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The Ox Reviews

The Ox by Paul Rees

The Ox

The Last of the Great Rock Stars: The Authorised Biography of The Who's John Entwistle

Paul Rees

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Constable
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publication date: 10 Oct 2019
ISBN: 9781472129383

The authorised biography of The Who's John Entwistle

2 stars out of 5
10 Aug 2020

"A biography of The Who’s wild bassist tries to lionise him, but it’s not the most convincing job"

As much as this authorised biography might try to frame Entwistle’s behaviour in heroic terms as The Last of the Great Rock Stars, by the end of his days, he was overweight, alcoholic, half deaf, twice divorced, trapped in a poisonous relationship and only touring because he owed money to the tax man, thanks to his grotesquely self-indulgent spendthrift lifestyle. It is not a particularly heroic image. After reading this fastidious yet perversely depressing book, you might be tempted to conclude that if Entwistle really was the last of that overblown breed, then good riddance to the lot of them.


3 stars out of 5
Jude Rogers
8 Mar 2020

"If Entwistle was the last of the great rock stars, then good riddance"

No one expects a woke counter-narrative running alongside every scene, but Rees’s choice of material, without proper interrogation of its context and impact, often makes this a deeply uncomfortable read. It’s a shame when some of Entwistle’s early writings – when he’s not talking about himself – are full of colourful details on what Britain was like after the war. Houses were painted “camouflage green or brown, Spitfire cream or battleship grey”, and the grandparents who helped bring him up are fantastically realised characters.