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Friday, 1st Feb 2019
The forgotten county
By Tim Porter
Stones in his pockets
Wednesday 24th April 2019
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Growing up in London, John Entwistle showed a talent for several instruments, including the piano, trumpet and bass guitar. He met musician and future Who bandmate Pete Townshend in school and the two played together in different bands.
In 1961, he joined the Detours, a group that also included the Who’s lead singer, Roger Daltrey. Later Pete Townshend and drummer Keith Moon came aboard and the group changed its name to the Who in the mid-1960s. The band quickly found chart success in their native England and in the United States with songs like ‘My Generation’. Along with such groups as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, the Who became one of the leading forces of the music scene in the '60s.
With a brash, energetic quality all of its own, the Who became hugely popular as a live act. They played some of the leading festivals of the time, including the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, Woodstock two years later and the Isle of Wight in 1970. While the other members of the group were known for stage antics, Entwistle focused on demonstrating his guitar prowess during performances. Behind the scenes, he was also a talented songwriter, creating some of the band’s songs, including ‘Boris the Spider’, ’Whiskey Man’, ‘Cousin Kevin’ and ‘My Wife’.
In 1967, Entwistle married his childhood sweetheart Alison Wise and bought a large semi-detached home in Acton, filling it with all sorts of extraordinary artefacts, ranging from suits of armour to a tarantula spider. His eccentricity and taste for the bizarre was to remain with him throughout his life. When he moved to Stow-on-the-Wold in 1978, his 17-bedroom mansion, Quarwood, resembled a museum. It also housed one of the largest guitar collections belonging to any rock musician.
He was known to walk across the Fosseway and along the footpath, through Maugersbury and up to the Bell for a drink. Until a few years ago the Bell had a bar dedicated to John with memorabilia and a juke box playing only Who classics.
Sadly, John died in Las Vegas on 27th June 2002. His funeral was held at St Edward's Church on 10th July 2002 with speakers erected outside of the church to cope with the crowds. He was cremated and his ashes were buried privately. Quarwood and some of his personal effects were later sold off to meet the demands of the Inland Revenue; coincidentally, he had worked for the agency from 1962-1963 as a tax officer before being demoted to filing clerk, prior to joining the Who.
John Entwistle was clearly fond of Stow as he stood in for the bass player of the local band ‘The Stowaways’ to play at the British Legion Club in Well Lane on 27th May 2000 in a fundraising event for ‘Friends of Stow Surgery’. Admission on the night was £3!