KEITH MOON

KEITH MOON

 

Basic Background Info

 
Birth: August 23, 1947 - September 7, 1978
Location: Wembley, London, England
Band: The Who
Genres: Rock
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician
Links:  
 
 

Biography

 
 
"He was the most generous, the most mean, he was the funniest...he could be the most unfunny, everything—the most loving, the most hateful...Everything about him was extreme." -Roger Daltrey.

A hyperactive child, Keith John Moon struggled to focus in school as a child, but excelled at music. Keith Moon first played the bugle and the trumpet, and he played with the Sea Cadet Corps when he was twelve. Keith Moon quickly abandoned the bugle and the trumpet in favor of the drums. Keith Moon took lessons from Carlo Little and then joined his first band, The Escorts, before switching to play for London cover band The Beachcombers for a year and a half. In his early career, Keith Moon’s playing reflected American surf rock and R&B, although he played louder and faster than any of his contemporaries.

In April 1964, Keith Moon joined Roger Daltry, Pete Townsend, and John Entwhistle of The Who. The Who had employed a session drummer following their previous drummer’s absence. During a performance, Keith Moon jumped up on stage in a ridiculous orange suit and proclaimed that he could play the drums much better than the session drummer. And he was right.

Shortly after joining The Who, Keith Moon started playing a double bass kit, further developing his signature sound. Keith Moon’s role in The Who was front and center, unusual for a drummer at the time. Keith Moon effectively turned the drums into a lead instrument. Accelerating drum rolls and cymbal smashes led the rest of the bad and were complimented by Townsend’s strong chords.

Keith Moon also frequently wrote music for the band and occasionally contributed vocals as well. Keith Moon composed I Need You, Cobwebs and Strange, The City, Dogs Part Two, Wasp Man, Girl’s Eyes, The Ox, and Tommy’s Holiday Camp. Keith sang on A Quick One, Armenia City in the Sky, Bell Boy, Pictures of Lily, Instant Party Mixture, Bucket T, and Barbara Ann.

In addition to their unique sound, The Who also blazed frontiers elaborately destroying their equipment on stage. Keith Moon, in particular, zealously demolished his drums, even going so far as to fill them with explosives and water on occasion. Keith Moon’s destruction was not limited to just his equipment, however. He regularly obliterated hotel rooms and various accounts exist of him driving a car into a hotel pool.

Although Keith Moon predominantly performed with The Who, he occasionally worked on minor side projects, both in music and film. In 1966, Keith Moon recorded Beck’s Bolero with Jeff Beck, Nicky Hopkins, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. During Keith Moon’s cameo appearance in Frank Zappa’s film 200 Motels, he is dressed in drag as a nun. On his solo 1975 album, Two Sides of the Moon, Keith Moon sang pop covers while other artists, including Ringo Starr and Jim Keltner, did most of the drumming. Keith Moon also performed as Uncle Ernie in Ken Russell’s version of Tommy in 1975.

Unfortunately, Keith Moon’s destructive behavior extended beyond drum kits and hotel rooms to his own life. Keith Moon’s hard-partying legend is full of tales of passing out during performances and spending advances on alcohol and drugs. On September 6, 1978, Keith Moon attended a preview of The Buddy Holly Story as Paul McCartney’s guest. Early the next morning, Keith Moon died of an overdose from Heminevrin, a medication to decrease alcohol dependence. 

Although The Who performed with several drummers following Keith Moon’s death, the band has never been the same since. A significant portion of their charisma and flair was lost forever with the death of Keith Moon.
 
 

Discography

 
 
