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Moon:The Life and Death of a Rock Legend Hardcover – February 1, 1999
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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.
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.
Top customer reviews
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Yeah, everyone remembers Keith Moon as the original "Rock and Roll Animal." Was there ever a hotel room that he stayed in that didn't wind up in SHAMBLES? On and off the road, Keith drank from the minute he woke up and popped a myriad of pills to go with it. While having the face of an angel, he treated his two wives abominably. Keith Moon was certainly a complicated character with serious mental issues and inner pain that he preferred not to deal with head on.
By the time he was a mere 32, Moon looked like an old 55. Never a Who fan myself but was always drawn to the crazy man behind the huge drum kit. Found this a rollicking read and was touched by the man who never wanted the applause to end. To feel good about himself he needed that, and without it he was a shell. After his demise, The Who went on further tours with another drummer, Kenney Jones, with limited success. Try as they might, the band was never the same.
I'll add that I am a drummer so I was particularly interested in some insights into how Keith Moon developed his style. Moon:The Life and Death of a Rock Legend didn't teach me how to play like Keith Moon, but it did take me back into the 60's again.
The author researched his material thoroughly and succeeded in conveying how Keith came to be the man and drummer that he was. The story of The Who and their high energy impact on rock and roll, maximum R&B if you will, is well described. The story is well paced and manages to include plenty of anecdotes and first person accounts of Moon's outrageous behavior. Some accounts made me laugh at Keith's audacity while others just saddened me because he couldn't deal with his own inner conflicts. Some nice photos are included as well and they helped me recall my own images of The Who. If you dig The Who or Keith Moon you'll get a kick out of the book. On the other hand, you may just be bummed out by the waste of his life because of his excesses.
The writer is a Moon fan clearly, but is forthright with Keiths shortcomings. I personally believe he was BiPolar Manic type who self medicated.
An honest view of Moon. Entertaining, and a good tool to understand his persona and the Who's insight mechanics.
A must for anyone interested in The Who band.
this book and had a hard time putting it down.. He took it with him
to where ever he'd have the time to read a few paragraphs or a few
chapters.. He will now consider donating it to a friend or a library..
Well written. I will recommend..
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