By Damian Fanelli
Below, check out some extraordinary footage of John Entwistle’s isolated bass track from the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” as performed May 25, 1978, at the U.K.’s Shepperton Studios. Entwistle, who is standing in front of a wall of Sunn cabinets, is playing his Alembic Spyder bass (Dean makes a limited-run version of this bass, the USA John Entwistle Spider).
The performance is from a mini-concert set up by the band for use in The Kids Are Alright, their career-spanning 1979 documentary. It turned out to be the last performance, ever, by the original lineup of the band. Drummer Keith Moon, who is noticeably bloated in the full-band version of the performance below (bottom video), died just a few months later, on September 7, 1978, at age 31 after mixing the alcohol-withdrawal drug Clomethiazole with alcohol.
Sadly, Entwistle died June 27, 2002, at age 57 while the Who were on tour in Las Vegas. The local medical examiner determined that his death was due to a heart attack induced by cocaine. The next day, the Who’s Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey published a tribute on Townshend’s website, saying, “The Ox has left the building; we’ve lost another great friend.”
Regardless of the fact that the band were clearly rusty in May 1978, this footage of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is one of the most exciting and powerful Who performances caught on film. And then there’s Daltrey’s freaking amazing scream at 7:50. Enjoy!
Damian Fanelli is the online managing editor at Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado. His New York-based band, the Blue Meanies, has toured the world and elsewhere. Fanelli, a former member of Brooklyn jump-blues/swing/rockabilly band the Gas House Gorillas and New York City instrumental surf-rock band Mister Neutron, also composes and records film soundtracks. He writes GuitarWorld.com’s The Next Bend column, which is dedicated to B-bender guitars and guitarists. His latest liner notes can be found in Sony/Legacy’s Stevie Ray Vaughan: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.