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Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

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4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,426 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Keith Moon was the bad boy of rock & roll, the most manic member of an aggressive and fabulously successful band, a full-throttle hedonist who lived at the center of an unending party. He was also a musical genius who inspired whole generations of artists, a generous friend to nearly everyone who crossed his path, a guileless man of immense personal charm to whom the sweet ...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published September 19th 2000 by It Books (first published September 1st 1998)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  1,426 ratings  ·  105 reviews


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Paul Smith
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, biographies
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
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Andy
Mar 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Graham
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This may be the saddest book I've ever read.

"You know, we just shot a lot of film for the interview, and talking about all that, I was wondering if you'd tell us the truth and stop lying."

"Well, no. I mean, the truth is, you want to hear it? I can't do that. You couldn't afford me."
...more
East Bay J
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Matt Hartzell
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I went into Moon by Tony Fletcher with basically no knowledge of Keith Moon or The Who, aside from the common understanding that they were a big classic rock band. As a drummer, I had not paid much attention to Keith Moon in my learning, but had also gleaned enough to know that he was influential in the growth of rock as a music genre. So reading through Moon was a joy, as was getting to know the incredibly complex character of Keith Moon and the band that was so important to modern music.

Keith
...more
Mike Clinton
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Mark R.
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Steven
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rachel
Dec 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Vincent O'Neil
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a tremendous book. The author knows music, which helps him explain some of the intricacies of Keith Moon's playing of the drums in layman's terms. The research is exhaustive, and at some times exhausting, but the story of Keith Moon and The Who is so extensive that there really isn't much that can be trimmed from this book's roughly 580 pages.

The story is extensive because it's not just a biography of a rock 'n roll legend. It's also the tale of the forces, movements, and trends that cam
...more
Paul Lyons
Sep 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Monica
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Eric
May 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan of rock music or anyone looking for a humorous and touching, yet tragic 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
Gabriella Vegvari
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auto-biography
Finally done! And I am exhausted. But as true as that may be it is nowhere near to the level of exhaustion that must have been felt by all those who lived, loved and worked with this man. A naturally gifted drummer who pushed the boundaries of drumming beyond what anyone had heard before him, but an incredibly troubled, insecure and lonely man whose desperation to be seen and heard mixed with a very real (although undiagnosed) mental illness to push him to outrageous behaviour. Add the alcohol a ...more
Daniel
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Andrew Heitzman
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
On one hand, I'm giving this book a 5-star rating because it's 600 pages of Tony Fletcher meticulously showing you how much he loves Keith Moon. The Who has always had a special place in my heart, and as a drummer, Keith was at the center of my appreciation. Fletcher's book manages to distill the 32 years of Keith's life into a representation of rock 'n' roll.
But at the same time, I find places where I wish he would go further. Fletcher will sometimes stop short of explaining an idea, or only gi
...more
Jacqueline Toce
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jessica
Jul 18, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Paul
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is an obvious fan; the length (580 pages or so) and detail reflect that, but that does not cloud his storytelling. The epilogue makes the point nicely. This is a complete biography, from birth to death and all the weirdness in between. If you are looking for a history of the Who, you may be disappointed, this is Keith's story. Pete, Roger and John are not the focal point. Personally, I have never been a big fan of the Who, but this was an interesting read. It helps paint a picture of ...more
John
Sep 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
John
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Brian
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lunatics
Very funny, very sad. Much like Mr. Moon himself.
Jennifer Glick
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Who fans who realize they were all human
Kieth Moon a person of amazing extremes. The author is exhaustive in his research and pulls no punches.
Valerie Sherman
Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A broader and more objective biography than "Full Moon," and it included lots of wonderful stories and pictures of Moon's younger days. A great read. ...more
minnie
Fantastic Biography,plenty of hilarious Loon anecdotes but also a very sad story of a talented and insecure man who always had to take it too far.
Robert
Jan 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insight and a very detailed look into the personal life of the 20th century's most charismatic figures. ...more
brian
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
my all-time favorite musician, and one of the saddest stories i've read.
...more
Jeff
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moon comes on the scene, sets the template for rock drumming and debauchery, influencing the next generation of rock drummers who then make his style and attitudes seem quaint.

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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 as Perfect 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, ...more

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2 likes · 0 comments
“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.” 1 likes
“whirlwind of somewhat belligerent delight.” 0 likes
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