John Entwistle’s Isolated Bass For “Baba O’Riley” Proves His Thunderfingers Exist
via Michele Cadonna/YouTube
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This was recorded on May 25, 1978 at London’s Shepperton Film Studios for The Who’s mini concert.
With the isolated bass track, the spotlight is on virtuoso musician John “The Ox” Entwistle and well, it’s proof why he’s often called “Thunderfingers”. With bandmates like Keith Moon and Pete Townshend who were wild, aggressive, and destructive on stage, it would’ve been hard to keep up with them unless you’re Entwistle. Watch him play bass like it’s nobody’s business below.
“Baba O’Riley”, or as some people like to call “Teenage Wasteland”, was the opening track to The Who’s fifth studio album Who’s Next. Townshend originally wrote it for the abandoned Lifehouse project and there are two versions of how he came up with the idea for the song – one was at their 1969 Isle of Wight Festival performance where he saw the field filled with rubbish left by teenage fans and the other was “the absolute desolation of teenagers at Woodstock, where audience members were strung out on acid”.
As for the title, it’s the combination of two of Townshend’s biggest influences – Indian spiritual master Meher Baba and musician Terry Riley. In a 2010 interview with Billboard magazine, Townshend explained: “A song like ‘Baba O’Riley,’ with ‘we’re all wasted,’ it just meant ‘we’re all wasted’ – it didn’t have the significance that it now has. What we fear is that in actual fact we have wasted an opportunity.”