The media chose to focus its attention on Peter Townshend, who wrote many of the Who's songs, and Roger Daltrey, who sang them, but the groups fans understood that drummer Keith Moon was responsible for creating fun.
Onstage and off he was a cutup, and his Moonerisms are legend. He once nailed a sign to the gateway of his home that read, "Caution - Children at Play." The children were Moon and his friends. Another time he and an accomplice surprised shoppers at a department store, when walked into a window display featuring a dining room set and ate a meal from a picnic hamper. "Basically, I'm a frustrated comedian," he once confessed.
Moon enjoyed doing all the crazy things that rock bands on the road are notorious for doing. Partying, wrecking hotel rooms, and throwing television sets out the window were high on Moon's list of fun things to do.
The last time the Who played San Francisco, Moon was unable to get the other members of the band to party with him, so he rounded up the stage crew and took over the hotel bar. By the end of the evening, Moonie had smashed everything in the bar that he could get his hands on, including most of the tables and chairs. When it was all over, his assistant laid $2,000 on the bar to cover the damages.
Born on August 23, 1947, Keith Moon was 17 years old when he joined the Who in 1964
. At that time the band was known as the High Numbers. A year later, a new management team suggested a different name for the band, which was gaining a reputation for its violent stage antics.
The Who were part of the British Invasion that took over American music charts in the 1960s. Their first single, "I Can't Explain," was released in early 1965
. The song enjoyed moderate success in the United States, but it shot up to the 10 on British charts. The Who's best known work, their rock opera "Tommy" was made into a movie in 1975. That year Moon released a solo album, "Two Sides of the Moon."
Keith Moon died in his sleep on September 7, 1978
, from a drug overdose.