Keith Moon
Keith Moon

Keith John Moon (23 August 1946[2] – 7 September 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was famous for his distinctive type and his eccentric, typically self-destructive behaviour and habit to medicine and alcohol.

Moon grew up in Alperton, a suburb of Wembley, in Middlesex, and took up the drums in the course of the early Sixties. After taking part in with an area band, the Beachcombers, he joined the Who in 1964 earlier than they recorded their first single. Moon was recognised for his drumming type, which emphasised tom-toms, cymbal crashes, and drum fills. All through Moon’s tenure with the Who, his drum equipment steadily grew in dimension, and (together with Ginger Baker) he has been credited as one of many earliest rock drummers to repeatedly make use of double bass drums in his setup. Moon often collaborated with different musicians and later appeared in movies, however thought-about taking part in within the Who his main occupation, and remained a member of the band till his demise. Along with his expertise as a drummer, Moon developed a fame for smashing his equipment on stage and destroying lodge rooms on tour. He was fascinated with blowing up bathrooms with cherry bombs or dynamite, and destroying tv units. Moon loved touring and socialising, and have become bored and stressed when the Who had been inactive. His twenty first party in Flint, Michigan, has been cited as a infamous instance of decadent behaviour by rock teams.

Moon suffered a lot of setbacks in the course of the Seventies, most notably the unintended demise of chauffeur Neil Boland and the breakdown of his marriage. He grew to become hooked on alcohol, significantly brandy and champagne, and purchased a fame for decadence and darkish humour; his nickname was “Moon the Loon”. After transferring to Los Angeles with private assistant Peter “Dougal” Butler in the course of the mid-Seventies, Moon recorded his solely solo album, the poorly obtained Two Sides of the Moon. Whereas touring with the Who, on a number of events he handed out on stage and was hospitalised. By the point of their closing tour with him in 1976, and significantly throughout manufacturing of The Children Are Alright and Who Are You, the drummer’s deterioration was evident. Moon moved again to London in 1978, dying in September of that yr from an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug supposed to deal with or stop signs of alcohol withdrawal.

Moon’s drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians. He was posthumously inducted into the Trendy Drummer Corridor of Fame in 1982, turning into the second rock drummer to be chosen, and in 2011, Moon was voted the second-greatest drummer in historical past by a Rolling Stone readers’ ballot.[3][4]


Central Middlesex Hospital

Central Middlesex Hospital, Moon’s native land

Keith John Moon was born to Alfred Charles (Alf) and Kathleen Winifred (Package) Moon[2][5] on 23 August 1946 at Central Middlesex Hospital in northwest London, and grew up in Wembley. He was hyperactive as a boy, with a stressed creativeness and a specific fondness for The Goon Present and music. Moon attended Alperton Secondary Trendy Faculty after failing his eleven plus examination, which precluded his attending a grammar college.[6] His artwork trainer mentioned in a report: “Retarded artistically. Idiotic in different respects”. His music trainer wrote that Moon “has nice skill, however should guard in opposition to an inclination to indicate off.”[7]

Moon joined his native Sea Cadet Corps band on the age of twelve on the bugle, however discovered the instrument too tough to study and determined to take up drums as a substitute.[8] He was taken with sensible jokes and residential science kits, with a specific fondness for explosions.[9] On his approach house from college, Moon would typically go to Macari’s Music Studio on Ealing Highway to practise on the drums there, studying his primary abilities on the instrument. He left college at age fourteen, round Easter in 1961.[10] Moon then enrolled at Harrow Technical School; this led to a job as a radio repairman, enabling him to purchase his first drum equipment.[11]


Early years

Moon took classes from one of many loudest modern drummers, Screaming Lord Sutch’s Carlo Little, at 10 shillings per lesson.[12] Moon’s early type was influenced by jazz, American surf music and rhythm and blues, exemplified by famous Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine. His favorite musicians had been jazz artists, significantly Gene Krupa (whose flamboyant type he subsequently copied).[13] Moon additionally admired Elvis Presley’s authentic drummer DJ Fontana, the Shadows’ authentic drummer Tony Meehan[14] and the Fairly Issues’ Viv Prince.[15] He additionally loved singing, with a specific curiosity in Motown.[16] Moon idolised the Seashore Boys;[17] Roger Daltrey later mentioned that given the chance, Moon would have left to play for the California band even on the peak of the Who’s fame.[18]

Throughout this time Moon joined his first severe band: the Escorts, changing his greatest buddy Gerry Evans.[19] In December 1962 he joined the Beachcombers, a semi-professional London cowl band taking part in hits by teams such because the Shadows.[20] Throughout his time within the group Moon integrated theatrical methods into his act, together with “taking pictures” the group’s lead singer with a starter pistol.[21] The Beachcombers all had day jobs; Moon, who labored within the gross sales division at British Gypsum, had the keenest curiosity in turning skilled. In April 1964, aged 17,[22] he auditioned for the Who as a substitute for Doug Sandom. The Beachcombers continued as an area cowl band after his departure.[23]

The Who

Unsmiling young man in a T-shirt, holding a bottle

Moon backstage in Ludwigshafen, Germany, 1967

A generally cited story of how Moon joined the Who’s that he appeared at a present shortly after Sandom’s departure, the place a session drummer was used. Wearing ginger garments and along with his hair dyed ginger (future bandmate Pete Townshend later described him as a “ginger imaginative and prescient”),[24]: 52:40  he claimed to his would-be bandmates that he may play higher; he performed within the set’s second half, almost demolishing the drum equipment within the course of.[25] Within the phrases of the drummer, “they mentioned go forward, and I obtained behind this different man’s drums and did one song-‘Highway Runner.’ I would a number of drinks to get me braveness up and after I obtained onstage I went arrgggGhhhh on the drums, broke the bass drum pedal and two skins, and obtained off. I figured that was it. I used to be scared to demise. Afterwards I used to be sitting on the bar and Pete came visiting. He mentioned: ‘You … come ‘ere.’ I mentioned, delicate as you please: ‘Sure, sure?’ And Roger, who was the spokesman then, mentioned: ‘What are you doing subsequent Monday?’ I mentioned: ‘Nothing.’ I used to be working in the course of the day, promoting plaster. He mentioned: ‘You may have to surrender work … there’s this gig on Monday. If you wish to come, we’ll choose you up within the van.’ I mentioned: ‘Proper.’ And that was it.”[26] Moon later claimed that he was by no means formally invited to affix the Who completely; when Ringo Starr requested how he had joined the band, he mentioned he had “simply been filling in for the final fifteen years.”[24]: 52:29 

Moon’s arrival within the Who modified the dynamics of the group. Sandom had typically been the peacemaker as Daltrey and Townshend feuded between themselves, however due to Moon’s temperament the group now had 4 members steadily in battle. “We used to struggle repeatedly”, remembered Moon in later years. “John [Entwistle] and I used to have fights – it wasn’t very severe, it was extra of an emotional spur-of-the second factor.”[27] Moon additionally clashed with Daltrey and Townshend: “We actually have completely nothing in frequent other than music”, he mentioned in a later interview.[28] Though Townshend described him as a “utterly completely different particular person to anybody I’ve ever met”,[24]: 38:48  the pair had a rapport within the early years and loved sensible jokes and improvised comedy. Moon’s drumming type affected the band’s musical construction; though Entwistle initially discovered Moon’s lack of standard timekeeping problematic, it created an authentic sound.[27]

Moon was significantly keen on touring, because it was his solely likelihood to repeatedly socialise along with his bandmates, and was typically stressed and bored when not taking part in reside. This later carried over to different elements of his life, as he acted them out (in response to journalist and Who biographer Dave Marsh) “as if his life had been one lengthy tour.”[29] These antics earned him the nickname “Moon the Loon”.[30]

Musical contributions

I suppose as a drummer, I am satisfactory. I’ve obtained no actual aspirations to be a terrific drummer. I simply wish to play drums for the Who and that is it.

—Keith Moon, Melody Maker, September 1970[31]

Moon’s type of drumming was thought-about distinctive by his bandmates, though they often discovered his unconventional taking part in irritating; Entwistle famous that he tended to play sooner or slower in response to his temper.[32] “He would not play throughout his equipment”, he later added. “He’d play zig-zag. That is why he had two units of tom-toms. He’d transfer his arms ahead like a skier.”[25] Daltrey mentioned that Moon “simply instinctively put drum fills in locations that different folks would by no means have considered placing them.”[25]

Who biographer John Atkins wrote that the group’s early take a look at classes for Pye Data in 1964 present that “they appeared to have understood simply how vital was … Moon’s contribution.”[33] Up to date critics questioned his skill to maintain time, with biographer Tony Fletcher suggesting that the timing on Tommy was “in every single place.” Who producer Jon Astley mentioned, “You did not assume he was conserving time, however he was.”[32] Early recordings of Moon’s drumming sound tinny and disorganised;[34] it was not till the recording of Who’s Subsequent, with Glyn Johns’ no-nonsense manufacturing strategies and the necessity to hold time to a synthesizer monitor, that he started creating extra self-discipline within the studio. Fletcher considers the drumming on this album to be one of the best of Moon’s profession.[35]

Not like modern rock drummers reminiscent of Ginger Baker and John Bonham, Moon hated drum solos and refused to play them in live performance. At a Madison Sq. Backyard present on 10 June 1974, Townshend and Entwistle determined to spontaneously cease taking part in throughout “Waspman” to hearken to Moon’s drum solo. Moon continued briefly after which stopped, shouting “Drum solos are boring!”[36] On 23 June 1977, he made a visitor look at a Led Zeppelin live performance in Los Angeles.[37]

Keith Moon singing

Moon singing at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 21 October 1976;[38] he loved singing at any time when attainable.

Moon additionally aspired to sing lead vocal on some songs.[39] Whereas the opposite three members dealt with a lot of the onstage vocals, Moon would try to sing backup (significantly on “I Cannot Clarify”). He offered humorous commentary throughout tune bulletins, though sound engineer Bob Pridden most well-liked to mute his vocal microphone on the blending desk at any time when attainable.[40] Moon’s knack for making his bandmates chortle across the microphone led them to banish him from the studio when vocals had been being recorded; this led to a sport by which Moon would sneak in to affix the singing.[41] On the finish of “Glad Jack”, Townshend might be heard saying “I noticed ya!” to Moon as he tries to sneak into the studio.[42] The drummer’s curiosity in surf music and his want to sing led to his performing lead vocals on a number of early tracks, together with “Bucket T” and “Barbara Ann” (Prepared Regular Who EP, 1966)[43] and excessive backing vocals on different songs, reminiscent of “Footage of Lily”. Moon’s efficiency on “Bell Boy” (Quadrophenia, 1973) noticed him abandon “severe” vocal performances to sing in character, which gave him (in Fletcher’s phrases) “full licence to reside as much as his fame as a lecherous drunk”; it was “precisely the form of efficiency the Who wanted from him to deliver them again all the way down to earth.”[44]

Moon composed “I Want You”, the instrumental “Cobwebs and Unusual” (from the album A Fast One, 1966),[45] the only B-sides “In The Metropolis” (co-written with Entwistle)[46] and “Woman’s Eyes” (from The Who Promote Out classes featured on Thirty Years of Most R&B and a 1995 re-release of The Who Promote Out), “Canines Half Two” (1969), “Tommy’s Vacation Camp” (1969)[47] and “Waspman” (1972).[48] Moon additionally co-composed “The Ox” (an instrumental from their debut album, My Era) with Townshend, Entwistle and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. The setting for “Tommy’s Vacation Camp” (from Tommy) was credited to Moon;[49] the tune was primarily written by Townshend and, though there’s a false impression that Moon sings on it, the album model is Townshend’s demo.[50]

