The world of rock music was shocked and saddened when news broke of the sudden death of The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, in 1978. Moon was known for his wild and unpredictable performances, as well as his eccentric personality, and his death at the age of 32 left a void in the band that would never be filled. In this article, we will explore what happened to Keith Moon and how his untimely death impacted the band and the music industry as a whole.
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The Who’s Drummer: Keith Moon
Keith Moon’s Early Life and Career
Keith Moon, born on August 23, 1946, in London, England, was the beloved drummer of the legendary rock band The Who. Moon’s early life was marked by a passion for music and a talent for drumming that would eventually lead him to become one of the most influential drummers in rock history.
Keith Moon’s early life and upbringing
Keith Moon was born in London’s East End, the only child of Albert and Helen Moon. His father worked as a sheet metal worker, while his mother was a housewife. Moon’s parents were avid fans of jazz and big band music, which would later influence his own musical tastes. As a child, Moon was fascinated by the drums and often listened to recordings of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.
Keith Moon’s introduction to music and drumming
Moon’s passion for music began at a young age, and he received his first drum kit at the age of 14. He was largely self-taught, but he also took lessons from professional drummers. He played in various bands throughout his teenage years, including a band called The Escorts, which he formed with his childhood friend, John Entwistle.
Keith Moon’s early bands and performances
Moon’s career as a drummer took off when he joined The Who in 1964. The band, which was originally called The High Numbers, had been struggling to find success, but Moon’s energetic and innovative drumming style helped to elevate their sound. His style was characterized by his use of unconventional drumming techniques, such as playing the drums with his hands instead of sticks, and his ability to create a powerful and dynamic sound that perfectly complemented the band’s music.
In 1965, The Who released their debut album, “My Generation,” which featured Moon’s innovative drumming style. The album was a critical success, and it helped to establish The Who as one of the most exciting and influential bands of the 1960s. Moon’s performances with The Who were legendary, and he quickly became known as one of the most talented and dynamic drummers in the world of rock music.
Keith Moon’s Time with The Who
Keith Moon’s time with The Who was marked by his incredible talent as a drummer, his contributions to the band’s sound and performances, and his iconic drum solos and antics.
Keith Moon’s audition for The Who
Keith Moon’s audition for The Who took place in 1964, when he was just 17 years old. Moon had been playing the drums for only a year, but his natural talent and passion for music impressed the band’s manager, who invited him to audition. Moon’s audition was held at the flat of the band’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, where he played along to a number of The Who’s songs. Townshend was impressed by Moon’s energy and enthusiasm, and he was soon offered the job as the band’s drummer.
Keith Moon’s contributions to The Who’s sound and performances
As The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon played a crucial role in shaping the band’s sound and stage presence. His powerful and dynamic drumming style added a new dimension to the band’s music, and his energetic performances helped to create a sense of excitement and dynamism on stage. Moon’s unique approach to drumming was influenced by jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, and he often incorporated unconventional rhythms and techniques into his playing.
One of Moon’s most famous contributions to The Who’s sound was his use of a “motorhead” bass drum beat, which became a staple of the band’s music. This technique involved playing the bass drum on every beat, creating a powerful and driving rhythm that helped to define The Who’s sound. Moon also used a variety of other percussion instruments, such as tambourines and maracas, to add texture and depth to the band’s music.
Keith Moon’s famous drum solos and antics
Keith Moon was known for his spectacular drum solos, which often featured elaborate and unconventional techniques. One of his most famous solos was during the band’s performance of “The Real Me” at the Concert for Bangla Desh in 1971. During this solo, Moon played a series of complex and syncopated rhythms, while also incorporating elements of jazz and classical music.
In addition to his musical talent, Keith Moon was also known for his wild and unpredictable antics on stage. He was known for smashing his drum kit at the end of each show, and he often engaged in playful pranks and stunts during performances. Moon’s onstage energy and charisma helped to make The Who one of the most popular and influential bands of the 1960s and 1970s.
Keith Moon’s Tragic Death
On September 7, 1978, The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, passed away at the young age of 31. His death was a shock to the music industry and his fans, as Moon was known for his energetic and dynamic drumming style that contributed significantly to The Who’s sound.
Keith Moon had been struggling with health issues and substance abuse for several years. He had a history of alcohol and drug addiction, which took a toll on his physical and mental health. In the months leading up to his death, Moon’s health had declined significantly, and he had become increasingly erratic in his behavior.
