Keith Moon, one of the great drummers in the annals of rock and roll history with his explosive and innovative backbeat for the original incarnation of The Who, died 35 years ago today on September 7, 1978 of a prescription drug overdose.
For Moon, it ended a life that was filled with what was basically a boilerplate for the excess that was surrounded by a glorious sense of attitudinal debauchery. Moon’s sex and wanton times, alcohol imbibing and drug ingesting manifested to the point of no return, was also filled with destructive behavior that included decimating hotel rooms and basically walking around and presenting himself and the world with an outgoing personality that definitely overshadowed the classic rock The Who was brewing up during his tenure with the band, but never surpassed it. Ultimately, it metaphorically caramelized and solidified an existence, albeit brief, of a man rightfully and ever so perceptively known affectionately as “Moon the Loon.”
Happy 68th Birthday today to one of the greats of rock and roll, British and otherwise, a true genius and original in his craft, who not only showed the world what he could do with an electric guitar, but what could also be done with the rock song itself in the way it could be elevated to operatic mythos and all its glories, the man, the leader of The Who, guitarist Pete Townshend.
It’s kind of incredible when you think about the work of Pete Townshend and the overall underrated kind of perception he and The Who have when it comes to one quickly rattling off the names of the great bands and musicians during the arguable golden age of electric rock and roll, the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. For sure, there are a handful of Who songs that remain blended in with the all-time classics on compilations and classic rock radio and the like, but when you really take into account a band and a man who put so much craft, energy, scope, influence, and sweat and grit into the amount of work that made their bands what they are, Pete Townshend becomes a figurehead who towers high above the rest.
Lots of sonic platters of joy are ready to be served up this holiday season, and what better gift to give someone than the universal appeal of music? During this festive time, when credit card debts mount up, layaway plans become way too unmanageable, and the stress of owing money takes charge over one’s soul and wallet as the new year turns, it’s still worth the feeling one gets when one sees someone’s eyes light up when they tear the wrapping paper off a gift, positively effused with sincere delight at its contents. We all still do it, we all get by, we grumble as the new year rolls in, but it’s all worth it; gifts are cool, no doubt, gifts never go out of style, and the end result of giving someone a gift makes it all worth it. Music was no exception this year. There were some great collections for one to gnaw on, collections which run every genre and will turn even the most hard hardened curmudgeon of a Scrooge into the softest teddy bear imaginable, even if it’s only for one holiday. My holiday box set picks are below, this one goes to eleven:
Even though he’s been dead for 34 years, Keith Moon, the eccentric, devil-may-care wild man known as “Moon the Loon” who drummed for the famous British rock band The Who during their glory years, still makes news on par with his crazy persona.
The UK website The Guardian is reporting that organizers for the 2012 Olympics wanted Moon to play at the opening ceremony in London, where the games are to be held this Summer.
Unbelievably, especially in this information age we live in, nobody in those circles knew that Moon had died of a sedative overdose back in 1978.
The Who’s current manager, Bill Curbishley, told the Sunday Times in London that he was approached to see if Moon would be “available” to perform with the surviving members of The Who.