The drummer produced the violin solo on “Baba O’Riley”.[51] Moon sat in on congas with East of Eden at London’s Lyceum Ballroom, and afterwards prompt to violinist Dave Arbus that he play on the monitor.[52]


"Pictures of Lily" drum kit

Premier’s reproduction of the “Footage of Lily” drum equipment, which Moon used from 1967 to 1969[53]

Moon performed a four- and later a five-piece drum equipment throughout his early profession. Throughout a lot of 1964 and 1965 his setups consisted of Ludwig drums and Zildjian cymbals. He started to endorse Premier Drums in late 1965, and remained a loyal buyer of the corporate.[54] His first Premier equipment was in pink sparkle and featured two excessive toms. In 1966 Moon moved to an excellent bigger equipment,[55] however with out the customary hi-hat—on the time he most well-liked conserving trip rhythms with trip and crash cymbals. His new bigger configuration was notable for the presence of two bass drums; he, together with Ginger Baker, has been credited as one of many early pioneers of double bass drumming in rock.[56] This equipment was not used on the Who’s efficiency on the 1967 Monterey Pop Competition.[57] From 1967 to 1969 Moon used the “Footage of Lily” drum equipment (named for its art work), which had two 22-inch (56 cm) bass drums, two 16-inch (41 cm) ground toms and three mounted toms.[53] In recognition of his loyalty to the corporate, Premier reissued the equipment in 2006 because the “Spirit of Lily”.[54]

By 1970 Moon had begun to make use of timbales, gongs and timpani, and these had been included in his setup for the remainder of his profession.[53] In 1973 Premier’s advertising supervisor, Eddie Haynes, started consulting Moon about particular necessities.[57] At one level, Moon requested Premier to make a white equipment with gold-plated fittings. When Haynes mentioned that it could be prohibitively costly, Moon replied: “Expensive boy, do precisely as you are feeling it must be, however that is the best way I would like it.” The equipment was finally fitted with copper fittings[57] and later given to a younger Zak Starkey.[58]

Destroying devices and different stunts

At an early present on the Railway Tavern in Harrow, Townshend smashed his guitar after by accident breaking it. When the viewers demanded he do it once more, Moon kicked over his drum equipment.[59] Subsequent reside units culminated in what the band later described as “auto-destructive artwork”, by which band members (significantly Moon and Townshend) elaborately destroyed their gear. Moon developed a behavior of kicking over his drums, claiming that he did so in exasperation at an viewers’s indifference.[60] Townshend later mentioned, “A set of skins is about $300 [then £96] and after each present he’d simply go bang, bang, bang after which kick the entire thing over.”[61]

In Might 1966, Moon found that the Seashore Boys’ Bruce Johnston was visiting London. After the pair socialised for just a few days, Moon and Entwistle introduced Johnston to the set of Prepared Regular Go!,[62] which made them late for a present with the Who that night. Through the finale of “My Era”, an altercation broke out on stage between Moon and Townshend which was reported on the entrance web page of the New Musical Categorical the next week. Moon and Entwistle left the Who for every week (with Moon hoping to affix the Animals or the Nashville Teenagers), however they modified their minds and returned.[63]

On the Who’s early US bundle tour on the RKO 58th Road Theatre in New York in March and April 1967, Moon carried out two or three reveals a day, kicking over his drum equipment after each present.[64] Later that yr, throughout their look on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, he bribed a stagehand to load gunpowder into one among his bass drums; the stagehand used about ten occasions the usual quantity.[65] Through the finale of “My Era”, he set off the cost. The depth of the explosion singed Townshend’s hair and embedded a bit of cymbal in Moon’s arm.[66] A clip of the incident grew to become the opening scene for the movie The Children Are Alright.[24]: 7:44 

Though Moon was identified for kicking over his drum equipment, Haynes claimed that it was executed fastidiously and the equipment not often wanted repairs. Nonetheless, stands and foot pedals had been steadily changed; the drummer “would undergo them like a knife by butter”.[57]

Different work


Advertisement for

Commercial for “Do not Fear Child”, 1974

Whereas Moon typically mentioned he was solely taken with working with the Who,[31] he participated in outdoors musical initiatives. In 1966 he labored with Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, pianist Nicky Hopkins and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Web page and John Paul Jones on the instrumental “Beck’s Bolero”, which was the B-side to “Hello Ho Silver Lining” and appeared on the album Reality. Moon additionally performed timpani on one other monitor, a canopy of Jerome Kern’s “Ol’ Man River”. He was credited on the album as “You Know Who”.[67]

Moon might have impressed the title for Led Zeppelin. When he briefly thought-about leaving the Who in 1966, he spoke with Entwistle and Web page about forming a supergroup. Moon (or Entwistle) remarked {that a} explicit suggestion had gone down like a “lead zeppelin” (a play on “lead balloon”). Though that supergroup was by no means shaped, Web page remembered the phrase and later tailored it because the title of his new band.[68]

The Beatles grew to become pals with Moon, and this led to occasional collaborations. In 1967, he contributed backing vocals to “All You Want Is Love”.[69] On 15 December 1969, Moon joined John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band for a reside efficiency on the Lyceum Theatre in London for a UNICEF charity live performance. In 1972 the efficiency was launched as a companion disc to Lennon and Ono’s album Some Time in New York Metropolis.[70]