On the night of September 6, 1978, Moon attended a party at his flat in London. He drank heavily and took a combination of prescription drugs, including clomazepam and methaqualone. The next morning, his body was discovered by his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, who had returned to the flat. Moon had died in his sleep due to a drug overdose, with the clomazepam and methaqualone combining to cause a sedative effect that proved fatal.
Moon’s death was a tragic loss for the music industry, and it marked the end of an era for The Who. He had been a vital part of the band’s sound and energy, and his contributions to their music cannot be overstated. Moon’s legacy lives on through his recordings and the memories of those who knew and loved him.
The Aftermath of Keith Moon’s Death
The death of Keith Moon on September 7, 1978, left The Who and the music industry in shock. His untimely demise marked the end of an era, and it took a toll on the band’s morale and future. In the aftermath of Keith Moon’s death, the band had to come to terms with their loss, search for a new drummer, and pay tribute to their fallen member.
The impact of Keith Moon’s death on The Who and the music industry
Keith Moon’s death was a significant blow to The Who, as he was an integral part of the band’s sound and image. His unique drumming style and energetic stage presence had set the tone for The Who’s live performances, and his absence left a void that could not be easily filled. The band had to rethink their future and come to terms with the fact that they would have to continue without their original drummer.
The music industry also felt the impact of Keith Moon’s death. He was considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, and his contributions to rock music were immeasurable. His untimely demise marked the end of an era, and it sent shockwaves through the music industry. Many artists and bands paid tribute to Keith Moon, acknowledging his influence on their music and the music industry as a whole.
The search for a new drummer
After Keith Moon’s death, The Who had to find a new drummer to replace him. The band auditioned several drummers, but none of them seemed to fit the bill. They needed someone who could replicate Keith Moon’s unique drumming style and bring the same energy to the stage. After several months of searching, the band finally found their new drummer, Kenney Jones, who had previously played with the Small Faces and the Faces.
Jones’s joining the band was not without controversy. Some fans felt that he could not replicate Keith Moon’s style, and that The Who would never be the same without him. However, Jones proved his worth by bringing his own unique style to the band and helping them create new music that continued to push the boundaries of rock music.
The tribute to Keith Moon
The Who paid tribute to Keith Moon by naming their next album after him. The album, “Who Are You,” was released in 1978, two months after his death. The album’s title track became one of the band’s most famous songs, and it served as a tribute to Keith Moon and his legacy.
The band also honored Keith Moon during their live performances. They often dedicated songs to him and played photographs of him on the big screen. They acknowledged his contributions to the band and his influence on their music, ensuring that his memory lived on even after his untimely demise.
In conclusion, the aftermath of Keith Moon’s death had a profound impact on The Who and the music industry. The band had to come to terms with their loss, search for a new drummer, and pay tribute to their fallen member. Despite the challenges they faced, The Who continued to create new music and honor Keith Moon’s legacy, ensuring that his memory lived on for generations to come.
Keith Moon’s Replacement: Kenney Jones
Kenney Jones’ Early Life and Career
Kenney Jones, born on June 27, 1948, in Stepney, London, was raised in a working-class family. His father, Albert Jones, was a laborer, and his mother, Elsie Jones, was a seamstress. Growing up during the post-World War II era, Jones experienced the hardships of the working class and witnessed the struggles of his parents.
Jones’ early life was marked by a strong affinity for music. He began his musical journey by playing the accordion at the age of eight. However, he quickly developed a keen interest in the drums after being mesmerized by the performances of jazz drummers like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Jones’ parents initially disapproved of his interest in drumming, fearing it would lead him astray. However, his passion for drumming prevailed, and he continued to pursue it.
As a teenager, Jones became a member of several local bands, honing his skills as a drummer. He played with various groups in and around London, including The Gassers, The Knack, and The Blackpool Showband. His dedication to music and his talent as a drummer soon earned him recognition in the local music scene. Jones’ early bands provided him with invaluable experience, enabling him to develop his stage presence and showmanship, which would later serve him well as a member of The Who.
Kenney Jones’ Time with The Who
After Keith Moon’s death, The Who faced the challenge of finding a new drummer. They eventually settled on Kenney Jones, a seasoned musician with a diverse background in drumming. Jones joined The Who in 1979, following the departure of their previous drummer, John Entwistle.
Kenney Jones’ audition and joining of The Who
Jones initially auditioned for the position of drummer in 1975, but was ultimately not selected. He was later approached by Pete Townshend, who had changed his mind about Jones’ suitability for the role. Townshend felt that Jones’ playing style was more in line with what The Who needed at the time, given their evolving sound and direction. Jones was then officially welcomed into the band, bringing with him a wealth of experience and versatility on the drums.
