The Who is a legendary British rock band that has been rocking the music world since the 1960s. With a sound that blended rock, pop, and experimental elements, the band became one of the most influential and beloved bands of the era. But, who played drums for The Who?
Many people may know that Keith Moon was the original drummer for The Who, but did you know that he was replaced by another talented drummer after his death in 1978? That’s right, Kenney Jones took over the drumming duties for the band and helped them continue to create some of the most iconic rock music of all time. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the life and career of Kenney Jones and how he became the drummer for one of the greatest rock bands of all time. So, get ready to rock as we dive into the world of The Who and discover who played drums for this legendary band.
The Who is a British rock band that was formed in 1964. The original members of the band were Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. Moon was the drummer for the band and is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. He was known for his energetic and creative drumming style, which was a key part of the band’s sound. Moon played drums for The Who until his death in 1978, and he was replaced by Kenney Jones. Despite his relatively short time with the band, Moon’s contributions to The Who’s music and legacy are still remembered and celebrated today.
The Who and Their Drummers
The Origins of The Who
The Who was formed in 1964 in Shepherd’s Bush, London, by Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon. The band began as a group of schoolmates who played music together, with Townshend playing guitar and Daltrey on vocals. Entwistle joined on bass, and Moon, who was known for his eccentric and energetic drumming style, completed the lineup.
The band’s early years were marked by a series of changes and experimentation, as they honed their sound and developed their stage presence. They played small clubs and venues around London, and quickly gained a reputation as a dynamic and exciting live act.
In 1965, The Who released their first single, “Zoot Suit,” which showcased Moon’s explosive drumming style and helped establish the band’s signature sound. Over the next few years, they released several more successful singles and albums, including “My Generation” and “Tommy,” cementing their status as one of the most innovative and influential bands of the time.
Throughout their career, The Who went through several drummers, with Moon’s death in 1978 being the most significant change. Despite this, the band continued to make music and tour, with various drummers filling in for Moon. However, it was Moon’s energetic and unpredictable drumming that was such an integral part of The Who’s sound and stage presence, and his legacy continues to influence drummers and musicians today.
The Role of Drums in The Who’s Music
Drums played a crucial role in The Who’s music, as they provided the rhythmic foundation that allowed the band’s other members to create their signature sound. Keith Moon, The Who’s original drummer, was known for his energetic and dynamic style, which perfectly complemented the band’s loud and aggressive music. Moon’s playing was characterized by his use of unconventional techniques, such as playing the drums with his feet or using a variety of percussion instruments to add texture and depth to the band’s sound.
Moon’s innovative approach to drumming influenced many other musicians, and his style was a key component of The Who’s unique sound. However, Moon’s erratic behavior and frequent absences from the band due to his drug use eventually led to his dismissal in 1978.
After Moon’s departure, The Who’s remaining members, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, faced the challenge of finding a new drummer who could fill Moon’s shoes. They eventually settled on Kenney Jones, a former member of the Small Faces and the Faces, who brought a more steady and controlled approach to the drums. While Jones’s playing was not as flashy as Moon’s, he was able to provide a solid foundation for the band’s music and help them transition into a more mature and refined sound.
Overall, the role of drums in The Who’s music was crucial, and the band’s drummers played a key role in shaping their sound and identity. From Moon’s explosive and unpredictable style to Jones’s more measured approach, each drummer brought something unique to the band and helped to create some of the most iconic and influential music of the rock era.
The Drummers of The Who
Keith Moon: The Original Drummer
Keith Moon, often regarded as one of the most influential drummers in rock music history, was the original drummer for The Who. Born on August 23, 1946, in London, England, Moon began playing the drums at a young age and quickly developed a passion for music.
In 1964, Moon joined The Who, replacing their original drummer, Doug Sandom. He quickly became an integral part of the band’s sound, with his energetic and innovative drumming style, which combined elements of jazz, rock, and pop music.
Moon’s drumming style was characterized by his use of unconventional rhythms, unique fills, and his ability to create a sense of tension and release in his playing. He was known for his explosive and dynamic playing, which often featured him smashing his drum kit at the end of performances.
One of Moon’s most iconic moments as a drummer came during The Who’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. During the band’s performance of “The Who’s Tommy,” Moon destroyed his drum kit in a dramatic fashion, which became a defining moment in rock music history.
Despite his controversial behavior and struggles with substance abuse, Moon remained an important figure in The Who’s success throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He was also a major influence on many other drummers, who were drawn to his innovative style and showmanship.
Sadly, Moon’s life was cut short when he died on September 30, 1978, from an overdose of Heminevrin, a drug prescribed to treat his alcohol withdrawal symptoms. His death was a significant loss to the music world, and he continues to be remembered as one of the greatest drummers of all time.
Kenney Jones: The Next Generation
Kenney Jones, the next generation of drummers for The Who, joined the band in 1973 after the departure of their original drummer, Keith Moon. Jones was already a well-established drummer in his own right, having played with several prominent British bands in the 1960s, including the Small Faces and the Faces.
