The Who song Keith Moon couldn’t play

Keith Moon

The Who’s an essential member and the inspiration behind their sound was the late Keith Moon. Since his passing, the band has had the highly talented Kenney Jones and Zac Starkey fill in on drums, but Moon was a mystery that the music industry will never see again.

Although Moon’s off-stage antics—such as launching televisions out of windows or falling a Lincoln Continental into a hotel swimming pool—get most of the attention, Moon’s contributions to The Who’s sound are what really made him legendary. Nevertheless, not everything Moon touched turned to gold, despite his greatness.

Being an unorthodox musician, Moon was able to compose complex melodies that most people could only dream of. When Moon was in his element, this characteristic, which caused him to function on a different frequency than his contemporaries, also made The Who stand out from the crowd. It allowed them to flourish in a live setting.

Despite his undisputed excellence, Moon found it difficult to perform even the most basic drumming techniques. Moon was capable of seemingly endless bursts of creativity. However, there were straightforward tasks on the instrument that he was less adept at completing than the typical session musician.

The Who’s frontman Roger Daltrey explained why Moon wasn’t suitable to record the song “Music Must Change” in a 2015 interview with Howard Stern on his Sirius XM radio show.

There’s one, and I’m never going to play it again. The album Who Are You contains a song titled “Music Must Change.” Keith was unable to play the drums to that every time we played it in the studio. The number was three, four. Keith was not a good drummer. Keith told the elderly broadcaster, “It was just that he could play great Moon drums.”

Daltrey went on, “He just couldn’t do that, so he had to do the rhythm by walking on the pavement in a pair of squeaky boots.” In any case, Keith is not included in that recording, and he passed away soon after we finished the record.

Instead of allowing Moon to change the meaning of “Music Must Change,” they let him take a vacation from recording and replaced him with an uncredited session musician. Moon’s personal demons were starting to disrupt his ability to play his instrument at this point.

Guitarist Pete Townshend discussed how Moon’s botched attempt to record “Music Must Change” nearly caused him to leave the band during an Audible Words + Music episode. “I had decided when we did the Who Are You album to leave The Who,” he remarked. Keith contributed drums to the 6/8-paced song “Music Must Change.” He only needed to go [sings a simple melody], but he was unable to complete the task.

Townshend would go on with The Who, but they had to continue without Moon. Shortly after “Music Must Change” was recorded, he tragically passed away. For the band, that song now evokes a lot of bad memories.







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