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Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  854 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Keith Moon was an exception to every known rule. He revolutionized the concept of the drummer in rock & roll, leading from the back rather than offering mere support. With the Who, he achieved far greater international fame than his instrument was meant to inspire, only to treat his celebrity as an ongoing opportunity to send up the whole notion. He sneered at the domi ...more
Hardcover, 608 pages
Published February 1st 1999 by William Morrow (first published September 1st 1998)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,628)
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Paul Smith
Brilliant but also terribly sad, Keith Moon managed to waste his life but also not waste his life at the same time. Tony Fletcher's biography captures this perfectly, and portrays a warm, funny, uniquely talented and well loved man essentially committing suicide for the merriment of others over a fourteen year spell following the initial success of the Who.

Moon is so complex that trying to dissect his personality is a formidable task, and Fletcher wisely plays the part of the informed narrator r
...more
Carol Storm
Classic rock biography of the Who's original drummer. Keith Moon was the one and only!

One of the sad things about getting older is that you outgrow your heroes. When I was a teenager the Who were my favorite band, hands down. Not because their music was the best, but because I could relate to the anger and confusion and power of their greatest songs. I especially loved the songs on Quadrophenia, like "I'm One" and "Dr. Jimmy." My hero in those days was Pete Townshend, the songwriter who took lif
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Jessica
Jul 18, 2008 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who fans
Recommended to Jessica by: Fanatic Who friends
I really don't know how to officially or formally 'review' this book. Technically speaking, it is what every biography should be--VERY well-written and researched (deserving five stars), but the life of Keith Moon is a rather depressing and sometimes repulsive subject to read about. There are some pretty amusing and very interesting parts throughout but it is by no means uplifting. Read this if you are a die-hard fan of The Who and MUST know every miniscule fact about them. Otherwise just stick ...more
Andy
Mar 05, 2008 Andy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: who fans, mods, drummers
Shelves: rock-sleaze
Young, wide-eyed rock boy makes millions and turns into a decadent lout, pillaging everything in his path. Sounds like the Steve Marriott bio, doesn't it? Well, it's also the Keith Moon book written by Tony Fletcher, a 500+ pages of endless legends and verified rumors of rock's most exciting drummer. It's a great book about an unforgettable figure in the history of music.
Tracy
I got this book from the library and read it over the course of two weeks, it was that fat and meaty. It was well worth the time. Keith Moon, for those who don’t know, was the wildman drummer for the British rock group The Who known for his out of control percussion, elaborate pranks, and hotel room trashing. But he was also more than that, which this bio makes clear. Tony Fletcher was done an awesome job in detailing his life from childhood years to his last, alcohol-soaked debacles in the mid ...more
Chris
A well-written iography by any standard, but by the standards of Rock biographies it is the best I've read. Fletcher investigates the myths and finds them to be just that. However, much of the everyday life of Keith Moon is more fantastic.I also liked that he examined Moon's influences and technique in drumming and his role in The Who.

This is truly a warts and all biography. Moon was both a comic genius and a boor, brilliant drummer and an annoying child, and on and on. Fletcher manages to captu
...more
Steven
This was a really good book, and it is very evident that Tony Fletcher really did his research. Whether you're a fan of the Who, or the legendary drummer that powered them this book provides great insight into the complex mind of Keith Moon and his contributions to rock 'n' roll.

