The Real Me” – Quadrophenia (1973)
Perhaps one of Entwistle’s most standout performances was the one on “The Real Me”. From the get-go, Entwistle enters strong with his bass playing, the rest of the band serving as his rhythm section. His dynamics with Townshend in this track is commendable, as the two trade licks to maximize the song’s runtime.