The phenomenal drummer Keith Moon was supposed to celebrate his birthday today, but he will remain 32 years old forever.
Moon is one of Rock's most influential drummers. His influence is so dominant that even legendary drummers like John Bonham, Neil Peart, Mitch Mitchell, and others have said they were influenced by him.
So let's tell 32 facts about Keith Moon's 32 living years:
1. He was born in London on 23 August 1946 as Keith John Moon.
2. As a child he was a hyperactive boy with a well-developed imagination, who was very fond of music.
3. At the age of 12 he started playing the trumpet in the school band, but did not really connect to the instrument that was also difficult to play for him.
4. He took drum lessons from drummer Carlo Little from the band "Screaming Lord Sutch", he paid 10 shillings per lesson.
5. The first serious band of which he was a member since 1962, was a cover band called "the Beachcombers".
6. The first musical influences on Moon were of Rhythm and Blues, Surf, and Jazz. He mostly admired jazz drummer Gene Krupa, and in the beginning, tried to emulate his style.
7. In 1964 he successfully auditioned for "The Who" replacing Doug Sandom.
8. The first single he recorded with the band was "I Can't Explain". The producer brought a session player to the studio as a backup because he thought that as a new drummer Moon would not be able to deliver the goods, but Moon tossed the session player out of the studio and performed his part flawlessly.
9. Upon joining the band he immediately caused a change in the dynamics of the songs, as his rhythms used to follow the singing, instead of playing a uniform and regular rhythm synchronized with the bass guitar.
10. He had a special playing style. While the popular patterned use of a rhythm consisted of Hi-Hat, Bass Drum, and Snare, Keith built his own rhythms as he ran on all parts of the drum set with almost no fixed pattern. He made increased use of Ride and Crash at the expense of Hi-Hat.
11. Over the years his drum set has grown and numbered more and more parts.
12. He was among the first drummers to use a double bass drum, when after a conversation with drummer Ginger Baker he decided to attach two bass drums together. Arranging the drum set in this way expanded his playing abilities.
13. Unlike John Bonham and Ginger Baker, although he was a tremendous drummer he did not like to perform drum solos at shows.
14. He was not a successful singer and therefore was not present in the studio while recording the singing parts on the band's albums. Despite this, you can hear him singing songs like "Bell Boy" and "Barbara Ann" from the album "Quadrophenia".
15. It was Moon's idea to incorporate a violin in the immortal song "Baba O'riley".
16. Moon was nicknamed "Moon the Loon" among his acquaintances, due to his insane nature.
17. He was known as someone who used to destroy and dismantle his drum set at the end of the show.
18. Sometimes he filled one of the drums with water and put goldfish in it. See here:
19. Other times he even put in his drum an explosive that exploded at the end of the show. In one case this explosion caused a slight deafening of Pete Townshend. See here:
20. Moon also built up a reputation for being a particularly destructive guy after destroying hotel rooms, friends' homes, and even destroying his own home.
21. In 1970 Moon was involved in a car accident outside a pub in London, in which run over his friend Cornelius Boland to death. He was acquitted of dangerous driving but this has haunted him all his life.
22. On March 17, 1966, Moon secretly married his then-pregnant girlfriend Kim Kerrigan. Their daughter Amanda was born 4 months later.
23. Moon is partly responsible for choosing the name of "Led Zeppelin". In May 1966 he participated in the recording of Jeff Beck's "Beck's Bolero". John Entwistle, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones were also present at the studio. The recording introduced Page to the idea of forming a supergroup, but when John Entwistle heard this, he immediately said that they would fall just like a lead balloon and Keith Moon sharpened the sentence, noting that they would fall like "Lead Zeppelin".
24. In 1971 he was a guest on Frank Zappa's "200 Motels" movie. He played a nun who was afraid to die from a drug overdose.
25. In 1974 he appeared in the movie "Son of Dracula" The movie also starred Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Peter Frampton, Harry Nilsson, and more.
26. He also played David "Ernie" in the 1969 film "Tommy" based on the band's rock opera.
27. Keith played with John Bonham on the same stage at the "Led Zeppelin" performance on July 23, 1973.
28. In 1974 he released his only solo album called "Two Sides Of The Moon" inspired by the masterful "Pink Floyd" album released a year earlier.
29. This album failed commercially and Moon hardly drummed in it, he left it to Ringo Starr among others.
30. His last night in life was as a guest of Paul McCartney in the movie "Buddy Holly's Story."
31. He died in his sleep on September 7, 1978, at the age of 32, from an overdose of chlormethiazole, a drug he had taken as part of his alcohol withdrawal attempts. The death happened in the apartment he rented from singer Harry Nilsson, exactly the same apartment where Cass Elliot was found dead 4 years earlier, also at the age of 32. It was not an intentional suicide, he was just so drunk that every time he woke up he did not remember taking the pills.
32. He is ranked second on the list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time, after John Bonham who was influenced by him.