Smash Your Head Against the Wall

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Smash Your Head Against The Wall
Overlaid photographs of a chest X-ray and a picture of Entwistle's face wearing a death mask
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 1971 (1971-05)
RecordedNovember 1970 and January 1971
StudioTrident Studios, London, England
ProducerJohn Entwistle
John Entwistle chronology
Smash Your Head Against The Wall
Whistle Rymes

Smash Your Head Against the Wall is the debut solo album by John Entwistle, the bassist for English rock band the Who. The album was released on Track Records in the UK and Decca Records in the US. Though the first solo album by any member of the Who, the record includes fellow Who member Keith Moon contributing to one track, as well as strong musical influences from the group's work.[1]


The macabre cover artwork was concocted by Entwistle and photographer Graham Hughes, cousin of the Who's vocalist Roger Daltrey. It depicts Entwistle's face wearing a death mask, transposed against an X-ray picture of the lungs of a terminal heart patient, obtained from Entwistle's doctor.[2] The gatefold cover features the X-ray of a pregnancy test, maintaining the "life vs. death" theme.[3]

The album features a remake of Entwistle's Who live classic "Heaven and Hell" with the Who's on and off roadie Dave "Cyrano" Langston, who had encouraged Entwistle to make the album and provided some acid-drenched guitar. Langston was even thought to be Pete Townshend under a pseudonym.

When Entwistle was asked about his first single, "I Believe in Everything", in comparison with the rest of the album, he said:

I've been saying a lot of stuff that I didn't really believe in. I sort of wrote it for the heads, really, the people thinking, "ah, so that's where Entwistle's brain's at, he really sort of believes in the devil and hell and all that sort of business." So I wrote a number that touches on reincarnation, then goes into the absurd, with Father Christmas and the whole bit and right at the end just to prevent the heads from thinking that I did believe in everything like I was saying, 'cause they always seem to believe that you actually believe in your own words. I believe in some of them but not all of them, so I just wrote the joke in to throw them off, and it's done it.[4]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars link
Christgau's Record GuideB[5]

The UK album differs from the US version. Entwistle remixed "What Are We Doing Here?" and the vocals sound quite different, possibly taken from a different vocal track.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written and composed by John Entwistle, except where indicated.

  1. "My Size" – 3:43
  2. "Pick Me Up (Big Chicken)" – 3:43
  3. "What Are We Doing Here?" – 3:49
  4. "What Kind of People Are They?" – 2:44
  5. "Heaven and Hell" – 4:50
  6. "Ted End" – 2:33
  7. "You're Mine" – 4:39
  8. "No. 29 (Eternal Youth)" – 5:25
  9. "I Believe in Everything" – 3:07
1997 bonus tracks
  1. "Cinnamon Girl" (Neil Young)
  2. "What Are We Doing Here?" (alternative mix)
2005 bonus tracks
  1. "Cinnamon Girl" (Neil Young)
  2. "It's Hard to Write a Love Song" (demo)
  3. "The Haunted Can Be Free" (demo)
  4. "World Behind My Face" (demo)
  5. "My Size" (early take)
  6. "What Kind of People Are They?" (demo)
  7. "Pick Me Up (Big Chicken)" (demo)
  8. "No. 29 (Eternal Youth)" (demo)
  9. "Ted End" (demo)


Additional musicians
Technical personnel
  • Roy Thomas - engineer
  • Graham Hughes - cover artwork, design, photography
  • Bob Irwin of Sundazed – mastering on 1997 edition


  1. ^ "Smash Your Head Against the Wall - John Entwistle | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  2. ^ "John Entwistle's Own 'Smash Your Head'". Rolling Stone. June 10, 1971.
  3. ^ Liner notes from 2005 CD issue, Sanctuary Records.
  4. ^ "The Hypertext Who › Article Archive › The Who Puts the Bomp (1971)". Retrieved 2012-03-09.
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: E". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via

External links[edit]