Moon’s friendship with Entwistle led to an look on Smash Your Head Towards the Wall, Entwistle’s first solo album and the primary by a member of the Who. Moon didn’t play drums on the album; Jerry Shirley did, with Moon offering percussion.[71] Rolling Stones John Hoegel appreciated Entwistle’s choice to not let Moon drum, saying that it distanced his album from the acquainted sound of the Who.[72]

Moon grew to become concerned in solo work when he moved to Los Angeles in the course of the mid-Seventies. Monitor Data-MCA launched a Moon solo single in 1974, comprising cowl variations of the Seashore Boys’ “Do not Fear, Child” and “Teenage Idol”. The next yr he launched his solely solo album, entitled Two Sides of the Moon. Though it featured Moon on vocals, he performed drums on solely three tracks; a lot of the drumming was left to others (together with Ringo Starr, session musicians Curly Smith and Jim Keltner, and actor-musician Miguel Ferrer).[73] The album was obtained poorly by critics. New Musical Categoricals Roy Carr wrote, “Moonie, if you did not have expertise, I would not care; however you could have, which is why I am not about to simply accept Two Sides of the Moon.”[74] Dave Marsh, reviewing the album in Rolling Stone, wrote: “There is no reputable cause for this album’s existence.”[75] Throughout one among his few televised solo drum performances (for ABC’s Vast World), Moon performed a five-minute drum solo dressed as a cat on clear acrylic drums stuffed with water and goldfish. When requested by an viewers member what would occur to the equipment, he joked that “even one of the best drummers get hungry.”[76] His efficiency was not appreciated by animal lovers, a number of of whom referred to as the station with complaints.[76]


Within the 2007 documentary movie Superb Journey: The Story of The Who, Daltrey and Townshend reminisced about Moon’s expertise for dressing as (and embodying) a wide range of characters. They remembered his dream of getting out of music and turning into a Hollywood movie actor,[16][better source needed] though Daltrey didn’t assume Moon had the endurance and work ethic required by an expert actor. Who supervisor Invoice Curbishley agreed that Moon “wasn’t disciplined sufficient to truly flip up or decide to doing the stuff.”[77]

However, the drummer landed a number of appearing roles. His first was in 1971, a cameo in Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels as a nun afraid of dying from a drug overdose. Though it solely took 13 days to movie, fellow forged member Howard Kaylan remembers Moon spending off-camera time on the Kensington Backyard Resort bar as a substitute of sleeping.[78] Moon’s subsequent movie position was J.D. Clover, drummer for the fictional Stormy Tempest (performed by Billy Fury) at a vacation camp in the course of the early days of British rock ‘n’ roll, in 1973’s That’ll Be the Day.[79] He reprised the position for the movie’s 1974 sequel, Stardust,[80] in Jim MacLaine’s (David Essex) backing band the Stray Cats and performed Uncle Ernie in Ken Russell’s 1975 movie adaptation of Tommy.[81] Moon’s final movie look was in 1978’s Sextette.[82]

Harmful behaviour

Once you’ve obtained cash and also you do the form of issues I stand up to, folks chortle and say that you just’re eccentric, which is a well mannered approach of claiming you are fucking mad.

—Keith Moon[83]

Moon led a damaging life-style. Through the Who’s early days he started taking amphetamines,[84] and in a NME interview mentioned his favorite meals was “French Blues”.[85] He spent his share of the band’s earnings shortly, and was an everyday at London golf equipment such because the Speakeasy and The Bag O’Nails; the mix of tablets and alcohol escalated into alcoholism and drug habit later in his life.[86] “[We] went by the identical phases all people goes by – the bloody drug hall”, he later mirrored. “Ingesting suited the group so much higher.”[87]

In response to Townshend, Moon started destroying lodge rooms when the Who stayed on the Berlin Hilton on tour in late 1966.[88] Along with lodge rooms, Moon destroyed pals’ properties and even his personal, together with throwing furnishings from upper-storey home windows. Andrew Neill and Matthew Kent estimated that his destruction of lodge bathrooms and plumbing price as a lot as £300,000 ($500,000).[89] These acts, typically fuelled by medicine and alcohol, had been Moon’s approach of demonstrating his eccentricity; he loved stunning the general public with them. Longtime buddy and private assistant Butler noticed, “He was making an attempt to make folks chortle and be Mr Humorous, he wished folks to like him and luxuriate in him, however he would go up to now. Like a prepare trip you could not cease.”[90]

In a limousine on the best way to the airport, Moon insisted they return to their lodge, saying “I forgot one thing.” On the lodge he ran again to his room, grabbed the tv and threw it out of the window into the swimming pool beneath. He then jumped again into the limo, saying “I almost forgot.”[91]

Fletcher argues that the Who’s prolonged break (15 December 1971 – 11 August 1972) between the tip of their 1971 Who’s Subsequent Tour and the start of the Quadrophenia classes devastated Moon’s well being,[92] as with out the rigours of prolonged reveals and common touring that had beforehand stored him in form, his hard-partying life-style took a larger toll on his physique. He didn’t hold a drum equipment or practise at Tara, and started to deteriorate bodily on account of his life-style.[93] Across the identical time he grew to become a extreme alcoholic, beginning the day with drinks and altering from the “lovable boozer” he offered himself as to a “boorish drunk”.[94] David Puttnam recalled, “The consuming went from being a joke to being an issue. On That’ll Be the Day it was social consuming. By the point Stardust got here spherical it was onerous consuming.”[95]

Exploding bathrooms

Moon’s favorite stunt was to flush highly effective explosives down bathrooms. In response to Fletcher, Moon’s rest room pyrotechnics started in 1965 when he bought a case of 500 cherry bombs.[96] He moved from cherry bombs to M-80 fireworks to sticks of dynamite, which grew to become his explosive of alternative.[97] “All that porcelain flying by the air was fairly unforgettable,” Moon remembered. “I by no means realised dynamite was so highly effective. I would been used to penny bangers earlier than.”[96] He shortly developed a fame for destroying loos and blowing up bathrooms. The destruction mesmerised him, and enhanced his public picture as rock’s premier hell-raiser. Tony Fletcher wrote that “no rest room in a lodge or altering room was protected” till Moon had exhausted his provide of explosives.[96]

