The Who is one of the most iconic and influential rock bands of all time, and a huge part of their sound was thanks to their incredible drummer, Keith Moon. But when Moon tragically passed away in 1978, the band had to find a new drummer to carry on their legacy. In this article, we’ll explore the story of the drummers who stepped into Moon’s shoes and how they helped shape the sound of The Who in the years that followed. From Kenney Jones to Zak Starkey, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of the band’s drumming lineage and discover how each member contributed to the band’s enduring success.
The Incomparable Keith Moon
The Early Years
Keith Moon was born on August 23, 1946, in London, England. From a young age, he was drawn to music and began playing the drums at the age of 16. He was heavily influenced by jazz and R&B music, and cited drummers such as Ginger Baker and Carlo Little as early influences.
In 1963, Moon joined the band The Who, replacing their original drummer, Doug Sandom. The band’s lead singer, Roger Daltrey, recalled that Moon’s audition was unconventional, as he played along to a James Brown song while sitting on the floor. However, his energy and passion for music quickly made him a standout member of the band.
The Unique Style of Keith Moon
Keith Moon’s drumming style was characterized by his aggressive approach and use of unconventional techniques. He often used two bass drums, which became a trademark of his sound. Moon’s playing was dynamic and full of energy, and he was known for his powerful and dynamic fills.
One of Moon’s most famous performances was at Woodstock in 1969, where he famously smashed his drum kit at the end of the set. This became a symbol of his destructive stage presence, but it also highlighted his powerful and explosive playing.
Moon’s unique style had a significant impact on The Who’s sound. His drumming added a sense of chaos and unpredictability to the band’s music, which contrasted with the more structured and precise playing of guitarist Pete Townshend. Moon’s energy and enthusiasm also helped to elevate the band’s live performances, making them one of the most exciting and dynamic bands of the era.
The Tragic Death of Keith Moon
On September 7, 1978, Keith Moon’s life came to a tragic end at the young age of 32. The circumstances surrounding his death were quite unusual and unexpected. According to reports, Moon had been dining at a club in London with his girlfriend, Annette Walter-Lax, and fellow Who band member, John Entwistle. After leaving the club, Moon returned to his flat in nearby Curzon Place, where he had an argument with Walter-Lax. He left the flat in a fit of rage and went to sit in his car, which was parked in the underground garage of his building.
Unbeknownst to Moon, the garage’s automatic door was closed, and he drove his car into the barrier, causing significant damage to the vehicle. He then exited the car and began to assault the garage’s gate, shouting and screaming in anger. As he did so, he lost his balance and fell into the nearby River Cam, which ran through the city of Cambridge. Moon’s body was found in the river several hours later, and he was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The Impact of his Passing on The Who and the Music Industry
The death of Keith Moon was a devastating blow to The Who and the music industry as a whole. Moon was not only a brilliant drummer but also a colorful and flamboyant character, known for his on-stage antics and his off-stage partying. His unique style and energetic performances had been a defining feature of The Who’s sound, and his loss left a significant void in the band.
In the aftermath of Moon’s death, The Who were forced to regroup and find a new drummer to replace him. This was no easy task, as Moon was not only a skilled musician but also a close friend and collaborator of the other members of the band. They eventually settled on Kenney Jones, a former member of the Small Faces and the Faces, who brought his own style and energy to the band. However, many fans and critics felt that The Who could never fully recover from the loss of their beloved drummer.
Finding a Replacement for a Legend
The challenge of finding a replacement for Keith Moon was a daunting task for The Who. Not only was Moon a legendary drummer, but he was also an integral part of the band’s sound and identity. Finding someone who could fill his shoes was not an easy feat, and it took several years for the band to finally settle on a new drummer.
The difficulties of replacing Keith Moon were numerous. For one, Moon’s drumming style was unique and unmistakable. He had a flair for the dramatic and a knack for making the drums sound like an orchestra. Finding someone who could replicate his style and bring the same level of energy and creativity to the band’s music was no easy task.
Moreover, Moon was not just a drummer, but also a key member of the band’s songwriting team. His contributions to the band’s sound and direction were invaluable, and finding someone who could contribute in the same way was a tall order.
Despite these challenges, The Who began the search for a new drummer shortly after Moon’s death in 1978. They held auditions and trials, hoping to find someone who could live up to Moon’s legacy.
The process of finding a new drummer for The Who was not an easy one. The band tried out several drummers over the years, but none of them seemed to be the right fit. It wasn’t until 1989 that they finally settled on a new drummer, Simon Phillips, who brought his own unique style and energy to the band.
The challenges of working with different drummers during this time were numerous. The band had to adjust their sound and style to accommodate each new drummer, and it took time for them to find their groove. However, through it all, The Who remained committed to their music and their fans, and they continued to tour and release new music despite the loss of their beloved drummer.
The Journey to Find the Perfect Fit
The Search for the Next Drummer
The journey to find the perfect fit for The Who was a long and difficult one. The band was looking for someone who could fill the shoes of their late drummer, Keith Moon, and continue to provide the energetic and innovative drumming that had become synonymous with The Who’s sound.
After Moon’s death in 1978, the band began a search for a new drummer. They auditioned many different musicians, including established drummers and up-and-coming talent. However, finding the right fit proved to be a challenge.
The band members were looking for someone who not only had technical skill and creativity, but also someone who could mesh well with the rest of the band. They needed someone who could bring their own unique style to the table while still being able to play the songs that fans knew and loved.
The Importance of Chemistry
Finding a drummer who could fit in with the rest of the band was crucial to the success of The Who. Without the right chemistry, the band’s sound would suffer, and their live performances would lack the energy and excitement that fans had come to expect.
Working with musicians who didn’t click with the rest of the band was a challenge that The Who faced during their search for a new drummer. It was important for the band to find someone who could not only play the music, but also bring their own personality and style to the band.
In the end, The Who found their perfect fit in Kenney Jones, who joined the band in 1979. Jones brought his own unique style to the band, while still paying homage to Keith Moon’s legacy. He remained with the band until their final album, “Endless Wire,” in 2006.
The Arrival of Kenney Jones
The Welcomed Addition
The story of how Kenney Jones joined The Who is one that is often overlooked, but it is an important one nonetheless. Jones had been a member of the British rock band The Small Faces, which had disbanded in 1969. He then joined a short-lived supergroup called The Faces, which also included former members of The Rolling Stones and The Who. It was during this time that Pete Townshend, the guitarist and songwriter for The Who, became aware of Jones’ talent and invited him to join the band.
Jones’ arrival in The Who was welcomed by both fans and critics alike. His energetic and powerful drumming style brought a new dimension to the band’s sound, and he quickly became an integral part of their live performances. With Jones on drums, The Who’s music took on a more polished and refined quality, while still retaining the raw energy that had made them famous.
Adjusting to the New Drummer
While Jones’ arrival in The Who was met with enthusiasm, there were also some challenges that came with integrating him into the band. One of the biggest challenges was finding a way to balance his drumming style with that of Keith Moon’s, who had been a key part of the band’s sound for many years.
In order to adjust to Jones’ playing style, Townshend and bassist John Entwistle had to make some changes to their songwriting and arrangements. They had to take into account the fact that Jones was a more precise and technical drummer than Moon, and they had to find ways to incorporate that into their music without losing the raw energy that had always been a hallmark of The Who’s sound.
Despite these challenges, Jones quickly became an essential part of The Who’s lineup. His drumming brought a new level of precision and technical skill to the band’s music, while still retaining the raw energy and power that had made them famous. Jones’ time with The Who would ultimately be cut short by his untimely death in 1988, but his legacy as one of the greatest drummers in rock history is secure.
The Continuation of The Who’s Legacy
Embracing the New Era
The death of Keith Moon in 1978 left a gaping hole in The Who’s lineup. Moon was not only a talented drummer but also a key member of the band’s creative process. The band had to find a way to continue without him, and that meant bringing in a new drummer. Kenney Jones was chosen to fill Moon’s shoes, and it was not an easy transition.
Jones was a highly skilled drummer in his own right, having played with bands like The Small Faces and The Faces. However, he had a very different style from Moon, and it took some time for The Who to adjust to his playing. The band’s sound was heavily influenced by Moon’s unique style, and it was difficult to replicate that energy without him.
Despite the challenges, Jones brought a fresh perspective to the band. He brought a more controlled and precise style to the drumming, which helped to ground the band’s sound. Jones’s playing was still energetic and dynamic, but it was also more focused and precise. This allowed the other members of the band to experiment with new sounds and styles, and the band’s music continued to evolve.
The Impact of Kenney Jones on The Who’s Sound
Jones’s impact on The Who’s sound cannot be overstated. While Moon was undoubtedly the band’s driving force, Jones helped to shape the band’s sound in his own way. His playing brought a new level of precision and control to the band’s music, which allowed the other members to explore new ideas.
