Arguably the greatest rock drummer of all time, Keith Moon had a talent that was surpassed only by his penchant for mischief and mayhem. Born Keith John Moon on August 23, 1946, but famously nicknamed "Moon the Loon," he would have been 65 today had he not succumbed on September 7, 1978, to an accidental overdose of a sedative prescribed to wean him off his alcohol addiction.
bio flick singer Roger Daltrey's supposedly producing for release next
year, have become the stuff of
legend over the years. His propensity for destruction -- he had a remarkable flair for
explosives, resulting in the destruction of countless hotel toilets as
well as his drum kits -- as well as acts of sheer recklessness -- he was
said to have driven a car into a swimming pool on the occasion of his
21st birthday, and he once made a grand entrance into a backstage
dressing room by digging his way through the ceiling above it -- helped
heighten his wacky reputation. His tendency to pose in a variety of
guises, be it in drag, as a Nazi officer, or in nothing at all, made for
some indelible images that still seem shocking today.
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Attempting to escape a crowd of onlookers outside a local pub in 1970, he allegedly jumped into the driver's seat of his Bentley and ran down his chauffeur, Neil Boland, resulting in his driver's death. Throughout the '70s, his health was frequently suspect as well. After a concert at the old Miami Baseball Stadium, he was taken to a local hospital, where he remained for several days. But that was nothing compared to what transpired at a gig at San Francisco's Cow Palace in 1973 when, after digesting a large quantity of horse tranquilizers and brandy, he passed out at his drum kit, forcing Townshend and company to recruit a substitute drummer from the crowd in order to finish the gig.
• It was Moon who gave Led Zeppelin its name, after he famously suggested that a proposed supergroup featuring him, Who bassist John Entwistle, and Jimmy Page would go over like a "lead zeppelin." Page retained the moniker, changing the "lead" to "led."
• Moon did more than merely drum for the band, although his slashing style helped define the Who's style. His was the lead voice on such tracks as "Bell Boy" from the album Quadrophenia, and he also sang high harmonies on "Pictures of Lily." Although it's widely believed he sang "Tommy's Holiday Camp" on Tommy, it's actually Townshend singing lead, although Moon did perform the song live and in the film of the same name.
• Moon might have become a prodigious actor. He played a nun in Frank Zappa's infamous film 200 Motels and acted a straight role as drummer J.D. Clover in the film That'll Be the Day and its sequel, Stardust.
• Moon died in the same London flat where Mamas and Papas singer Cass Elliot had succumbed to a heart attack four years earlier.
• The Who's final album prior to Moon's passing was Who Are You, released three weeks before his death. On the cover, he's pictured seated sitting backward in a chair that has the words "Not to be taken away" printed on its support. Sadly, those words weren't heeded.