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Keith Moon in 1975
|Birth name||Keith John Moon|
23 August 1946|
7 September 1978
|Genres||Rock, art rock, hard rock, power pop|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer, actor|
|Instruments||Drums, percussion, vocals, bugle, trumpet, tuba|
|Associated acts||The Who, Plastic Ono Band, Jeff Beck Group|
Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English musician, best known for being the drummer of the English rock group The Who. He was known for his unique drumming style, and gained notoriety for his eccentric and often self-destructive behaviour. In 2011, Moon was voted the second greatest drummer in history in a Rolling Stone's '"The Best Drummers of All Time'" readers' poll. His drumming skills continue to attract praise from critics and musicians alike, 35 years after his death.
Moon grew up in Wembley, London and took up drumming in the early 1960s. After performing with local band The Beachcombers, he joined The Who in 1964, before they had recorded their first single. He stayed with the band during their rise to fame, and was quickly recognised and praised for his distinctive drumming. He occasionally collaborated with other musicians, and later made appearances on radio and film, but he considered The Who his main occupation first and foremost, and remained a member until his death. In addition to his ability as a drummer, he developed a reputation for smashing his kit on stage and for destroying hotel rooms while on tour. He had a particular interest in blowing up toilets using cherry bombs or dynamite, and destroying television sets. He enjoyed touring and socialising, and attempted to live his entire life as one long party, being especially restless during the occasions that The Who were inactive. His 21st birthday party in Flint, Michigan has become a notable example of decadent behaviour amongst rock groups.
In the 1970s, Moon suffered from a number of tragedies, notably the accidental death of his chauffeur, Neil Boland, and the breakdown of his marriage. He became increasingly addicted to drink, particularly brandy and champagne, and started to acquire a reputation for decadence and dark humour, giving him the nickname "Moon The Loon". After relocating to Los Angeles during the mid-1970s with his personal assistant, Peter "Dougal" Butler, he attempted to make his only solo album, the poorly received Two Sides of the Moon. By the time of The Who's final tours in 1976, and particularly during filming of The Kids Are Alright and recording of Who Are You, the gradual deterioration of his condition started to show, he blacked out on stage, and he was hospitalised on several occasions. Moon moved back to London in 1978, and died in September after overdosing on Heminevrin, a drug designed to help curb alcohol abuse.