One of the most significant ways that Jones impacted the band’s sound was through his use of the bass drum. Moon was known for his explosive playing style, with fast and powerful bass drum hits. Jones, on the other hand, used the bass drum in a more subtle way, using it to drive the rhythm and keep the band on track. This allowed the other members to focus on other aspects of the music, such as the guitar and vocal parts.
Jones also brought a more melodic approach to the drumming. While Moon’s playing was heavily focused on rhythm and energy, Jones often incorporated melodic elements into his playing. This added a new dimension to the band’s sound, and helped to make the music more complex and interesting.
Overall, Jones’s impact on The Who’s sound was significant. While he was never able to fully replace Moon, he brought a new level of precision and control to the band’s music. His playing helped to shape the band’s sound in the years after Moon’s death, and his contributions to the band’s legacy should not be overlooked.
The Enduring Legacy of Keith Moon and The Who
The Legacy of Keith Moon
Keith Moon, the original drummer of The Who, left an indelible mark on rock music that has continued to influence generations of musicians and fans alike. His unique style and energetic performances were a defining element of The Who’s sound, and his legacy can still be felt in the music industry today.
- The continued influence of Keith Moon on rock music:
- Moon’s style was characterized by his fast and powerful drumming, unconventional techniques, and use of multiple drums and percussion instruments.
- His approach to drumming was revolutionary for its time, and it inspired countless drummers to experiment with new sounds and techniques.
- Many rock drummers have cited Keith Moon as a major influence on their own playing, including Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins of the Alanis Morissette tour.
- The lasting impact of his unique style on The Who’s sound:
- Moon’s drumming was a key component of The Who’s distinctive sound, which combined rock, pop, and classical elements.
- His dynamic and creative approach to drumming helped to elevate The Who’s music to new heights, and his performances were often cited as some of the most exciting and innovative in rock music.
- Even after his death, Moon’s influence can still be heard in the music of The Who, and his legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
The Enduring Legacy of The Who
Despite the loss of Keith Moon, The Who has continued to be one of the most enduring and influential bands in rock music. Their ability to adapt and continue their legacy is a testament to the strength of their music and the power of their artistry.
- The continued success of The Who despite the loss of Keith Moon:
- After Moon’s death in 1978, The Who continued to tour and record, and they have remained a popular and influential band ever since.
- While Moon’s unique style and energy were a defining element of The Who’s sound, the band has continued to evolve and adapt over the years, incorporating new influences and technologies into their music.
- Their continued success is a testament to the power of their music and the enduring appeal of their artistry.
- The band’s ability to adapt and continue their legacy:
- The Who has continued to adapt to changing musical trends and technologies, incorporating new sounds and styles into their music while staying true to their roots.
- They have also continued to explore new ways of expressing themselves, from their pioneering use of quadrophonic sound in the 1970s to their recent use of digital technology in their live performances.
- Despite the challenges and changes they have faced over the years, The Who has remained a vital and influential force in rock music, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians and fans.
1. Who played drums for The Who after Keith Moon died?
After Keith Moon’s death in 1978, The Who continued to perform and record with a series of drummers filling in for him. The first drummer to officially join The Who after Moon’s death was Kenney Jones, who played with the band from 1979 to 1982. Jones had previously played with the Small Faces and the Faces, and was known for his energetic and powerful drumming style.
2. How did Keith Moon’s death affect The Who?
Keith Moon’s death was a significant blow to The Who, as he had been a key member of the band since its inception in 1964. Moon’s energetic and innovative drumming style was a major part of The Who’s sound, and his death left a gap that was difficult to fill. However, the remaining members of the band were determined to continue performing and recording, and they worked to find new drummers who could help carry on Moon’s legacy.
3. Did Keith Moon have any notable drumming influences?
Keith Moon was known for his innovative and unconventional drumming style, which drew inspiration from a variety of sources. He was influenced by jazz drummers such as Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa, as well as by rock and roll drummers such as Carl Palmer and Ginger Baker. Moon was also known for his use of unconventional percussion instruments and techniques, such as playing on his knees and using household objects as drumsticks.
4. How did Keith Moon’s drumming style contribute to The Who’s sound?
Keith Moon’s drumming style was a major contributor to The Who’s sound, and his innovative approach to the drums helped to define the band’s unique style. Moon’s energetic and dynamic playing added a sense of excitement and energy to The Who’s music, and his use of unconventional techniques and instruments helped to create a distinctive sound that set the band apart from its peers. Even after his death, Moon’s influence on The Who’s music can still be heard in the band’s recordings and performances.