It seems difficult to believe, given that The Who’s late drummer Keith Moon (pictured above left with Pete Townshend in 1976 in a photo from TheWho.com) was one of the most demonstrative and liveliest performers of his day, but Sunday, September 7th marked the 30th anniversary of Moon’s death. Moon died in London in 1978 at the age of 31 from an overdose of a sedative that had been prescribed to curb his alcoholism.
Along with jazz great Buddy Rich, Keith Moon was easily one of the most innovative drummers that the music world has ever seen. Moon was an end-to-end soloist, and really brought the drums to the forefront. Prior to Moon’s emergence, most rock drummers were strictly timekeepers and not particularly flashy. Moon changed the game completely, starting with The Who’s debut single, “I Can’t Explain,” in 1965. Moon was obviously a huge influence on many drummers, from Alex Van Halen to Clem Burke.
Unfortunately, I never got to see Moon perform live with The Who. I was only 10 years old the last time that The Who played North America with Moon. By the time I saw The Who for the first time, at New York’s Shea Stadium in 1982, Kenney Jones was sitting in the drum seat.
It’s really a shame that Moon left us at such a young age. But Moon did leave behind a considerable musical legacy. And for that, we should be grateful.
Keith Moon R.I.P 1947-1978.
To watch Moon and The Who performing “I Can’t Explain” in 1965 on the American TV show Shindig, click below:
To watch an odd clip of Moon performing a drum solo on a transparent drum kit that is filled with water and goldfish, click below:
To watch a clip of Moon destroying his famous “Pictures of Lily” drum kit live on stage in Boston in 1968, click below:
To watch The Who mime to “My Generation” on CBS-TV’s The Smothers Brothers’ Comedy Hour in 1967 (complete with “explosive” ending that caused guest star Bette Davis to faint into the arms of Mickey Rooney backstage and also cost Pete Townshend a good bit of the hearing in his right ear), click below:
To watch Keith Moon’s last TV interview (on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America in 1978, a few months before his death), click below: