Keith Moon (August 23, 1946 – September 7, 1978) was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians. He was posthumously inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1982, becoming only the second rock drummer to be chosen.
Moon took up the drums during the early 1960s. After playing with a local band, the Beachcombers, he joined the Who in 1964 before they recorded their first single. Moon remained with the band during their rise to fame, and was quickly recognised for his drumming style, which emphasised tom-toms, cymbal crashes, and drum fills. Throughout Moon’s tenure with the Who his drum kit steadily grew in size, and along with Ginger Baker, Moon has been credited as one of the earliest rock drummers to regularly employ double bass drums in his setup. In addition to his talent as a drummer, Moon developed a reputation for smashing his kit on stage and destroying hotel rooms on tour. Moon enjoyed touring and socialising, and became bored and restless when the Who were inactive.
Moon became addicted to alcohol, particularly brandy and champagne, and acquired a reputation for decadence and dark humour; his nickname was “Moon the Loon.” While touring with the Who, on several occasions he passed out on stage and was hospitalised. By their final tour with him in 1976, and particularly during production of The Kids Are Alright and Who Are You, the drummer’s deterioration was evident. Moon died from an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug intended to treat or prevent symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
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20th Century Highlights
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- “I Can’t Explain” (1965), UK #8
- “Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere” (1965), UK #10
- “My Generation” (1965), UK #2
- My Generation (1965), UK #5
- “Substitute” (1966), UK #5
- “I’m a Boy” (1966), UK #2
- “Happy Jack” (1966), UK #3
- A Quick One (1966), UK #4
- “Pictures of Lily” (1967), UK #4
- “I Can See For Miles” (1967), UK #10
- “Pinball Wizard” (1969), UK #4
- Tommy (1969), UK #2
- Live at Leeds (1970), UK #3
- “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (1971), UK #9
- Who’s Next (1971), UK #1 (1 week)
- Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1971), UK #9
- “Join Together” (1972), UK #9
- Quadrophenia (1973), UK #2
- Odds and Sods (1974), UK #7
- The Who By Numbers (1975), UK #7
- “Squeeze Box” (1976), UK #10
- The Story of the Who (1976), UK #2
- Who Are You (1978), UK #6
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