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Smash Your Head Against the Wall

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Smash Your Head Against the Wall
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Vinyl, 1971
$72.00 $4.85

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Editorial Reviews

EXPERIENCE IT THE WAY IT WAS MEANT TO BE - ON VINYL LP! Smash Your Head Against the Wall is the debut solo album by John Entwistle of The Who, released on Track Records. Its strange cover strangely resembles an Egyptian sarcophagus - but it is in fact Entwistle wearing a death mask while looking through the chest X-ray of a lung cancer patient. The album itself offers a more downbeat and aggressive view of life than even the Who had to offer at their most pessimistic, as witnessed in the title track (aka "My Size"), the hazy rocker "Heaven And Hell" (which features some sterling acid guitar riffing by Cyrano Langston) and the closing track, "I Believe In Everything", which ends with a seemingly impromptu chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", to end a sometimes uncompromising album on an unexpectedly happy note. Who bandmate Pete Townshend once said about the album, "We learned more about John from him making an album than we did in all the years he'd ever played bass with us", a reference to both his quiet demeanor and his then-mostly unknown capabilities as a songwriter. Keith Moon, Vivian Stanshall and Neil Innes all make guest appearances. SONG LIST: 1. My Size; 2. Pick Me Up (Big Chicken); 3. What Are We Doing Here?; 4. What Kind Of People Are They?; 5. Heaven And Hell; 6. Ted End; 7. You're Mine; 8. No. 29 (Eternal Youth); 9. I Believe In Everything

Product Details

  • Vinyl
  • Original Release Date: 1971
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000NNRV7E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,316,113 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Philip S. Wolf on November 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The WHO had it all backwards, the drummer and the bass player were the two lead players. Beyond all the glorious noise these guys made on record and on stage and the production of Kit Lambert, we rarely got to hear how great John Entwistle was as a musician.

By 1970 John had just too many songs stored up and needed another outlet to being on the B side of the Who's latest single. So he began his first solo LP in November. Cy Langston was recruited from the Who's roadcrew for his guitar ability that sounded much like Pete Townshend. The rumor at the time was it WAS Pete working under an allias, but Dave (Cyrano) Langston was a real person. Jerry Shirley from the great group Humble Pie had some time- off and was drafted to sit behind the drumkit, so begins 'Smash'.

"My Size", the opening number sounds like a love song for a anger-mangement class, it's heavy and a great begining with all the power chords in the right places. The Who should have played this in concert as it would have fit well. "Big Chicken" is about the demon alcohol while "What Are We Doing Here", was based on an incident in Canada when again the member's of The Who were hassled for the length of their hair (John was in a suit, and never dressed like stinkin' hippy). The mix on this one is a bit different than on the original release. "What Kind Of People Are They?" has a super horn section supplied by John. "Heaven & Hell" is way close to the version recorded by The Who, and was the show opener for that band in 1970-71.

Side two of the LP started off with the great tune "Ted End", that has a real Beatles type charm to it. This would have fit in on "Abbey Road" quite nicely. On "Your Mine", John gets to play the Devil himself , with lyrics Cousin Kevin would be proud of. "No.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Carney on September 9, 2001
Format: Audio CD
John Entwistle is perhaps the most underrated and overlooked songwriter in all of rock. To prove this point, get "Smash your head against the wall." as soon as you can. This is a landmark album, a *fantastic* collection of songs from a prodigious musician.
Yes, the songs are "dark" (read: dark humor), bordering on the first smidgens of "goth" rock. But it's just what you should expect and be delighted about from John Entwistle:
"My Size" is one of the great unknown rockers, borne from a play on the riff of Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" (which is also featured as the bonus track on this album). It is a really rockin' song, written from a spider's perspective (imagine that!). It has great lyrics: "I'm gonna bring you down to my size, smash your head against the wall!" Good to hear when thinking about your least favorite person...

"External Youth" is a scathing parody of the superficiality that is so prevalent in the "industry" and features both Neil Innes (of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and Rutles/Monty Python fame) and Keith Moon on percussion! "Ted End" is a touching song about a lonely man's quiet death and has a very nice brass interlude provided by Entwistle himself, of course! "Heaven and Hell" appears as well, 'though much slowed down than the version by you-know-Who.
Indeed, when you listen to songs like, "What Kind of People Are They?", "You're Mine" and "What Are We Doing Here?" (and much of the rest of the album), you are going to scratch your head and wonder how and why they were never included in any Who offering.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mark Normand on June 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This album is a must for any Who/Entwistle fan!
The world has lost a truly amazing bassist who was second to none! I met Mr. Entwistle back in 1987 in a tavern in Los Angeles, where he offered me a seat and a glass of wine from his bottle. I asked him about bass stuff and he was more than pleased to speak with me regarding his playing style, basses, equipment etc. He was truly one of the nicest guys I have ever met! That evening was a truly inspirational highlight of my life as a struggling musician/bassist, that I will never forget! Learning his chops were paramount growing up as a young bassist. As well as all the other countless fans around the world, I am truly saddened by the news of his death. To me, he was one hell of an inspiration as a bassist, as well as one hell of a nice guy! The world has lost a true legend and pioneer of electric-bass. Thanks for your brilliant playing Mr. Entwistle. You will be sorely missed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
John Entwistle's first solo project away from The Who, "Smash Your Head Against the Wall," comes as a revelation of sorts; while his songs had been sporadically featured on Who albums up until its release, Entwistle wasn't quite given the songwriting kudos he deserved (his bass playing certainly wasn't an issue!) This album changed THAT notion, for sure..;) It's 100% solid, and a lot darker than the contemporary "Who's Next;" in fact, just imagine 9 songs of the general spirit of "My Wife," and you've got yourself an idea of what this album contains subject-wise.
An important thing to note: there're two separate issues of this on CD--this is the REPERTOIRE issue--and bizarrely enough, both versions of the album are VERY different from each other. The mix availible on this Repertoire CD sounds almost like a rough mix; it's VERY dirty (which is actually not a bad thing), and three songs in particular--My Size, Ted End, and You're Mine--sound VERY different. It's up in the air as to which one you'll prefer (personally, I prefer the SUNDAZED issue, which sounds more polished and which also contains as a bonus track a much superior version of "What Are We Doing Here").
Enjoy anyway.
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