Keith Moon

Keith Moon
One of the most unusual drummers in rock and roll, Keith Moon brought to the Who not only his musical talent, but also a lunatic energy that kept the band youthful even as its members grew in years.

Although he was born in 1947, Keith Moon always said he was a year younger than he actually was, in quite the same way that he said he drove a Lincoln into a swimming pool to celebrate his 21st birthday, or that he never had a drum lesson in his life. Moon seemed to enjoy lying nearly as much as he enjoyed being destructive. He destroyed cars, houses, hotel rooms and restaurants, creating massive publicity for the Who and establishing himself a reputation as the lunatic British drummer.

He always believed that the drummer should be front and center on the rock stage, rather than the timekeeper in the corner as most rock drummers had been previously, and his antics ensured that he was never ignored. Because his on and off stage behavior was so outrageous, little attention was paid to Moon's drumming, which was impressive enough by itself to make Moon an important figure in rock and roll.

Keith Moon died from a drug overdose at the age of 32. Some have suspected suicide, but band-mates and friends say he was so utterly reckless that it was an accident bound to happen eventually.

Moon was at the core of the Who's sound, not only for his drumming but for his constantly destructive behavior. Keith Moon not only redefined the role of the rock drummer, but personified the excesses and excitement of rock and roll as well.
  • Moon was different from most serious musicians. He never practiced, and in fact never owned a drum set in any of the places where he lived. Every time the Who rehearsed he would have to re-teach himself how to play drums, something that occasionally took him several days. However, his band-mates said that every time he relearned, he was better than he had ever been before.

  • Moon was such a terrible singer that he was banned from the band's vocal recording sessions. He had an ongoing game with Pete Townshend in which he would try to sneak into the room while the rest of the band was singing. At the end of the song "Happy Jack," Townshend can be heard shouting "I saw you!" as he notices Moon attempting once again to join in.

  • Despite the fact that Keith Moon was one of Rock's greatest drummers, the only time he played drums was with the Who. He did make one attempt at a solo album, although he ended up spending the $200,000 advance from the record company exclusively on parties and alcohol, and did very little actual work on the record. Most rock critics agree that the result, "Two Sides of the Moon," released in 1975, had very little musical value.

Keith Moon Main Page