Anyone who knows even the slightest detail about Mr. Moon knows that he was basically insane. He took superhuman amounts of drugs, he played the drums far more wildly than anyone had every seen before, and he lived a lif
...more
Mike Clinton
Jan 18, 2011 Mike Clinton rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Ed Clinton
This was an indulgence that, much like Keith Moon's own habits, became excessive. My brother gave me this book a couple of Christmases ago, and I had started on, put down, started back on it a few times. After reading the more high-brow novel "The Sea" by John Banville, I thought it a good opportunity to simplify things a bit and finally get through this biography of The Who's drummer, notorious for his reckless living (drinking, drugging, hotel-wrecking) that culminated in his death in 1978. It ...more
Nannette
I admit, I did not really give it a chance because this is a very thick book, and much of the beginning goes into painstaking detail about Moon's childhood and what life was like in England during the time that he was growing up. While the author did much research to glean this information, and this is part of a good biography, I was more interested in the years after he joined the Who. I may pick this up again and skip past the beginning chapter, after reading some of the other reviews it sound ...more
Monica
I'm not a Who fan although I find myself appreciating their earlier work more and more over time. After seeing The Kids Are Alright at the Brooklyn Academic of Music's recent film series on The Who, I found myself interested in learning more about Keith Moon's intense and strange life. This book is written by a British journalist who used to live in Park Slope. It is extremely detailed and it took me very long to read the book cover-to-cover but the details are never boring. The author doesn't o ...more
Paul Lyons
The size of the book is intimidating, and I am ashamed to admit it took me years and years before I finally got around to reading it, yet Tony Fletcher's MOON: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF A ROCK LEGEND was definitely worth the read. I've been a raging Keith Moon fan ever since I was 13 years old, so it's only natural that I would so easily take to an expansive book about his life, and art. Tony Fletcher's prose took some time getting used to, yet once I was deep into the story, I appreciated his atten ...more
Rachel
Dec 18, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is more than just a musician's biography. It is a complete psychoanalysis on the legendary Keith Moon, drummer for The Who. It pretty much covers everything from his career in The Who to the darkest sides of his personality. His innovative drumming style is only surpassed by his crazy offstage antics. Surprisingly thorough, considering none of the members of The Who contributed. Definitely a very condensed 600 plus pages of insanity.

Most of what you heard about Keith offstage is true,
...more
Jordan
This is definitely the quintessential chronicle of rock stardom, all rock fans and wonderful people should read it!

The Who's 2 surviving members didn't contribute, mostly citing that it would encourage people to replicate Keith's fatal mistakes (the late John Entwistle and their manager Bill Curbishley volunteered their recollections though). Although dictated by circumstance, I found this to make it a far better read, insofar that Fletcher could be more critical/realistic about The Who's myriad
...more
Mark R.
"Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend," by Tony Fletcher, is one of the saddest books I've read. As a fan of the Who, reading this book is exciting, pouring over hundreds of pages about the rise and success of one of the greatest bands in rock n roll history--and then (and not without warnings peppered throughout the first few hundred pages) the lifestyle of our protagonist catches up to him, and it's painful reading a detailed account of his self-destruction.

Keith's is, overall, a sad stor
...more
East Bay J
Oct 09, 2007 East Bay J rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, really
Shelves: music-bios
I read Geoffrey Giuliano’s Townshend biography, Behind Blue Eyes, which left me wanting so much more information than I got. Such is definitely not the case with Tony Fletcher’s excellent, almost six hundred page Keith Moon bio, Moon. This is an interesting, often arresting and intensively informative look into the life of the wild, well known and much beloved drummer of The Who. For all of Giuliano’s in depth, personal investigation of Townshend’s life, it is Fletcher’s book that is truly an in ...more
Glenn
Well researched, presented, & organized, very thorough. A delight for those with specific or general interest (in Moon, music Hx, The Who, music business, the 60's, Pete T., Brit Invasion); maybe unwieldy for others. Content very compelling in train-wreck sort of way, also frustrating like most accounts of spectacular opportunities squandered and lives wasted with direct and indirect consent of many. I would strongly suggest read the 3p. epilogue first, to understand the author's (sometimes ...more
Eric
Jun 26, 2008 Eric rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any fan of rock music or anyone looking for a humorous and touching, yet tragic biography
Shelves: biography
Keith Moon--one of rock's most important and wild characters. He lived the ultimate rock lifestyle--drugs, girls, parties. He was probably banned from more hotels than any other individual in history. The story of one of the most innovative drummers in all of rock music is ultimately a tragic story. He lived his life trying to please everyone--always the funniest person around and the life of the party. This behavior ultimately left him sad and lonely. He was never able to locate his "real me". ...more
Armand
This is a very good book. Powerful and rather depressing, it is not just a biography of the late drummer of The Who; it is a very cogent and sobering look at the face of mental illness, social insecurity and self-destructive behavior. I happen to be a rabid fan of The Who, but I would recommend this book to anyone looking to explore the dark side of the human condition.
Jeff Clarke
Like its subject, exhilarating at first, and then unbearably sad - occasionally gets bogged down in the minutiae of Keith Moon's hellraising (which, ironically, becomes a bit of a slog), but most of the book's weaknesses are that of the man at the center of things. Bump it up a star if you've ever gone through a Who-obsessed period /raises hand.
jacky
I realized I had a different version of this book listed before. It is by the same author, so I have a feeling it is really the same text but with different American and British titles.

