Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us No/Yes this week to be included in the title or lyrics.
If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.
This week I chose a song by The Who, formed in London in 1964, the year that I joined the army. Their classic line-up consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, guitarist and singer Pete Townsend, bass guitarist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide.
The Who’s iconic anthem, ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, from the 1971 ‘Who’s Next’ album is performed here on B-Stage at Shepperton Studios on 25 May 1978. It is not the best performance there is but gives a good indication of some of the excesses that have obviously been indulged in by more than a couple of the band. Sadly this was to be the very last public performance ever by Keith Moon.
The lyrics are on the video.
In mid-1978 Keith Moon moved into Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair, London. Cass Elliot of the Mamas and Papas had died there four years earlier, at the age of 32. Harry Nilsson, who owned the flat, was concerned about letting it to Keith Moon, believing it was cursed. Townshend disagreed, assuring him that “lightning wouldn’t strike the same place twice”.
After moving in, Moon began a prescribed course of Heminevrin (Clomethiazole) to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms. He wanted to get sober, but due to his fear of psychiatric hospitals he wanted to do it at home. That particular drug is discouraged for unsupervised detoxification because of its addictive potential, its tendency to induce tolerance, and its risk of death when mixed with alcohol. The pills were prescribed by a physician who was unaware of Moon’s lifestyle. Moon was given a bottle of 100 pills and told to take one pill when he felt a craving for alcohol but not more than three pills per day.
By September 1978 Moon was having difficulty playing the drums, according to roadie Dave “Cy” Langston. After seeing Moon in the studio trying to overdub drums for The Kids Are Alright, he said, “After two or three hours, he got more and more sluggish, he could barely hold a drum stick.”
On 6 September, Moon and Annette Walter-Lax, his Swedish model girlfriend, were guests of Paul and Linda McCartney. After dining with the McCartneys they returned to their flat. He watched a film and asked Walter-Lax to cook him steak and eggs. When she objected, Moon replied, “If you don’t like it, you can fuck off!” These were his last words. Moon then took 32 clomethiazole tablets. When Walter-Lax checked on him the following afternoon, she discovered he was dead. (Aged 32!)