An English drummer for the rock band the Who, Keith Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was a member of the band.
He was well-known for his distinctive playing technique, as well as his outlandish and frequently destructive behavior, including his use of drugs and alcohol.
Keith John Moon was born to Alfred Charles (Alf) and Kathleen Winifred (Kit) Moon on 23 August 1946 at Central Middlesex Hospital in northwest London, and grew up in Wembley.
He was hyperactive as a youngster, with a lively imagination and a particular affinity for The Goon Show and music. Moon attended Alperton Secondary Modern School after failing his eleven-plus exam, which barred him from joining a grammar school.
According to a report written by his art teacher: “Artistically sluggish. Idiotic in other respects”. His music teacher observed that Moon “has the remarkable aptitude, but must guard against an inclination to show off.”
Originally intending to play bugle in his local Sea Cadet Corps band at the age of twelve, Moon found the instrument to be too challenging and switched to drums instead.
Practical jokes and home science kits were two of his favorite pastimes. Moon would frequently visit Macari’s Music Studio on Ealing Road, where he learned the fundamentals of drumming, on his way home from school.
He left school at age fourteen, around Easter in 1961. As a result of his time at Harrow Technical College, Moon earned enough money to acquire his first drum set.
Life in The Here and Now
Kerrigan met Keith Moon in the local Bournemouth bar Le Disque a Go! Go! after hearing about The Who from her job with the Dawn Academy. In the early months of 1965, she began seeing Moon. Moon was afraid of her father because he was “extremely sociable, very extrovert, he was a force to be reckoned with,” she said.
Kerrigan learned she was pregnant with Moon’s child toward the end of 1965.
On 17 March 1966, she married Moon in Brent Registry Office, and their daughter Amanda (“Mandy”) was born on 12 July of that year.
When Moon’s wife received compliments about her looks from others, he became angry and cruel, demanding that she end her modeling career and take up Vidal Sassoon’s own modeling career, which he refused to allow her to continue.
As Keith tried to hack down the door with a knife on one occasion, Kim hid in the toilet while he tried to do the same on another occasion, after she met an agent from Paul Raymond and received his business card out of politeness. Despite this, Moon maintained that he was still in love with his wife.
The Cause of Death
During the second half of 1978, Harry Nilsson rented Flat 12 from Moon at 9, Curzon Place (later Curzon Square) Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London.
Nilsson was apprehensive about renting the flat to Moon because he believed it was cursed after Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas died there four years earlier. Townshend, on the other hand, assured him that “lightning wouldn’t strike the same location twice”.
Moon was taken Heminevrin (clomethiazole, a sedative) to treat his alcohol withdrawal symptoms after he moved into his new home. Because of his apprehension about psychiatric institutions, he opted to get sober at home.
Unsupervised detoxification with clomethiazole is not recommended due to the drug’s high propensity for addiction, tolerance-inducing properties, and the possibility of mortality when used in conjunction with alcoholic beverages.
Moon’s doctor, Geoffrey Dymond, prescribed the medication, unknowing of Moon’s lifestyle. It wasn’t long until Dymond gave him a bottle of 100 tablets, telling him to take them as needed, but not more than three a day.
According to roadie Dave “Cy” Langston, Moon was having problems playing the drums by September 1978. At some point during The Kids Are Alright’s overdubbing, Moon became “more and more sluggish, he couldn’t even grip the drum stick.”
At a screening of The Buddy Holly Story on September 6, Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney invited Moon and Walter-Lax to join them. Moon and Walter-Lax returned to their Covent Garden apartment after dinner with the McCartneys at Peppermint Park.
As he was watching a movie (The Abominable Dr. Phibes), he requested steak and eggs from Walter-Lax. Upon her protest, Moon retorted, “You can fuck off!” His final words were these.
Clomethiazole pills were then taken by Moon. Walter-Lax found him dead the next day when she went to check on him.
In the afternoon, Curbishley called the flat, and Dymond told him the news that Moon was missing. Townshend was notified by Curbishley, and the rest of the band was informed as well.
Entwistle was midway through an interview with French media when he received a phone call announcing the death of Keith Moon. Despite his best efforts to end the conversation diplomatically, he burst into tears when the interviewer inquired about the Who’s future intentions.
Moon died not long after the publication of Who Are You, the last album she had worked on. The words “Not to be taken away” are written on the back of the chair he is straddling on the album cover to hide his weight gain.
Moon had 32 clomethiazole pills in his system, according to police. At the time of his death, he had only digested six of the other 26.
According to Max Glatt, a world-renowned expert on alcoholism, Moon was never supposed to be given the medication.
Golders Green Crematorium in London cremated Moon on September 13, 1978, and dispersed his ashes in its Gardens of Remembrance.