Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23: Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, was born on this day in 1956...

... he died on September 7, 1978 from an overdose of sedatives prescribed to him as an aid for his alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

As a boy, Keith John Moon, who lived in Wembley, London, was diagnosed as hyperactive. On his way home from school Keith often would go to Macari's music studio and take drum lessons. Moon failed his eleven plus exam and left school in 1961. He joined the English rock group, The Who in 1964 when he was 17.

He quickly gained acclaim for his exuberant and innovative drumming style and notoriety for his eccentric and often self destructive behavior, earning him the nickname "Moon the Loon."

Two Sides of the MoonGreatest Hits

He was known for dramatic, suspenseful drumming—often using fast, cascading rolls across the tom-toms, double bass drums and fierce cymbal crashes. When their live sets ended, lead guitarist Peter Townsend and Moon would engage in what they called "auto-destructive art", by destroying their equipment. Moon showed a zeal for this, kicking and smashing his drums.

During the end of their 1967 appearance performing on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Moon had explosives loaded into one of his kit's two bass drums. During the finale of "My Generation", he kicked the other drum off the riser and then set off the charge, with the intensity of the explosion surprising even himself. He singed Townshend's hair and embedded a piece of cymbal in his own arm.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has called him one of the greatest of all rock and roll drummers of all time.


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