Kenney Jones’ contributions to The Who’s sound and performances
Jones’ drumming style differed significantly from Moon’s. While Moon was known for his energetic and explosive playing, Jones was more technical and precise. His approach allowed for a smoother transition from the hard-hitting sound of the earlier years to the more refined and mature sound of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jones’ style brought a new level of sophistication to The Who’s music, enabling them to explore more complex rhythms and harmonies.
Jones also brought a level of consistency to the band’s performances. He was a reliable presence on stage, providing a solid foundation for the rest of the band to build upon. This stability allowed the remaining members of The Who to focus on their respective instruments and contribute to the group’s overall sound.
Kenney Jones’ relationships with the other members of The Who
Despite his late arrival in the band, Jones quickly established a rapport with his fellow band members. He shared a close bond with Pete Townshend, who acted as a mentor figure during his early days with The Who. Roger Daltrey, the band’s lead vocalist, respected Jones’ musical abilities and professionalism. John Entwistle, the band’s original bassist, was initially skeptical of Jones’ addition to the band, but the two eventually developed a mutual admiration for each other’s playing.
Jones’ integration into The Who was seamless, and he quickly became an integral part of the band’s identity. Although he never fully replaced Keith Moon in the hearts of fans, he made a significant contribution to The Who’s legacy and helped the band to continue making music well into the 1980s.
Kenney Jones’ Time After The Who
After replacing Keith Moon as the drummer for The Who, Kenney Jones went on to have a successful career as a session musician and solo artist. Jones played with various artists, including George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce, and recorded with bands such as The Faces and The Small Faces.
Jones also released a solo album in 1989, titled “My Kind of People,” which featured collaborations with well-known musicians like Pete Townshend and Ronnie Wood. The album received positive reviews and showcased Jones’ versatility as a musician.
Apart from his work as a solo artist, Jones continued to be involved in the music industry as a producer and session musician. He worked on several projects, including producing the debut album for The Clash’s drummer, Topper Headon, and playing on the hit single “Money’s Too Tight (to Mention)” by The Sweet.
Jones’ legacy as The Who’s drummer is notable, as he played an essential role in the band’s transition from the Moon era to the post-Moon era. Despite the challenges of replacing such an iconic figure, Jones’ contribution to The Who’s sound and success is undeniable. His impact on the music industry as a whole is also significant, as he continued to collaborate with some of the most influential musicians of his time.
The Who’s Drumming Today
The Who’s Current Drummer: Zak Starkey
Zak Starkey, the son of the legendary drummer of The Who, Keith Moon, has taken up the mantle of drumming for the band following Moon’s untimely death in 1978. Despite the pressure of following in his father’s footsteps, Starkey has carved out a successful career as a drummer in his own right.
Zak Starkey’s Early Life and Upbringing
Zak Starkey was born on May 17, 1965, in Sheffield, England. He is the son of Keith Moon and his wife, Kim. Starkey’s parents divorced when he was young, and he spent much of his childhood with his mother in London. He had a difficult relationship with his father, who struggled with alcoholism and was often absent from his life.
Zak Starkey’s Introduction to Music and Drumming
Starkey was introduced to music at an early age by his mother, who was a singer. He began playing the drums at the age of 12 and quickly developed a passion for the instrument. He was particularly drawn to the music of The Who, which his father had played a significant role in creating.
As a teenager, Starkey would sneak into clubs and bars to watch bands play, soaking up as much knowledge as he could about the music industry. He also took drum lessons from drummers such as Jerry Shirley and Charlie Watts, both of whom were influential in his development as a musician.
Zak Starkey’s Early Bands and Performances
In the early 1980s, Starkey began playing with various bands in the London music scene. He played with a band called The Curse, which was formed by his brother, Paul. He also played with a band called The Merton Parkas, which featured future members of Blur.
In 1986, Starkey was invited to play with The Who for the first time, filling in for an injured Moon. Although he was initially nervous about playing with such a legendary band, he quickly proved himself to be a capable drummer, earning the respect of his bandmates.
In 1994, following Moon’s death, Starkey became the permanent drummer for The Who, cementing his place in rock history as the son of one of the greatest drummers of all time.