Townshend walked into the lavatory of Moon’s lodge room and observed the bathroom had disappeared, with solely the S-bend remaining. The drummer defined that since a cherry bomb was about to blow up, he had thrown it down the bathroom and confirmed Townshend the case of cherry bombs. “And naturally from that second on,” the guitarist remembered, “we obtained thrown out of each lodge we ever stayed in.”[98]

Entwistle recalled being near Moon on tour and each had been typically concerned in blowing up bathrooms. In a 1981 Los Angeles Occasions interview he admitted, “A whole lot of occasions when Keith was blowing up bathrooms I used to be standing behind him with the matches.”[99]

A lodge supervisor referred to as Moon in his room and requested him to decrease the quantity on his cassette recorder as a result of it made “an excessive amount of noise.” In response the drummer requested him as much as his room, excused himself to go to the lavatory, put a lit stick of dynamite in the bathroom and shut the lavatory door. Upon returning, he requested the supervisor to remain for a second, as he wished to elucidate one thing. Following the explosion, Moon turned the recorder again on and mentioned, “That, pricey boy, was noise. That is the ‘Oo.”[100]

Flint Vacation Inn incident

Former Holiday Inn in Flint

Website of the previous Vacation Inn in Flint, Michigan, the place Moon’s twenty first party was a infamous occasion (since this image was taken, a lot of the constructing has been demolished).

On 23 August 1967, on tour opening for Herman’s Hermits, Moon celebrated what he mentioned was his twenty first birthday (though it was thought on the time to be his twentieth) at a Vacation Inn in Flint, Michigan.[96] Entwistle later mentioned, “He determined that if it was a publicised undeniable fact that it was his twenty first birthday, he would be capable of drink.”[101]

The drummer instantly started consuming upon his arrival in Flint. The Who spent the afternoon visiting native radio stations with Nancy Lewis (then the band’s publicist), and Moon posed for a photograph outdoors the lodge in entrance of a “Glad Birthday Keith” signal put up by the lodge administration. In response to Lewis, Moon was drunk by the point the band went onstage at Atwood Stadium.[102]

Returning to the lodge, Moon began a meals struggle and shortly cake started flying by the air. The drummer knocked out a part of his entrance tooth; on the hospital, docs couldn’t give him an anaesthetic (as a consequence of his inebriation) earlier than eradicating the rest of the tooth. Again on the lodge a mêlée erupted; hearth extinguishers had been set off, friends (and objects) thrown into the swimming pool and a piano reportedly destroyed. The chaos ended solely when police arrived with weapons drawn.[102]

A livid Vacation Inn administration offered the teams with a invoice for $24,000, which was reportedly settled by Herman’s Hermits tour supervisor Edd McCann.[103] Townshend claimed that the Who had been banned for all times from the entire lodge’s properties,[104] however Fletcher wrote that they stayed at a Vacation Inn in Rochester, New York, every week later. He additionally disputed a extensively held perception that Moon drove a Lincoln Continental into the lodge’s swimming pool, as claimed by the drummer in a 1972 Rolling Stone interview.[103]

Passing out on stage

Keith Moon playing the drums

Moon at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, 21 October 1976. By this level in his profession, it was unsure whether or not he may end a present with out incident. Besides for 2 casual reveals filmed for The Children are Alright, this was the drummer’s final public efficiency with the Who.[105]

Moon’s life-style started to undermine his well being and reliability. Through the 1973 Quadrophenia tour, on the Who’s debut US date on the Cow Palace in Daly Metropolis, California, Moon ingested a mix of tranquillisers and brandy. Through the live performance, Moon handed out on his drum equipment throughout “Will not Get Fooled Once more”. The band stopped taking part in, and a gaggle of roadies carried Moon offstage. They gave him a bathe and an injection of cortisone, sending him again onstage after a thirty-minute delay.[106] Moon handed out once more throughout “Magic Bus”, and was once more faraway from the stage. The band continued with out him for a number of songs earlier than Townshend requested, “Can anybody play the drums? – I imply any person good?” A drummer within the viewers, Scot Halpin, got here up and performed the remainder of the present.[107]

Through the opening date of the band’s March 1976 US tour on the Boston Backyard, Moon handed out over his drum equipment after two numbers and the present was rescheduled. The subsequent night Moon systematically destroyed all the things in his lodge room, reduce himself doing so and handed out. He was found by supervisor Invoice Curbishley, who took him to a hospital, telling him “I am gonna get the physician to get you good and match, so that you’re again inside two days. As a result of I wish to break your fucking jaw … You’ve fucked this band round so many occasions and I am not having it any extra.”[108] Docs instructed Curbishley that if he had not intervened, Moon would have bled to demise.[109] Marsh prompt that at this level Daltrey and Entwistle critically thought-about firing Moon, however determined that doing so would make his life worse.[110]

Entwistle has mentioned that Moon and the Who reached their reside peak in 1975–76. On the finish of the 1976 US tour in Miami that August, the drummer, delirious, was handled in Hollywood Memorial Hospital for eight days. The group was involved that he can be unable to finish the final leg of the tour, which ended at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on 21 October (Moon’s final public present).[105] Through the band’s recording sabbatical between 1976 and 1978, Moon gained a substantial quantity of weight.[111] By the point of the Who’s invitation-only present on the Gaumont State Cinema on 15 December 1977 for The Children are Alright, Moon was visibly chubby and had issue sustaining a stable efficiency.[112] After recording Who Are You, Townshend refused to comply with the album with a tour until Moon stopped consuming,[113] and mentioned that if Moon’s taking part in didn’t enhance he can be fired.[114] Daltrey later denied threatening to fireplace him, however mentioned that by this time the drummer was uncontrolled.[115]

