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Keith Moon: Most Influential and Best Drummer of All Time

Updated on July 22, 2012

Keith Moon


Best Drummer of All Time

Keith John Moon was the drummer for The Who. Known as Moon the Loon, he gained significant and deserved notoriety for his highly energetic, innovative drumming style, his self-destructive behavior, and his humor. Moon joined Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and John Entwistle as a member of The Who in 1964. He played on all albums and singles from their debut up until the album Who are You which was released weeks before Keith Moon died in 1978.

"WE lived the life with Keith Moon. It was all Spinal Tap magnified a thousand times."

Roger Daltrey

Keith Moon's Influence on Drumming

Today, drumming is an important part of rock, more than just a beating sound for keeping time within music, a human metronome. That’s largely due to Keith Moon. His dramatic, powerful drumming is known for its busy, blazing fast technique and ambidextrous double bass drum work, but it was really far, far more than technical genius. His innovative drumming transformed the instrument into more than it had ever been considered, an instrument that deserved its own attention. Roger Daltrey compared his drumming to the sound of a rocket taking off; Pete Townshend claimed that Moon’s drumming was faster than a machine gun. Either way, Keith Moon clearly changed drumming, how it is perceived, and how it’s used within rock bands. For this and so many other reasons, Keith moon is the father of rock drumming, a godfather of punk, and one of the most influential rock artists in history. Listen to The Who, and you'll see why!

"I told people I was a drummer before I even had a set. I was a mental drummer."

Keith Moon

Keith Moon Drumming Style

Keith Moon at Work

Keith Moon Competition

Competition is one of the most encouraging and inspirational forces in the world. In sports, competition is king, but its force is often ignored in music. We've all heard of Ali versus Frazier, the Dodgers versus the Yankees, and the Celtics versus the Lakers. What about Moon versus Entwistle, Townshend, and Daltrey? Each of the members of The Who were competitive with each other, and that resulted in a dynamic force that couldn't be replicated. Add four parts of genius, four parts of competition, mass ingenuity, attitude, live performances unrivaled by anybody before or since, and flare, and if you’re very lucky, you end up with The Who. That truly wouldn't have been possible without any one of the four members. Keith Moon, however, was the final piece of the genius puzzle, the piece that synergistically energized The Who and made it what it was.

Keith Moon's Drum Explodes!

Keith Moon's Legacy

Moon's legacy is undeniable and continues to garner awards and praise. He is widely considered one of the top three drummers of all time, and many consider him the best drummer of all time. Countless rock drummers, often the best drummers of all time, have cited Moon as an influence. It really shouldn't end there though. Moon really influenced rock music more than he influenced drumming. His drumming and subsequent influence on The Who resulted in an entirely new sound and even an attitude. Perhaps it was punk. Perhaps it was hard rock. Maybe it was rhythm and blues. Regardless, Moon’s influence resulted in an entirely unique sound, one that has often been mimicked and idolized but never replicated.

Long live rock!

Two Sides of the Moon

Keith Moon - Two Sides of the Moon

Keith Moon had only one solo album, Two Sides of the Moon. Oddly enough, the album showcased Moon's singing rather than his amazing drumming. In fact, Keith Moon drummed on only three tracks. Unfortunately, Moon wasn't much of a singer, and the reviews were consistently very poor.

Keith utilized an impressive cast of musicians. Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, David Bowie, Klaus Voorman, Harry Nilsson, Spencer Davis, John Sebastian, Jay Ferguson, and countless other musicians donated their time and talents to the project. Unfortunately, talent didn't save the album, and it really took a beating from both critics and the public. To be fair, Two Sides of the Moon does have some redeeming moments, but they're few and far between.

Unfortunately, this album is really reserved for true Who enthusiasts, collectors, and Keith Moon fans.

Keith Moon Goldfish

Keith Moon Comments

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    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 5 years ago from Arizona

      I couldn't agree more. I really think, much like some dancers, Moon was a lyrical drummer rather than a rhythmical drummer. That is, he drummed based on what the song was saying and not to keep the beat. That made him totally unique.

    • Mr Deltoid 1966 profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Nice Hub, Moon was the best ever, even at the end when he himself said he was still the "Best Keith Moon Type Drummer Around"

      The Who were a perfect group.

    • arizonataylor profile image

      arizonataylor 7 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks. I'm certainly a hooligan (wholigan)!

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 7 years ago from California

      This is an awesome hub about Keith Moon, certainly one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock. You certainly love The Who, don't you? Later!

    • Silver Poet profile image

      Silver Poet 7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Some people are naturally gifted. I understand his notion of being a drummer before he even owned a set of drums. His gift was already inherent and apparent. (Hmm. Beginnings of a poem?) :)

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 7 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Great hub!!

      I'm not so qualified to say who is or isn't the greatest rock n roll drummer - but it's perfectly obvious to me that Keith Moon was a cut about the rest.


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