Daily Mirror on John auction
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 22 06:59:24 CDT 2005
On line at:
Apr 22 2005
WHO OWNS A HAT LIKE THIS
you could, at the late John Entwistle's rock auction
By Bob Shields
IF you wanted to live a rock star's lifestyle - and
die a true rock star's death - you couldn't do much
better than the legendary John Entwistle. The Who's
bassist was the son of a trumpet-tooting dad and
piano-plonking mother, who built his first bass guitar
on the family dining table at the age of 14.
He died 43 ear-busting years later in the arms of a
Las Vegas stripper - when his heart finally
surrendered to the shovel-full of cocaine surging
through his veins.
In between, John Entwistle made music, made millions
and indulged himself in anything he fancied.
And yesterday, in a packed hotel just down the road
from his former baronial mansion, anything and
everything he ever fancied went under the auctioneer's
In keeping with the modern world of inheritance tax
and death duties, the real booty had already been
The mansion went for £3m. John's hoard of American
classic cars disappeared under the dustsheets of
fellow millionaire collectors. And his massive guitar
collection was deemed worthy of gracing Sotheby's
But for real Who fans, and collectors of the
bric-a-brac of the music industry, this was the sale
of the century.
Who wants the £100,000 Cadillac Entwistle sat in maybe
once a year when you can have the ashtray he lobbed
his fags in daily for 20 quid?
The 700 items up for grabs were as large and loud as
the man they named The Ox and who claimed he could
make his guitar 'sound like a bleeding VC10'.
A ceremonial Red Indian chief's headwear hung in one
corner. The slightly greying skin of a giant polar
bear - complete with head and snarling teeth - stood
In the foyer a full suit of armour looked incongruous
beside the table tennis table where Entwistle probably
challenged Roger Daltry or Pete Townshend in between
laying tracks at his home's giant studio.
There were dozens of stuffed game fish. John, a keen
angler, used them to decorate The Barracuda Inne, the
pub in his mansion.
He also loved all things heraldic and military, with
dozens of armour helmets piled on top of boxes of
thousands of hand-painted soldiers.
A chess board, where the squares were Union Jacks and
swastikas and figures included a Hitler and Churchill,
was knocked down for£800 - £600 over its estimate. The
sale room was packed with people as colourful as the
lots they had come to buy.
And there was a buzz when the auctioneer revealed
Roger Daltry was in the room. It turned out, by
outrageous coincidence, that one of the porters in
overalls shared the same name as The Who frontman.
Also in the room was Entwistle's only son, Craig.
He told me: 'It's a bit sad to be here seeing some of
my dad's possessions being flogged off, but there were
just so many things we couldn't keep.
'He was a massive collector of all kinds of different
things and there was never a spare inch in any of the
cupboards at home.
'Obviously my mother and I have taken away the items
most personal to the family. But I'd like to think
most things here will go to fans who enjoyed my
father's music and he enjoyed their praise in return.'
Dealers arriving in Rolls-Royces hoping to steal a
bargain among the Georgian sideboards and bookcases
mingled with long-haired Who fans, some arriving on
their scooters and clad in parkas. Surely the fans
would find that special something to take home? But
the bidding was tough.
Two guitar straps, which might have fetched a tenner
in a junk shop, were sold for £480.
A microphone, part of an award given to the band in
the early Seventies, fetched £300.
But serious music fans would have to wait late into
the evening for the most talked about items. These
included boxes of unmarked tapes and albums, reckoned
to be first pressings of The Who recordings sent to
the band for approval, and other experimental
material, as yet unheard, recorded in their studio.
Nobody had got round to playing any of them, so the
lot that's expected to reach five figures could turn
out to be Daltry's son singing nursery rhymes and Mrs
Mills playing the piano.
But, if it is an unreleased Who recording, the five
figure sum will disappear into insignificance.
-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!
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