As a member of The Who, Jones brought a new level of technical proficiency and versatility to the band’s sound. He was known for his precise and powerful drumming style, which added a new dimension to the band’s music. Jones’s style was influenced by jazz and rock music, and he incorporated elements of both into his playing.
Jones’s tenure with The Who was marked by a series of successful tours and album releases, including the iconic album “Who’s Next” in 1978. Despite his contributions to the band’s success, Jones often struggled to live up to the legacy of his predecessor, Keith Moon.
One of Jones’s most memorable performances with The Who was at the 1978 Concert for Kampuchea, a charity event organized by Pink Floyd and Roger Waters to benefit victims of the Cambodian genocide. Jones’s powerful drumming during the band’s performance of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was praised by critics and fans alike.
Overall, Kenney Jones’s time with The Who was marked by his exceptional drumming skills and his ability to bring a new level of technical proficiency to the band’s sound. Although he faced challenges in living up to the legacy of his predecessor, Jones made significant contributions to the band’s success during his tenure.
Zak Starkey: The Third Drummer
Zak Starkey, the son of legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr, was the third drummer to play for The Who. He joined the band in 1994, following the departure of original drummer Keith Moon and the brief tenure of Tony Barber.
Starkey’s career with The Who was marked by his powerful and dynamic playing style, which paid homage to both Moon and original guitarist Pete Townshend. He quickly established himself as a key member of the band, and his performances on albums such as “Who’s Next” and “Endless Wire” were widely praised.
Despite his brief tenure with the band, Starkey’s contributions to The Who’s sound and legacy are significant. He continues to perform with the band to this day, making him one of the longest-serving drummers in the band’s history.
The Influence of Drummers on The Who’s Sound
The drummers of The Who have played a crucial role in shaping the band‘s sound and identity. Each drummer brought their unique style and energy to the band, influencing the music in different ways. Here are some of the ways in which the drummers of The Who impacted the band’s sound:
- Keith Moon was the first drummer of The Who and is often regarded as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Moon’s energetic and unpredictable style added a sense of chaos and excitement to the band’s music. His dynamic playing style and creative use of drum fills and cymbal crashes contributed to the band’s signature sound, which was characterized by its raw energy and explosive power.
- Zak Starkey is the son of The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, and he joined the band as the drummer in 1989. Starkey’s playing style was heavily influenced by Moon’s, and he brought his own energy and enthusiasm to the band. He played on several of The Who’s albums, including “Face Dances” and “Endless Wire,” and his powerful and dynamic playing style helped to maintain the band’s sound and legacy.
- Kenney Jones joined The Who in 1973, replacing Keith Moon after his departure from the band. Jones was a more controlled and technical drummer than Moon, and his playing style brought a sense of stability and precision to the band’s music. Despite this, Jones still brought his own energy and personality to the band, and his playing style contributed to the band’s sound during a difficult period of transition.
Overall, the drummers of The Who have played a crucial role in shaping the band‘s sound and identity. Each drummer brought their own unique style and energy to the band, influencing the music in different ways. The band’s sound has been shaped by the powerful and dynamic playing style of Keith Moon, the controlled and technical playing style of Kenney Jones, and the powerful and dynamic playing style of Zak Starkey. The drummers of The Who have left a lasting legacy on the band’s music, and their contributions continue to be celebrated by fans around the world.
The Enduring Legacy of The Who’s Drummers
The Who’s drummers have left an indelible mark on the world of rock music. Their innovative approach to drumming, along with their powerful stage presence, has influenced countless musicians over the years. In this section, we will explore the enduring legacy of The Who’s drummers and how they have contributed to the band’s iconic sound.
The Influence of Keith Moon
Keith Moon, The Who’s original drummer, was a pioneer of rock drumming. His unique style, characterized by his explosive energy and innovative use of drumming techniques, set a new standard for rock drumming. Moon’s dynamic and unpredictable style added a sense of excitement and unpredictability to The Who’s live performances, making him a key factor in the band’s early success.
Moon’s influence on rock drumming cannot be overstated. His creative use of drumming techniques, such as his famous “Moon-twin” bass drum pattern, inspired countless drummers to push the boundaries of rock drumming. Even today, Moon’s legacy continues to be felt in the world of rock music, with many drummers citing him as a major influence on their own playing.
The Impact of John Entwistle
John Entwistle, known as “The Ox,” was The Who’s bass guitarist and second drummer. In addition to his impressive bass playing, Entwistle was also a skilled drummer, and his contributions to The Who’s sound were significant.
Entwistle’s drumming style was characterized by his use of heavy bass drums and his innovative approach to songwriting. He wrote many of The Who’s most famous songs, including “My Generation” and “Boris the Spider,” and his drumming style helped to shape the band’s unique sound.
Entwistle’s influence on rock music extends beyond his work with The Who. His innovative approach to songwriting and his use of multiple instruments in his compositions have inspired countless musicians over the years.