I started this yesterday, finally. Sadly, it has been slow going. I haven't enjoyed learning the details about the London suburbs and the British educational system that much. I really just wanted to get the stuff about Keith, but I think I have gotten past that for at least the time being. The pages are huge and
...more
Wes
What an excellent biography of Rock 'N Roll's biggest personality and best drummer. You feel as though you are hanging with Keith during both good and bad times. There a equally hilarious times and dark moments. Too bad he burnt out so quickly. Moon the Loon!
Daniel
This is easily one of the best biographies I've ever read. Fletcher clearly understands the dual-nature of Keith Moon, and in doing so, never allows the book to devolve into simple lionizing of his subject. He does an excellent job communicating both Moon's incredible energy, skill, and wit as well as his chaos-inducing mood swings. It's a particularly well-researched bit of investigative journalism, and Fletcher is never afraid to squash a few myths along the way, or illustrate the absolutely h ...more
David
Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend by Tony Fletcher (Avon Books 1999)(Biography). Keith Moon was the drummer for the British 1960's rock band “The Who.” He was a hard drinker, and he would take any drug he was offered without hesitation or inquiry. He was probably an alcoholic, and he was certainly a polydrug abuser who may have been addicted to one type of pill or another at one time or another. The book briefly posits the idea that Keef suffered from borderline personality disorder. He ...more
Drew Athans
My full and detailed review is on my website:

http://rnrchemist.blogspot.com/2014/0...

A fantastic book, at times hilarious and often sad...Keith was a tremendous drummer and personality who was also sad, lonely, and met a tragic end. Highly recommended to any Who or rock fan...one of THE great rock bios.
Luke
One of my favourite drummers, not so much for his drumming but for his flamboyance, energy and all round character. Tony Fletcher is an excellent writer ( I believe he is an English Journalist) and this book is great.
Dan Fahlgren
Great in-depth look at one of the great, funny, talented, and tragic characters in rock and roll. He revolutionized rock drumming and set a high bar for hotel merrymaking. This book is thoroughly researched with fascinating recollections from those who lived, worked and partied with Keith Moon, including many of his pre-Who bandmates and loves. Fletcher straightens out, debunks and clarifies many of the myths surrounding Moonie's adventures. Fletcher presents Keith Moon the person, a polite, hap ...more
Jacqueline Toce
This book was a very enjoyable read. I have been a Who fan since the early 80's so I am too young to remember much about Keith Moon. I thought the book was very thorough and was a good objective picture of his life. One of the most enjoyable parts of reading the book was when the author was describing the making of the different albums in the progression of the group's history and then going back to my mp3 player and listening to the songs he was talking about. The book would also be recommended ...more
James
Engaging, but too long by a couple of hundred pages. The addenda at the end of the book should have been incorporated into a revised edition, rather than to have the author ultimately modify and contradict himself. Despite these gripes, not a bad read for a seasoned Who fan.
Sean Ruprecht-belt
Didn't really care for this. It is overlong by about 100 pages and, surprisingly given its subject, kind of boring. It never caught my interest.
David Loyd
Keith Moon is indeed a loon. He pursued the party to the exclusion of all else. There is a benevolence about him, however, in that his attitude is one of a 6-year-old who has cultivated a complete block against growth and maturity. Fletcher's detail can drag a bit, making the read much like research. But I wouldn't trade the detail for a broader dramatization. There's not any satisfying conclusion. It is apparent that Keith was trying to recover, but the clumsiness of his death seems to point to ...more
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Tony Fletcher is the author of seven non-fiction books and one 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 asPerfect Circle, has been published in over half a dozen countries. A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of The Smiths was published in the UK by William Heinemann in September 2012, and by ...more
More about Tony Fletcher...
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“Favorite food? Blues (speed). Miscellaneous likes? Birds. Professional ambition? To smash one hundred drum kits. Personal ambition? To stay young forever. There you have it, the world of Keith Moon effectively encapsulated in a few choice words. Straightforward hedonistic pleasures, cheerfully destructive tendencies, and an unattainable goal, except in the words that Townshend had just written and which Moon alone would live up/down to: 'Hope I die before I get old.” 0 likes
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