JOHN ENTWISTLE, legendary bass player for The Who, was reported dead on local San Jose/San Francisco radio stations while I was in the car. He was 57, and died in Las Vegas, of causes not yet reported. The Who were apparently planning to begin a tour of the US tomorrow.
Entwistle was an extremely talented bassist (and horn player) who helped turn the electric bass into a lead instrument with The Who. The lead bassists of the late ’60s and ’70s (Stanley Clarke, Chris Squire, etc.) built on the concepts of melodic soloing, high powered amplification and distortion that Entwistle was an early pioneer of. (Many times during early Who videos or films, the cameraman would unthinkingly keep their lens aimed at guitarist Pete Townshend, while Entwistle would actually be soloing on his bass.)
I’ll be curious as to the causes–I never thought of Entwistle as a hard partying, hard drinking and drugging sort of fellow, unlike his partner in rhythm in the early days of The Who, Kieth Moon.
UPDATE: Here’s an AP article that says “Entwistle died of a heart attack