Keith Moon

Living his life as he played the drums, Keith Moon was one of the most manic and youthfully chaotic rock stars in history. Moon grew up in Wembley, London, playing in a variety of bands after dropping out of high school. In 1963, Moon was recruited to join the Who, as the band was impressed by his fast and commanding musical style. Drummers are often nestled into the background, keeping time and keeping out of the spotlight, but this was definitely not the case with Keith Moon. His lunatic antics gave the Who their edgy image that appealed to so many fans, and his frenzied drum playing added dynamic elements to their music. He zealously took part in their tradition of destroying equipment at the end of shows, once even blowing up a bass drum with explosives on television.

Moon was also a very active composer, writing and singing many songs for the Who as well as releasing his solo album, Two Sides of the Moon. He also did session work with musicians such as Jeff Beck, and occasionally made live guest appearances with bands including Led Zeppelin and Plastic Ono Band.

Much of Keith Moon's wild behavior was intensified by drugs, alcohol, and a possible personality disorder. His destructive tendencies continued offstage, as he was known to set dynamite off inside hotel toilets and cause various other forms of mayhem wherever the Who traveled. This lifestyle unfortunately caught up with him, and Keith Moon died as a result of a sedative overdose in 1978. He had been trying to quit drinking by ingesting pills to curb his withdrawal symptoms, and the story goes that he took too many and his heart stopped. The Who continued to play with replacement drummer Kenney Jones, but there was no doubt a void where the vivacious energy of Keith Moon had once been flailing behind the drum kit.

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