The Who are one of the most iconic rock bands of all time. Their mod style, lyrics and visceral musicianship brought them to the forefront of popular culture in the 1960s and has endeared them to fans ever since. Together, they have spawned numerous albums and singles considered to be one of the most influential back catalogues in history.
Of course, it goes without saying that the band were not shy of public attention. Comprised of frontman Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, bass player John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon, the band was the sum of its technically gifted parts. Parallel to their unbridled musical talent, the group gained infamy for another reason; their off-stage antics. They have come to somewhat embody the essence of rock ‘n’ roll excess, representing an era and type of musician that the world no longer produces.
There exist many vignettes that delineate the Who’s utterly batshit off-stage antics, including the Rolls Royce in a swimming pool, LSD on a transatlantic flight, and a nearly deadly flower-eating contest. The sheer volume of these outtakes have been gradually revealed to the public over time through autobiography release by the band members themselves or, in some cases, by the people close to the band at the time.
Recently though, another unhinged anecdote revealed itself. Previously unseen notes written by The Who’s bassist, the late, great John Entwistle, have described the time he and drummer Keith ‘The Loon’ Moon, were investigated as suspects in a kidnapping after a jaunt outside with a pair of inflatable women’s legs.
This particular incident took place in November 1968 in Newcastle, England. In what seems a highly weird stunt, the pair were driving around the city with the fake legs sticking out a window of Entwistle’s Bentley car. Entwistle wrote: “Visited a joke shop with Moon. We buy a pair of blow-up women’s legs and fit with a pair of fishnet stockings,” he said, before adding: “We drive through Newcastle with legs out of the window of the Bentley with Keith making screaming girlie noises. I notice a policewoman on a walkie-talkie.”
Thinking nothing of being noticed by the policewoman, and after finishing their stay in Newcastle, the band moved to the next venue for the tour; the Paisley Ice Rink in Scotland. In the notes, Entwistle expands: “After the show at Paisley Ice Rink, two policemen ask me if I am Mr. John Entwistle, owner of the Bentley. A policewoman has reported a woman in distress,” he said.
Adding: “We are escorted to the hotel where Keith has arranged the legs sticking out of the bath with a blanket over a pillow. The police are much relieved after they nervously remove the blanket. We chat to the police, who are now very friendly.”
The notes telling this hilarious story come from Entwistle‘s memoir, The Ox: The Last of the Great Rock Stars, a collection of his notes by Paul Rees, which was published in March. Tragically, the legendary bassist died prematurely in his sleep in 2002 and never got to finish his autobiography.
The book’s publishers, Constable, said in a statement: “John Entwistle was a rock star in most everything that he was seen to do and of the grand old-school – all swagger, joie de vivre and boundless consumption. With the full cooperation of the Entwistle family and the Who’s long-term management, Trinifold, The Ox will shine a long-overdue light on one of the single greatest, and most impactful, figures in rock history.”