Dear Boy: The life of Keith Moon
Omnibus Press, London, 2001
Keith Moon (1946-78) was the drummer with legendary rock band The Who. This biography confirms that he was a larger-than-life personality, a bizarre character whose behaviour fully justified his nickname 'Moon the loon'. In the words of one singer who worked with him, he was 'an exploding time bomb'.
This detailed, thoroughly-researched book follows him from his birth in post-war Willesden on the edge of London, through the highs, lows and general craziness of the 60s and 70s, and to his tragic end in a Mayfair flat one night in September 1978. It's also an engrossing account of the band who gave the Beatles and Rolling Stones a close run for their money in the mid-60s, and almost ground to a halt after his death.
There are some hilarious anecdotes here, but much of it is a sad, even harrowing life of a man who probably suffered from Borderline Personality Syndrome and was of the first generation to earn millions more than their father but lacked the commonsense or self-discipline to spend it wisely. Everyone around him was drunk or drugged much of the time, and he more than most. He became so used to the adulation of rock star life that he expected the same everywhere he went, not least at home, and naturally his wife and daughter bore the brunt of it. Worst of all, perhaps, was the fate of his driver Neil Boland, a blow which almost threw him totally off balance.
He could be utterly irritating, a complete liability, even a spoiled vicious brat, and that he had little of the musical creativity of Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend or John Entwistle. Yet he had a gift for comic repartee and timing, as a series of radio shows he did one year proved. This is recommended to anyone interested in what makes rock stars tick, or alternatively about the effect that too much fame, fortune and success can have on a personality ill-equipped for it.
This report prepared by John Van der Kiste