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Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend Paperback – September 19, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380788276
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380788279
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #858,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Unlike other memorable figures of 1960s rock and roll, Keith Moon's one-dimensionally hedonistic persona presents quite a challenge to his biographer. Fletcher does a noble job, having gone to scholarly extremes to offer a thoroughly detailed portrait of the talented but self-destructive drummer for the Who. But no amount of detail can surmount the problems Moon poses as a subject. After all, Moon was a drummer; despite Fletcher's enthusiastic attempts, descriptions of drum fills quickly grow tedious. Fletcher focuses instead on Moon's legendarily hell-bent lifestyle, but perhaps due to the biographer's commitment to accuracy, the rock star's childish escapades soon become repetitive and monotonous. Still, students of the era and of the Who will delight in Fletcher's painstaking researches, even when they lead him to debunk legends that Moon himself created. One famous tale of destruction in a hotel whose manager dared to call the Who's music "noise," for instance, turns out to be no more than Moon's self-aggrandizement. Readers who feel that they missed a grand party by being born too late to enjoy the 1960s, on the other hand, will be disillusioned to discover that drunks were just as boorish and sad 30 years ago. Fletcher reveals Moon not as a spokesman for his generation but rather as a casualty of the empty-headed glorification of youth. This revelation ultimately inspires a greater appreciation for those aging rock stars who have indeed managed to grow up and grow old.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Keith Moon. The mere mention of the name conjures up images of smashed hotel rooms and rock'n'roll excess. The Who's drummer is best known as rock music's most outrageous hedonist, an image that often obscures his status as arguably the greatest rock drummer ever. Fletcher, the author of books on R.E.M. and Echo & the Bunnymen, has written a major biography. He finds the truth behind oft-repeated myths while uncovering the complexities of this larger-than-life figure. His tireless research separates fact from fiction while explaining why Moon's playing was so revolutionary and how his inability to break away from the image he had created for himself led to his death in 1978 at the age of 32. Although Fletcher conducted over 100 interviews for the book, two of the most important people in Keith Moon's life, his mother and Who leader Pete Townshend, refused to participate. Still, Fletcher has written what will surely stand as the definitive word on one of the century's most colorful entertainers. Highly recommended.
-?Lloyd Jansen, Stockton, San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Tony Fletcher is the author of six non-fiction books, a memoir, and a novel. His biography of drummer Keith Moon has been named in many a Best Music Book list, and his biography of R.E.M., updated in 2013 as 'Perfect Circle,' has been published in over half a dozen countries. His 2009 study, 'All Hopped Up and Ready To Go: Music From The Streets of New York 1927-77,' published in 2009 by WW Norton, covered multiple musical genres and was internationally acclaimed. His most recent biography, 'A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths' was published by William Heinemann in the UK, and by Crown Archetype in the US, and is now available in paperback. A memoir of his South London schooldays, 'Boy About Town,' is also now available in paperback through Random House in the UK and USA.

Fletcher gained his entry into music journalism by founding a fanzine at his London school in 1977; by the time Jamming! ceased publication in 1986, it was selling 30,000 copies a month. Along the way he interviewed the likes of Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Paul Weller and U2, as well as dozens of up-and-coming, predominantly independent post-punk acts.

A contributor over the years to a multitude of magazines, newspapers, radio and television shows, primarily in the UK and USA, Fletcher now lives with his family on a mountaintop near the village of Woodstock in New York State. There he runs, skis, maintains his web site www.ijamming.net, serves on his local school board, and plays Hammond B-3 and Rickenbacker in the Catskill 45s, a group that only performs songs from 45 calendar years ago.

Customer Reviews

A real insight into the life of a rock star and the real Keith Moon.
Emma Jones
And when you finish this book, you'll have a better understanding as to what is really important in one's life.
Smart Shopper
This book is quite great. it's a big big work made by the author and the whole story is very interesting.
Bolender Yael (born Zarai)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Nicole N. Pellegrini on January 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
My enjoyment of the Who's music, curiosity about the legend of Keith Moon, and my interest in drummers and drumming in general led me to check out this rather massive book. By the time I reached the final chapter I was both sad that the story was over and completely emotionally drained, and not exactly sure I was glad to have learned all I had about Moon. Having grown up with an alcoholic/drug-dependant family member, far too much of what Fletcher described of Moon's problems was painfully familiar to me. The way he treated those who cared for him, particularly the women in his life, was quite terrible and sometimes difficult to read about.