Monetary issues

As a result of the Who’s early stage act relied on smashing devices, and owing to Moon’s enthusiasm for damaging inns, the group had been in debt for a lot of the Sixties; Entwistle estimated they misplaced about £150,000.[116] Even when the group grew to become comparatively financially steady after Tommy, Moon continued to rack up money owed. He purchased a lot of vehicles and devices, and flirted with chapter.[29] Moon’s recklessness with cash lowered his revenue from the group’s 1975 UK tour to £47.35 (equal to £406 in 2020).[117][118]

Private life and relationships


Earlier than the 1998 launch of Tony Fletcher’s Expensive Boy: The Lifetime of Keith Moon, Moon’s date of beginning was presumed to be 23 August 1947. This inaccurate date appeared in a number of otherwise-reliable sources, together with the Townshend-authorised biography Earlier than I Get Previous: The Story of The Who.[119] The wrong date had been provided by Moon in interviews earlier than it was corrected by Fletcher to 1946.[2]

Kim Kerrigan

Moon’s first severe relationship was with Kim Kerrigan, whom he began relationship in January 1965 after she noticed the Who play at Le Disque a Go! Go! in Bournemouth.[120] By the tip of the yr she found she was pregnant. Her mother and father, who had been livid, met with the Moons to debate their choices, and he or she moved into the Moon household house in Wembley.[121] She and Moon had been married on 17 March 1966 at Brent Register Workplace,[122] and their daughter Amanda was born on 12 July.[123] The wedding (and little one) had been stored secret from the press till Might 1968.[124] Moon was often violent in the direction of Kim:[125] “if we went out after I had Mandy”, she later mentioned, “if somebody talked to me, he’d lose it. We would go house and he’d begin a struggle with me.”[126] He cherished Amanda, however his absences as a consequence of touring and fondness for sensible jokes made their relationship uneasy when she was very younger. “He had no thought the way to be a father”, Kim mentioned. “He was an excessive amount of of a kid himself.”[124]

From 1971 to 1975 Moon owned Tara, a house in Chertsey the place he initially lived along with his spouse and daughter.[127] The Moons entertained extravagantly at house, and owned a lot of vehicles. Jack McCullogh, then working for Monitor Data (the Who’s label), remembers Moon ordering him to buy a milk float to retailer within the storage at Tara.[128]

In 1973 Kim, satisfied that neither she nor anybody else may average Keith’s behaviour, left her husband and took Amanda;[129] she sued for divorce in 1975 and later married Faces keyboard participant Ian McLagan.[130] Marsh believes that Moon by no means really recovered from the lack of his household.[131] Butler agrees; regardless of his relationship with Annette Walter-Lax, he believes that Kim was the one girl Moon cherished.[90] McLagan commented that Moon “could not deal with it.”[132] Moon would harass them with cellphone calls, and on one event earlier than Kim sued for divorce, he invited McLagan for a drink at a Richmond pub and despatched a number of “heavies” to interrupt into McLagan’s house on Fife Highway and search for Kim, forcing her to cover in a walk-in closet.[132] She died in a automotive accident in Austin, Texas, on 2 August 2006.[133]

Annette Walter-Lax

In 1975 Moon started a relationship with Swedish mannequin Annette Walter-Lax, who later mentioned that Moon was “so candy when he was sober, that I used to be simply residing with him within the hope that he would kick all this craziness.”[83] She begged Malibu neighbour Larry Hagman to test Moon right into a clinic to dry out (as he had tried to do earlier than), however when docs recorded Moon’s chemical consumption at breakfast – a bottle of champagne, Courvoisier and amphetamines – they concluded that there was no hope for his rehabilitation.[134]


Keith Moon on stage at a gig in Toronto, 21 October 1976

Moon onstage in Toronto, 21 October 1976

Moon loved being the lifetime of the occasion. Invoice Curbishley remembered that “he would not stroll into any room and simply hear. He was an consideration seeker and he needed to have it.”[77]

Early within the Who’s profession, Moon obtained to know The Beatles. He would be part of them at golf equipment, forming a very shut friendship with Ringo Starr.[135] Moon later grew to become pals with Bonzo Canine Doo-Dah Band members Vivian Stanshall and “Legs” Larry Smith, and the trio would drink and play sensible jokes collectively. Smith remembers one event the place he and Moon tore aside a pair of trousers, with an confederate later in search of one-legged trousers.[136] Within the early Seventies Moon helped Stanshall along with his “Radio Flashes” radio present for BBC Radio 1, filling in for the vacationing John Peel. Moon crammed in for Peel in 1973’s “A Contact of the Moon”, a sequence of 4 programmes produced by John Walters.[137]

Guitarist Joe Walsh loved socialising with Moon. In an interview with Guitar World journal, he recalled that the drummer “taught me the way to break issues.”[138] In 1974, Moon struck up a friendship with actor Oliver Reed whereas engaged on the movie model of Tommy.[139] Though Reed matched Moon drink for drink, he appeared on set the following morning able to carry out; Moon, however, would price a number of hours of filming time.[77] Reed later mentioned that Moon “confirmed me the best way to madness.”[140]

Dougal Butler

Peter “Dougal” Butler started working for the Who in 1967, turning into Moon’s private assistant the next yr[141] to assist him keep out of hassle. He remembers managers Package Lambert and Chris Stamp saying, “We belief you with Keith however when you ever need any break day, for a vacation or some type of relaxation, tell us and we’ll pay for it.” Butler by no means took them up on the provide.[90]

