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Book Review of The Ox: the Last of the Great Rock Stars

The Who were there from the beginning. They were one of the few bands that created the blueprint for what a rock star is or does. The Ox is a biography of John Entwistle, The Who’s bass player and founding member – a Rolling Stone magazine poll voted him the greatest bass player of all time. The Ox is advertised as a ‘no holds barred’ look at a rock star. Saying that, this is written with a certain amount of sympathy for John Entwistle.

The book was put together from interviews with friends and family and as such some censorship has been applied. Interviews with other musicians give a very different story. Touring has lots of temptations. However when viewed from 2021 the rock and roll lifestyle and what it did to everyone around John just makes me feel sad.

There is no doubt he was an amazing bass player but this is a cautionary tale.  What do you do when you have everything? Or where to go to from the top? Entwistle could play bass like no one else and write songs. Look closely at “Who’s Next” and “Who Are You” for his credits.

It is quite amazing that The Who had the success they did. They were ripped off by mangers, broke up several times, got back together and still managed to make music that appealed to so many people. At one point anything they did was considered “fantastic” at the time. Although maybe that wasn’t always the case.

While the Ox is definitely interesting for anyone wanting to learn more about The Who, perhaps Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite : my story by Roger Daltrey is the better read.

Posted by Rob Middleton

 

9 August 2021

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