Arts Beat: Happy Birthday: Keith Moon completes The Who lineup 45 years ago

April 28, 2009 by · 2 Comments 

It was 45 years ago this month that a young Keith Moon first sat behind the drum kit for a band called The High Numbers. By November 1964, the band had changed its name (back) to The Who, and it was Moon who provided the frenetic backbeat for iconic numbers from ‘My Generation’ (1965)? to ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ (1971).

In between, The Who took the bronze medal in the pantheon of great British rock groups – behind The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. Alongside singer Roger Daltrey, bassist John Entwistle and lead guitarist/songwriter Pete Townsend, Moon broke plenty of barriers (and equipment) along the way.

Moon was the first drummer that people actually watched, as opposed to many of his predecessors who kept a simple and refined backbeat. Keith Moon, or course, was neither simple nor refined; he was wild, out of control and undoubtedly one-of-a-kind. It wasn’t so much that he was a technically good drummer, rather that Moon combined an unprecedented combination of speed, spontaneity and spot-on accuracy to give The Who their own unique blend on British rock.

With The Rolling Stones, The Who moved into the 70s as headliners in stadiums and concert venues across the United States, the second home of both bands. Moon battled alcoholism and various esteem issues until his untimely death from an overdose of pills in September 1978. The previous month, the band had released its last album featuring Moon on drums, and the song title itself serves as a fitting tribute to the many personalities present in Keith Moon: ‘Who Are You.’

Posted by Nate Regan