The Who In Session – 1965-1966 – BBC Light Programme – BBC Radio –
The Who in session from 1965-1966 tonight. In case you missed it, today was drummer Keith Moon’s Birthday – he would have been 73 this year. But fate had different plans and the legendary Keith Moon passed from the scene back in 1978. A tragic and gut-wrenching day. One of the greatest drummers and one of the most fiercely individual players in Rock Music, Keith Moon really was the heart, soul and metronome of The Who – a role that has never been bested since his passing, I don’t think its any secret that when Keith Moon died of a drug overdose on September 7, 1978, a integral piece of Rock music history went along with him. And, to be dead honest, were never the same after that.
Moon grew up in Alperton, a suburb of Wembley, in Middlesex, and took up the drums during the early 1960s. After playing with a local band, the Beachcombers, he joined the Who in 1964 before they recorded their first single. Moon remained with the band during their rise to fame, and was quickly recognized for his drumming style, which emphasized tom-toms, cymbal crashes, and drum fills. Throughout Moon’s tenure with the Who his drum kit steadily grew in size, and along with Ginger Baker, Moon has been credited as one of the earliest rock drummers to regularly employ double bass drums in his setup. He occasionally collaborated with other musicians and later appeared in films, but considered playing in the Who his primary occupation and remained a member of the band until his death. In addition to his talent as a drummer, however, Moon developed a reputation for smashing his kit on stage and destroying hotel rooms on tour. He was fascinated by blowing up toilets with cherry bombs or dynamite, and by destroying television sets. Moon enjoyed touring and socializing, and became bored and restless when the Who were inactive. His 21st birthday party in Flint, Michigan, has been cited as a notorious example of decadent behavior by rock groups.
Moon suffered a number of setbacks during the 1970s, most notably the accidental death of chauffeur Neil Boland and the breakdown of his marriage. He became addicted to alcohol, particularly brandy and champagne, and acquired a reputation for decadence and dark humor; his nickname was “Moon the Loon”. After moving to Los Angeles with personal assistant Peter “Dougal” Butler during the mid-1970s, Moon recorded his only solo album, the poorly received Two Sides of the Moon. While touring with the Who, on several occasions he passed out on stage and was hospitalized. By their final tour with him in 1976, and particularly during production of The Kids Are Alright and Who Are You, the drummer’s deterioration was evident.
For a reminder of Keith Moon with The Who during an earlier period – here is a sampling of their BBC sessions, recorded between 1965 and 1966.
Play loud; very loud.