Fletcher pulls no punches and presents both Moon's greatnesses and his weaknesses. He illustrates where and how Moon was a genius on the drums yet also where, when and how is performance was sub-par. He does not sugar-coat anything. Still, the end result is not as tawdry and cheap as some celebrity biographies I've read, for the reader gets the impression that Fletcher respects the subject matter instead of simply looking to provide cheap thrills and sensationalism. He also works hard to disprove some of the wilder stories and legends of Moon's behavior and stick with the facts, which may disappoint some who hate to see the legends shattered, but there is still much madness and mayhem that is apparently quite true.

If you are a Who fan and/or interested in the story of one of the most legendary drummers of rock music, you owe it to yourself to check out this book. Just be forewarned that you may find it difficult to look at Keith Moon in the same light ever again.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Smart Shopper on January 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading "Full Moon" By Peter "Dougal" Butler, I thought any other book written about Keith Moon would be a rerun of previous published material. I was wrong thinking that!! Tony Fletcher has written a incredible account of Keith Moon's private and public life. Alot more detail into the life of Keith is presented here. I found the book describing in detail the stories that were only mentioned in other books. I felt like I know Keith better after reading this book. I laughed, sighed and even cried for Keith. The pain & loneliness Keith had in his life is described in great detail. The stories come from Keith's family, friends, and business associates. Reading how Keith's family the other WHO members dealt with Keith's death, and seeing how the years after his death effected them was most interesting.Their comments answered alot of my questions I've often thought about. This book answered alot of questions I had about Keith, and his life. I highly recommend it. It will open your eyes as to what it's like to live a rock stars life. And when you finish this book, you'll have a better understanding as to what is really important in one's life.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Souza on July 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best biographies I have read concerning well-known rock stars. Fletcher succeeds where a lot of other biographers fail in that he's a fan but he is also able to be objective. You get the facts here and he destroys a lot of the myths surrounding Moon's escapades. Moon did so much during his life that there is no need to make up stories about him (as a lot of his friends and aquaintences have done). The things he has done are funny, outrageous, infuriating and sad. Fletcher recounts his life in detail. He also writes about Moon's drumming style and attempts to shed some light on what made him one of the most unique and also one of the great drummers in rock and how the Who simply wouldn't be the Who without him. One of my favorite parts of the book is where he gets quotes from other drummers about Moon's style and where he fits among the other great drummers of that era. During the first half of the book it's pretty evenly split on stories about Moon's personal life and the stories about his musical one. As the book progresses, the personal side starts to be discussed a lot more (his addctions, moving to California, etc.). This is in part due to the fact that in the '70s the Who took longer breaks between albums, something Moon had a very hard time coping with. A lot of the stories are funny, but a lot of them are very disturbing and sad (Moon's insecurity about himself, the drug and alcahol addictions, the spousal abuse and the fact he paid a guy to break Ian MacLagan's fingers). Fletcher recounts these details very well and although the book is quite long, it's never boring. Fletcher was able to get many interviews from friends and family and his research into Moon is very professional. This book coud have come across tawdry; instead it comes out great.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tgfabthunderbird on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
...as the book was entitled in Europe is a thick one, but this is the definitive biography of one of rock's greatest drummers, and one of its most outrageous personalities.

There have been books written about the Who, and about Moon. "Full Moon," written by his longtime personal assistant Dougal Butler leans heavily on the more salacious aspects of his time with Moon the Loon, but has its moments.

This is deeper; Fletcher examines Moon's early life, his influences, both musically and comedically, and the events that brought him together with the three iconoclasts that would make up one of rock and roll's pioneer bands.

Moon's drumming technique, mostly his own is well-examined here, along with those of his contemporaries, and the bands of that era, both famous and unknown are stacked up well against the Who in their various incarnations.

Fletcher gets a good insight into the Mod movement, which has been look at elsewhere, but also the many things that interested and drove Moon himself...he was an early Carnaby Street regular, whose appearance and style would have put Austin Powers to shame!

Moon's health problems are also examined, especially the mental ones: Keith was obviously a hyperactive child, but growing up in post-war Britian, that kind of affliction was considered something you grew out of. Some of us did, like myself, but with Moon is stayed, and I think it can now be said he suffered from some form of manic depression.

This made for great energy, whether playing a powerful, improvisational style of drumming or coming up with bizarre ideas and practical jokes. It also made for great publicity, something his Who mates now seem to regret a great deal.
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