Album Year Album Name Album Band
1965 Instant Party The Who
1965 Ready Steady Who EP The Who
1965 Who Sings My Generation The Who
1966 Quick One (Happy Jack) The Who
1967 Happy Jack The Who
1967 Magical Mystery Tour The Beatles
1967 Who Sell Out The Who
1968 Direct Hits The Who
1968 Magic Bus The Who
1968 Truth Jeff Beck
1969 Tommy, Pt. 1 The Who
1969 Tommy The Who
1970 Backtrack 14 The Who
1970 Backtrack 1 The Who
1970 Backtrack 2 The Who
1970 Backtrack 3 The Who
1970 Backtrack 4 The Who
1970 Backtrack 5 The Who
1970 Greatest Rock Sensation The Who
1970 Live at Leeds The Who
1971 Golden Double Album The Who
1971 Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy The Who
1971 Smash Your Head Against the Wall John Entwistle
1971 Smiling Men with Bad Reputations Mike Heron
1971 Who Did It (Withdrawn) The Who
1971 Who's Next The Who
1972 Hands of Jack the Ripper Screaming Lord Sutch
1972 Some Time in New York City/Live Jam John Lennon
1972 Tommy, Pt. 2 The Who
1972 Whistle Rymes John Entwistle
1973 Pale Horse Dave Carlsen
1973 Perfect Collection The Who
1973 Quadrophenia The Who
1974 Magic Bus/My Generation The Who
1974 Odds & Sods The Who
1974 Pussy Cats Nilsson
1974 Quick One (Happy Jack)/The Who Sell Out The Who
1974 Valentine Roy Harper
1975 Best of 1964-1974 The Who
1975 Flash Fearless Vs. the Zorg Women, Pts. 5 & 6 Various Artists
1975 Tommy Original Soundtrack
1975 Two Sides of the Moon Keith Moon
1975 Who by Numbers The Who
1976 20th Anniversary of Rock N' Roll Bo Diddley
1976 All This and World War II Original Soundtrack
1976 Story of the Who The Who
1978 Who Are You The Who
1979 Kids Are Alright The Who
1979 Quadrophenia Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
1980 Who Are You/Live at Leeds The Who
1981 Face Dances The Who
1981 Filling in the Spaces The Who
1982 Hooligans The Who
1982 Live at Leeds/Who Are You The Who
1982 Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy/Who by Numbers The Who
1982 Phases The Who
1982 Tommy [Video] The Who
1982 Who's Next/Who by Numbers The Who
1983 Rarities, Vol. 1: 1966-1968 The Who
1983 Rarities, Vol. 2: 1970-1973 The Who
1983 Who's Greatest Hits The Who
1985 Who The Who
1991 Beckology Jeff Beck
1992 Monterey International Pop Festival Box Set Various Artists
1992 Onobox Yoko Ono
1993 Quadrophenia Original Soundtrack
1993 Talkin' 'Bout Their Generation The Who
1994 Rarities 1966-1972, Vol. 1-2 The Who
1995 Live at Leeds The Who
1996 Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 The Who
1996 Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus The Rolling Stones
1996 Who Are You The Who
1998 100% British Mod Various Artists
1999 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection The Who
2000 BBC Sessions The Who
2001 Live at Leeds The Who
2001 Who's Next The Who
2002 My Generation The Who
2002 Ultimate Collection The Who
2003 Murder in the Graveyard Screaming Lord Sutch
2003 Who's Next The Who
2004 Quick One (Happy Jack) The Who
2006 Two Sides of the Moon Keith Moon
2006 I'm a Boy The Who
2007 View from a Backstage Pass The Who
2007 The Classic Interviews Keith Moon
2008 The Unrecorded Stan Kenton Stan Kenton
2008 My Generation The Who
2008 Di-Rect Doet Tommy Di-Rect
2008 Back to Now Labelle
2008 At Kilburn 1977 The Who
2009 Greatest Hits The Who
2010 Greatest Hits Live The Who
2010 Greatest Hits& More The Who
2012 My Generation (Universal Box Set) The Who
2012 Live at Hull 1970 The Who
2013 The RCA Albums Collection Harry Nilson
2013 The Lowdown The Who
2014 Quadrophenia: Live in London The Who
 

Noise

 
 
  • In January of 1970, some raucous pub-goers attacked Moon’s car. When his friend, bodyguard, and driver, Neil Boland, exited the car to quell the trouble, he was run over and killed. Moon was completely cleared off any wrongdoing, but the incident haunted him.
  • Keith joined Led Zeppelin on stage for an encore performance at the Los Angeles Forum in June 1977, drumming alongside John Bonham.
  • Keith married his pregnant girlfriend, model Kim Kerrigan, in March of 1966. They divorced in 1975, and Keith later dated Swedish model Annette Walter-Lax. Kim was killed in a car accident in August of 2006.
 

Instruments of Choice

 
 

Drums

Drums: Premier, Ludwig
Cymbals: Paiste
Hardware: Premier
Heads: Remo
Electronics:  
Percussion:  
Sticks: Premier
 
 

Pics & Clips