Zak Starkey’s Time with The Who
- Zak Starkey’s audition and joining of The Who
Zak Starkey, the son of legendary drummer Ringo Starr, first auditioned for The Who in 1994 after the departure of original drummer Keith Moon. Starkey was invited to play with the band for their 1996 album, “Punk Rock,” and he officially joined the band in 1997, becoming the first person to fill the drumming shoes of both The Beatles and The Who.
- Zak Starkey’s contributions to The Who’s sound and performances
Starkey’s style was influenced by both Moon and The Who’s original drummer, John Entwistle, which allowed him to seamlessly blend with the band’s classic sound. He brought a new energy to the band and brought a fresh perspective to their live performances. Starkey’s technical skill and powerful playing style brought a new dimension to The Who’s music, and his contributions have been widely praised by fans and critics alike.
- Zak Starkey’s relationships with the other members of The Who
Starkey has a close relationship with Pete Townshend, and the two have collaborated on several projects outside of The Who. Roger Daltrey has also praised Starkey’s drumming, saying that he has brought a new level of energy to the band. John Entwistle’s widow, Rachel, has said that Starkey is the closest thing to Entwistle that The Who have had since his death in 2002. Despite some initial reservations about taking over for Moon, Starkey has proven to be a valuable member of The Who, and his contributions to the band have been greatly appreciated by both fans and his fellow band members.
Zak Starkey’s Solo Career and Other Projects
Zak Starkey’s Current Projects and Collaborations
Since leaving The Who, Zak Starkey has pursued a successful solo career as a drummer, collaborating with various artists and bands across different genres. He has performed with well-known musicians such as Paul Weller, Oasis, and The Jam, showcasing his versatility and talent as a drummer.
In addition to his collaborations, Starkey has also focused on his own solo projects. He has released several albums as a solo artist, blending his unique style with elements of rock, punk, and blues. His latest album, “Songs for a Broken World,” features a mix of emotional ballads and upbeat rock tracks, highlighting his diverse musical abilities.
Furthermore, Starkey has also worked on film scores, providing the soundtrack for the film “Hope and Glory.” His musical talents have been recognized with several awards, including a Brit Award for Best British Drummer.
Zak Starkey’s Legacy and Impact on The Who and the Music Industry
Zak Starkey’s impact on The Who and the music industry is significant. As the son of the legendary drummer Keith Moon, he had big shoes to fill when he joined the band. However, his energetic and innovative drumming style helped The Who maintain their status as one of the most influential rock bands of all time.
Starkey’s contribution to The Who’s sound and style has been praised by both fans and critics. He brought a fresh perspective to the band, incorporating elements of punk and grunge into their music. His unique style added a new dimension to The Who’s sound, allowing them to evolve and adapt to changing musical trends.
In addition to his work with The Who, Starkey’s impact on the music industry is evident. He has inspired countless drummers with his dynamic and creative approach to drumming. His influence can be heard in the music of many contemporary rock bands, and his legacy as a drummer continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
Overall, Zak Starkey’s solo career and other projects have solidified his position as one of the most talented and innovative drummers of his generation. His contributions to The Who and the music industry are immeasurable, and his impact will be felt for years to come.
1. What happened to the Who’s drummer?
The Who’s drummer, Keith Moon, passed away on September 7, 1978, at the age of 32. He was found dead in his flat in London, England, due to an overdose of a prescription drug called Heminevrin, which was intended to help him cope with his alcoholism. Moon had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and his death was a tragic end to a brilliant career.
2. How did Keith Moon die?
Keith Moon died of an overdose of Heminevrin, a prescription drug that was intended to help him cope with his alcoholism. The exact cause of death was a benzodiazepine overdose, which led to respiratory failure. Moon had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and his death was a tragic end to a brilliant career.
3. Was Keith Moon married?
Keith Moon was married to his wife, Kim, from 1973 until his death in 1978. They had one child together, a daughter named Amanda. Moon was known for his eccentric personality and his love of pranks, and he was deeply loved by his fans and fellow musicians.
4. What was Keith Moon’s role in The Who?
Keith Moon was the drummer for The Who, one of the most influential rock bands of all time. He was known for his energetic and dynamic drumming style, which helped to define the band’s sound. Moon was also known for his eccentric personality and his love of pranks, and he was deeply loved by his fans and fellow musicians.
5. What was Keith Moon’s net worth at the time of his death?
At the time of his death, Keith Moon’s net worth was estimated to be around $5 million. This is equivalent to approximately $19 million in 2021. Moon’s estate was divided among his wife and daughter, and his death was a tragic end to a brilliant career.