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Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

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4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  705 ratings  ·  60 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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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
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.
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
J
Oct 09, 2007 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 D'Isselt
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.
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
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 Ward
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.
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
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
Gunnar Hjalmarsson
Gífurlegur doðrantur um trommara Hú, mannsins sem fann upp villta rokklífernið (sukka sukka sukka sukka sukka sukka rústa hótelherbergjum og sukka sukka sukka), mannsins sem er fyrirmynd Dýra í Prúðuleikurunum. Undir niðri var nokkuð feiminn og næs náungi. Bókin er gífurlega nákvæm og alla jafna skemmtileg nema kannski í lokin, enda fátt skemmtilegt við mann sem drepur sig smátt og smátt á sukkinu. Keith var nýorðinn 32 þegar hann drapst. Hlakka til að sjá myndina með Mike Myers ef hún verður e-...more
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
Mary
What an emotional roller-coaster of a book! It seems that Tony Fletcher has come as close as a biographer can to capturing the chaos and magnificence of Keith Moon. Though I obviously knew the tragic end was coming, I still felt a sense of loss because the author's portrayal of Moon as a person was so intimate and compelling.

When I listen to the same songs I have loved for years, I hear Keith's personality and talent coming through more loudly than ever after reading this book.
Chilly SavageMelon
Dec 08, 2007 Chilly SavageMelon rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Who fans
Straight forward rock bio. Fletcher attempts to set the record straight on some Moon legendary tales, but there were enough real trashed hotel rooms, overdoses, and opulence in young Moon's life to make it a rock and roll read. What happens when a hyperactive attention whore and clown gets access to copious amounts of wealth and beauty at a pinnacle time of youth culture holding huge power and influence? The answer isn't always pretty, but in parts hilarious-
Billymojo
Keith Moon: great drummer, uninteresting person. Rather than reading this long and tedious book, one would be better served to listen, or relisten, to his recordings. They are a wonder to behold. BTW, the author believes that Mr. Moon suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. Not a chance. I've known borderlines and they're all highly effective manipulators and pretty much despicable. Bipolar is a much more likely diagnosis.
Gracula
Keith Moon was Moon the loon and this is a great look at him. It shows the good and the bad sides of him. This was well written and after completion, Townshend actually wished he had participated in it more. It was a bit hard because I grew up loving Moon and to see the darker side of him kind of shot down a childhood hero. But I highly recommend it to any fan of music or the rock scene. Shit was crazy.
John
Tony Fletcher does a great job revealing the person, Keith Moon. So many have heard the crazy stories of "Moon the Loon", but Fletcher finally gets across to the reader, that Moon was an unbelievable talent. Yes, he was what we see as a human being with multiple personal issues, but we finally are exposed to a person who is full of passion, guilt, loyalty and most of all life. Even if it was short lived.
John
Better to burn out then fade away. The rock cliche was lived by Keith Moon as the driving force (drummer) behind the big sound of The Who at their peak. I have just started, but learning about his youth and determination to be part of something great has been facinating. The story continues with two of the original four still playing music as The Who, after opening the door for modern rock in 1964.
Bob Breckwoldt
An authoritative and detailed account of the life of the drummer from The Who. He lived life to the extreme. It is a warts and all biography that though written by a fan for fans (and at over 500 pages you need to be) it has a good measure of journalistic detachment and a sequence of fascinating and ghoulish stories that remind you what money, success and an insatiable appetite can do. Great!
Joshua
I'm on a rock music book kick--more to come!--and this biography about the talented, yet destructive, drummer of the Who is pretty good. Although, by the end there is only so much you can be interested in Moon's self-destructive path. The early 2/3 of this is great though. Made me buy all the early Who and get into their stuff up to the mid '70s. Moon was a wildman, a joker and a great drummer.
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22791
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 C...more
More about Tony Fletcher...
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