He adopted Moon when the drummer relocated to Los Angeles, however felt that the drug tradition prevalent on the time was dangerous for Moon: “My job was to have eyes behind my head.”[141] Townshend agreed, saying that by 1975 Butler had “no affect over him in anyway.”[142] Though he was a loyal companion to Moon, the approach to life finally grew to become an excessive amount of for him; he phoned Curbishley, saying that they wanted to maneuver again to England or one among them would possibly die.[90] Butler stop in 1978, and later wrote of his experiences in a guide entitled Full Moon: The Superb Rock and Roll Lifetime of Keith Moon.[141]

Neil Boland

On 4 January 1970 Moon by accident killed his buddy, driver and bodyguard, Neil Boland, outdoors the Purple Lion pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Pub patrons had begun to assault his Bentley; Moon, drunk, started driving to flee them and hit Boland. After an investigation, the coroner dominated Boland’s demise an accident; Moon, having been charged with a lot of offences, obtained an absolute discharge.[143]

These near Moon mentioned that he was haunted by Boland’s demise for the remainder of his life. In response to Pamela Des Barres, Moon had nightmares (which woke them each) concerning the incident and mentioned he had no proper to be alive.[144]

Loss of life

Curzon Square, Mayfair, London

9 Curzon Sq. in 2012; Moon lived on the fourth ground (high left) in 1978.

In mid-1978 Moon moved into Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place (later Curzon Sq.), Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London, renting from Harry Nilsson. Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas had died there 4 years earlier, on the age of 32;[145][146] Nilsson was involved about letting the flat to Moon, believing it was cursed. Townshend disagreed, assuring him that “lightning would not strike the identical place twice”.[147]

After transferring in, Moon started a prescribed course of Heminevrin (clomethiazole, a sedative) to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal signs. He wished to get sober, however due to his worry of psychiatric hospitals he wished to do it at house. Clomethiazole is discouraged for unsupervised detoxing due to its addictive potential, its tendency to induce tolerance, and its threat of demise when combined with alcohol.[148] The tablets had been prescribed by Geoffrey Dymond, a doctor who was unaware of Moon’s life-style. Dymond prescribed a bottle of 100 tablets, instructing him to take one capsule when he felt a longing for alcohol however no more than three tablets per day.[149]

By September 1978 Moon was having issue taking part in the drums, in response to roadie Dave “Cy” Langston. After seeing Moon within the studio making an attempt to overdub drums for The Children Are Alright, he mentioned, “After two or three hours, he obtained increasingly sluggish, he may barely maintain a drum stick.”[150]

Keith Moon's plaque at Golders Green Crematorium

Moon’s plaque at Golders Inexperienced Crematorium

On 6 September, Moon and Walter-Lax had been friends of Paul and Linda McCartney at a preview of a movie, The Buddy Holly Story. After eating with the McCartneys at Peppermint Park in Covent Backyard, Moon and Walter-Lax returned to their flat. He watched a movie (The Abominable Dr. Phibes), and requested Walter-Lax to cook dinner him steak and eggs. When she objected, Moon replied, “In case you do not prefer it, you may fuck off!” These had been his final phrases.[145] Moon then took some clomethiazole tablets. When Walter-Lax checked on him the next afternoon, she found he was lifeless.[151]

Curbishley phoned the flat at round 5 pm in search of Moon, and Dymond gave him the information. Curbishley instructed Townshend, who knowledgeable the remainder of the band. Entwistle was giving an interview to French journalists when he was interrupted by a cellphone name with the information of Moon’s demise. Making an attempt to tactfully and shortly finish the interview, he broke down and wept when the journalist requested him concerning the Who’s future plans.[152]

Moon’s demise got here shortly after the discharge of Who Are You. On the album cowl, he’s straddling a chair to cover his weight achieve; the phrases “To not be taken away” are on the again of the chair.[153] Police decided that there have been 32 clomethiazole tablets in Moon’s system. Six had been digested, adequate to trigger his demise; the opposite 26 had been undigested when he died.[149] Max Glatt, an authority on alcoholism, wrote in The Sunday Occasions that Moon ought to by no means have been given the drug.[154] Moon was cremated on 13 September 1978 at Golders Inexperienced Crematorium in London, and his ashes had been scattered in its Gardens of Remembrance.[155]

Townshend persuaded Daltrey and Entwistle to hold on touring as The Who, though he later mentioned that it was his technique of dealing with Moon’s demise and “utterly irrational, bordering on insane”. AllMusic’s Bruce Eder mentioned, “When Keith Moon died, the Who carried on and had been way more competent and dependable musically, however that wasn’t what bought rock information.”[156][147] In November 1978, Faces drummer Kenney Jones joined the Who. Townshend later mentioned that Jones “was one of many few British drummers who may fill Keith’s footwear”;[157] Daltrey was much less enthusiastic, saying that Jones “wasn’t the best type”.[158] Keyboardist John “Rabbit” Bundrick, who had rehearsed with Moon earlier within the yr,[113] joined the reside band as an unofficial member.[159][160]

Jones left the Who in 1988,[161] and drummer Simon Phillips (who praised Moon’s skill to drum over the backing monitor of “Baba O’Riley”) toured with the band the next yr.[162] Since 1996, the Who’s drummer has been Ringo Starr’s son Zak Starkey, who had been given a drum equipment by Moon (whom he referred to as “Uncle Keith”).[163][164] Starkey had beforehand toured in 1994 with Roger Daltrey.[165]

The London 2012 Summer season Olympic Committee contacted Curbishley about Moon performing on the video games, 34 years after his demise. In an interview with The Occasions Curbishley quipped, “I emailed again saying Keith now resides in Golders Inexperienced Crematorium, having lived as much as the Who’s anthemic line ‘I hope I die earlier than I get previous’ … If they’ve a spherical desk, some glasses and candles, we’d contact him.”[166]