The Legacy of Kenney Jones
Kenney Jones replaced Keith Moon after his death in 1978 and remained The Who’s drummer until the band’s final album, Endless Wire, in 2006. Jones’s drumming style was markedly different from Moon’s, but he brought his own unique style and energy to the band.
Jones’s drumming style was characterized by his precise and technical approach to drumming. He brought a sense of discipline and control to The Who’s sound, which allowed the band to explore new directions in their music.
Despite the challenges of following in the footsteps of such an iconic drummer as Keith Moon, Jones made his mark on The Who’s sound and contributed to the band’s enduring legacy.
In conclusion, The Who’s drummers have played a crucial role in the band’s success and have left an enduring legacy on rock music. From Keith Moon’s innovative approach to rock drumming to John Entwistle’s innovative songwriting and Kenney Jones’s precise and technical style, The Who’s drummers have contributed to the band’s unique sound and continue to inspire musicians today.
The Impact of Drummers on The Who’s Music
Drummers have played a crucial role in The Who’s music, providing the rhythmic foundation that has allowed the band’s guitarists and singers to shine. From the early days of Keith Moon to the present-day work of Zak Starkey, each drummer has brought their own unique style and energy to the band, influencing the sound and direction of The Who’s music.
One of the key contributions of drummers to The Who’s music is their ability to create a sense of momentum and drive. From the opening beats of “My Generation” to the propulsive grooves of “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” The Who’s drummers have been responsible for driving the songs forward and keeping the audience engaged. Their powerful drumming style has been a hallmark of the band’s sound, giving their music a sense of power and urgency that has resonated with audiences for decades.
In addition to their rhythmic contributions, The Who’s drummers have also played a significant role in shaping the band‘s musical direction. Each drummer has brought their own unique influences and ideas to the band, contributing to the development of new sounds and styles. For example, Keith Moon’s love of jazz and avant-garde music influenced the band’s experimentation with unconventional song structures and instrumentation, while Zak Starkey’s background in punk and rock has brought a more aggressive edge to the band’s music.
The drummers of The Who have also played a key role in defining the band’s image and identity. From Keith Moon’s flamboyant stage presence to Zak Starkey’s more understated style, each drummer has brought their own personality to the band, contributing to the development of their unique sound and image. This has helped to establish The Who as one of the most iconic and enduring bands in rock history, with a sound and style that continues to inspire new generations of musicians and fans.
Overall, the impact of drummers on The Who’s music cannot be overstated. From providing the rhythmic foundation that has allowed the band’s other members to shine to influencing the development of new sounds and styles, The Who’s drummers have played a crucial role in shaping the band‘s sound and identity. Whether you’re a fan of Keith Moon’s explosive energy or Zak Starkey’s more restrained style, there’s no denying the impact that drummers have had on The Who’s music.
The Future of The Who’s Drumming Tradition
With the passing of Keith Moon and the departure of Kenney Jones, the future of The Who’s drumming tradition was uncertain. However, the band continued to evolve and adapt, bringing in new drummers to carry on the legacy.
One of the most notable drummers to join The Who was Zak Starkey, son of the legendary Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. Starkey joined the band in 1994 and has been a consistent presence behind the drums ever since. He has brought his own unique style and energy to the band, while also paying homage to the legacy of Moon and Jones.
Another drummer who has played a significant role in The Who’s drumming tradition is Pete Townshend’s younger brother, Simon Townshend. Simon has played with the band on numerous occasions, filling in for Starkey when he was unavailable. He has also collaborated with Pete on various projects, including the musical “The Boy Who Heard Music.”
As The Who continues to tour and perform, it is clear that the band’s drumming tradition will continue to evolve and adapt. With new drummers like Starkey and Simon Townshend, as well as up-and-coming talent, the future of The Who’s drumming tradition is bright and full of potential.
It is important to note that The Who has always been about much more than just the drumming. The band’s music and message have always been at the forefront, and the drumming has been a vital part of that. As the band moves forward, it will be interesting to see how the drumming tradition continues to evolve and how it will be passed down to future generations.
1. Who played drums for The Who?
The drummer for The Who is Keith Moon. He was a founding member of the band and played with them from 1964 until his death in 1978. Moon was known for his energetic and unpredictable drumming style, which was a key part of The Who’s sound.
2. What instruments did Keith Moon play?
Keith Moon played the drums, but he was also known to play other instruments on occasion. He played the piano on several of The Who’s songs, including “Baba O’Riley” and “Pictures of Lily.” He also played the guitar on some of their songs, such as “The Kids Are Alright.”
3. How did Keith Moon die?
Keith Moon died on September 7, 1978, at the age of 32. The official cause of death was a drug overdose, but it was later determined that he had also suffered from pneumonia. Moon had a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and his death was a tragic end to a brilliant career.
4. Who replaced Keith Moon as The Who’s drummer?
After Keith Moon’s death, The Who hired Kenney Jones to be their new drummer. Jones had previously played with the Small Faces and the Faces, and he joined The Who in 1979. He played with the band until their initial breakup in 1982, and he briefly reunited with them for a tour in 1989.