John Entwistle - The Rock

edited August 1 in year-1996

This album was a fine slice of melodic rock, very American influenced AOR that deserved to be heard.

John Entwistle - The Rock
ARTIST: John Entwistle
ALBUM: The Rock
LABEL: Whistle Rymes, Griffin
SERIAL: WR-0001, GCD-615-2
YEAR: 1996
CD REISSUE: 1998, Repertoire, REP 4696-WY * 2005, Sanctuary, CMRCD1201 (+5 bonus tracks)

LINEUP: John Entwistle - bass * Henry Small - vocals * Gene Bloch - guitars * Devin Powers - guitars * Adrian Cook - keyboards * Zak Starkey - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stranger In A Strange Land * 02 Love Doesn't Last * 03 Suzie * 04 Bridges Under The Water * 05 Heartache * 06 Billy * 07 Life After Love * 08 Hurricane * 09 Too Much Too Soon * 10 Last Song * 11 Country Hurricane


Following The Who's demise in 1982 the late John Entwistle went about assembling a new backing band, 'hand picking' the members, including Prism vocalist Henry Small and drummer Zak Starkey (ex ASAP and son of Ringo Starr).

The album they recorded was a group effort so instead of the Entwistle banner they became The Rock. Unfortunately the label they signed with in 1986 was closed by the FBI and the album was shelved. The Rock toured in 1988 and were unable to land a deal and subsequently split. It was almost a decade later in 1996 that Griffin Records made a deal with Entwistle and finally released the album proper, after Entwistle had been selling the album as a collectors item. The album was a fine slice of melodic rock, very American influenced AOR that deserved to be heard.

The Songs

'The Rock' is not a consistently strong album, of the eleven songs (ten really, 'Country Hurricane' is a 41 second joke song) half qualify as contenders while the others are 'so so'. The standout songs are strong enough to carry the album, which includes opener 'Stranger In A Strange Land'. There's an abundance of satisfying chord changes, a fine hook and tons of synths.

'Love Doesn't Last' is lightweight AOR ,on the same page as Mike + The Mechanics with acoustic guitar work dominating when some melodic riffs might have worked better. 'Suzie' is heavy on horns, including Entwistle on trombone, and his bass work is bottom ended and thunderous. The brazen chorus only improves matters.

'Billy' livens things up after some weaker tracks preceeding it. The chorus is quite nostalgic and the interplay between all is appealing, guitar and synths namely. 'Hurricane' is radio friendly stuff, a breezy hook and harmless guitars shaping an easy listening number.

'Too Much Too Soon' speeds things up, a nifty rocker relying on some tasty keyboard effects and hard rock riffs. 'Last Song' is Who like, similar to what Entwistle was writing during The Who's 'It's Hard' era. Non stop thrills with an ever shifting melody line, the best song is reserved for last.

In Summary

It's a relief that Griffin wound up making 'The Rock' available to the general public. Entwistle refused at first, wanting the mail order copies he had sold to be exclusively kept to 5000. He gave in on the condition that Griffin's copies were packaged differently to the originals, to keep them exclusive.

Entwistle amazingly never recorded another studio album, his last release being 1999's live 'Left For Live' album. It did contain a couple of new songs, but in a live setting. Zak Starkey of course went on to play with Entwistle in The Who, a position he maintains today. 'The Rock' is not an easy album to locate, but is reasonable enough to warrant a place in the 80's AOR fans collection, and as a reminder of the legacy of Entwistle, who passed away during 2002.

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