Keith Moon's blue plaque at the Marquee Club, London

Moon’s blue plaque on the web site of the previous Marquee Membership

Moon’s drumming has been praised by critics. Creator Nick Talevski described him as “the best drummer in rock”, including that “he was to the drums what Jimi Hendrix was to the guitar.”[167] Holly George-Warren, editor and writer of The Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame: The First 25 Years, mentioned: “With the demise of Keith Moon in 1978, rock arguably misplaced its single best drummer.”[168] In response to AllMusic critic Bruce Eder, “Moon, along with his manic, lunatic facet, and his lifetime of extreme consuming, partying, and different indulgences, most likely represented the youthful, zany facet of rock & roll, in addition to its self-destructive facet, higher than anybody else on the planet.”[156] The New Guide of Rock Lists ranked Moon No. 1 on its listing of “50 Best Rock ‘n’ Roll Drummers”,[169] and he was ranked No. 2 on the 2011 Rolling Stone “Finest Drummers of All Time” readers’ ballot. In 2016, the identical journal ranked him No. 2 of their listing of the 100 Best Drummers of All Time, behind John Bonham.[170] Adam Budofsky, editor of Drummer journal, mentioned that Moon’s performances on Who’s Subsequent and Quadrophenia “symbolize an ideal steadiness of method and keenness” and “there’s been no drummer who’s touched his distinctive slant on rock and rhythm since.”[171]

A number of rock drummers, together with Neil Peart[172] have cited Moon as an affect.[173] The Jam paid homage to Moon on the second single from their third album, “Down within the Tube Station at Midnight”; the B-side of the only is a Who cowl (“So Unhappy About Us”), and the again cowl of the document has a photograph of Moon’s face. The Jam’s single was launched a few month after Moon’s demise.[174] Animal, one among Jim Henson’s Muppet characters, might have been primarily based on Keith Moon as a consequence of their comparable hair, eyebrows, character and drumming type.[175][176] Jazz drummer Elvin Jones praised Moon’s work throughout “Underture”, as integral to the tune’s impact.[177]

Ray Davies notably lauded Moon’s drumming throughout his speech for the Kinks’ induction into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame, in 1990: “… Keith Moon modified the sound of drumming.”[178]

“God bless his stunning coronary heart …” Ozzy Osbourne instructed Sounds a month after the drummer’s demise. “Individuals will probably be speaking about Keith Moon ’til they die, man. Somebody someplace will say, ‘Bear in mind Keith Moon?’ Who will keep in mind Joe Bloggs who obtained killed in a automotive crash? Nobody. He is lifeless, so what? He did not do something to speak of.”[179]

Clem Burke of Blondie has mentioned “Early on all I cared about was Keith Moon and the Who. Once I was about eleven or twelve, my favorite a part of drum classes was the final ten minutes, after I’d get to sit down on the drumset and play alongside to my favorite document. I would usher in ‘My Era’. On the finish of the tune, the drums go nuts. ‘My Era’ was a turning level for me as a result of earlier than that it was all of the Charlie Watts and Ringo sort of factor.”[180]

In 1998 Tony Fletcher revealed a biography of Moon, Expensive Boy: The Lifetime of Keith Moon, in the UK. The phrase “Expensive Boy” grew to become a catchphrase of Moon’s when, influenced by Package Lambert, he started affecting a pompous English accent. In 2000, the guide was launched within the US as Moon (The Life and Loss of life of a Rock Legend). Q Journal referred to as the guide “horrific and terrific studying”, and Report Collector mentioned it was “one among rock’s nice biographies.”[181]

In 2008, English Heritage declined an utility for Moon to be awarded a blue plaque. Chatting with The Guardian, Christopher Frayling mentioned they “determined that dangerous behaviour and overdosing on varied substances wasn’t a adequate qualification.” The UK’s Heritage Basis disagreed with the choice, presenting a plaque which was unveiled on 9 March 2009. Daltrey, Townshend, Robin Gibb and Moon’s mom Package had been current on the ceremony.[97][182]


Solo albums
  • Two Sides of the Moon (1975)


  • Atkins, John (2000). The Who on Report: A Essential Historical past, 1963–1998. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-0609-8.
  • Bogovich, Richard; Posner, Cheryl (2003). The Who: A Who’s Who. McFarland & Firm. ISBN 978-0-7864-1569-4. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  • Case, George (2010). Out of Our Heads: Rock ‘n’ Roll Earlier than the Medicine Wore Off. Hal Leonard Company. ISBN 978-0-87930-967-1.
  • Doerschuk, Andy (1989). “Keith Moon’s Love/Hate Relationship With His Drum Set”. Drum Journal (October/November). Archived from the unique on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  • Chapman, Rob (1998). “Moon: The Final Rock Catastrophe Epic” (PDF). Mojo. No. 58. Archived from the unique (PDF) on 14 Might 2013.
  • Marsh, Dave (1989). Earlier than I Get Previous: The Story of The Who. Plexus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-0-85965-083-0.
  • Fletcher, Tony (1998). Expensive Boy: The Lifetime of Keith Moon. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84449-807-9.
  • Neill, Andrew; Kent, Matthew (2009). Anyway, Anyhow, Wherever: The Full Chronicle of The WHO 1958–78. Sterling Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4027-6691-6.
  • Townshend, Pete (2012). Who Am I: A Memoir. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-212726-6.

Additional studying

  • Barnes, Richard (2004). The Who: Most R&B. Plexus Publishing. ISBN 978-0-85965-351-0.
  • Clayson, Alan (2005). Keith Moon: Instantaneous Celebration: Musings, Reminiscences and Trivia. Chrome Desires. ISBN 978-1-84240-310-5.

  • The Who Biography of Keith Moon
  • Media associated to Keith Moon at Wikimedia Commons

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