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Keith Moon’s 10 Wildest Pranks

No drum kit, hotel room, trousers department or small British village was spared the drummer’s sense of mischief

Keith Moon circa mid 1960s

Keith Moon circa mid 1960s


The Who’s Keith Moon was not only (as he loved to boast) “the world’s greatest Keith Moon-type drummer,” he was also the greatest prankster in the history of rock & roll. The man they called “Moon the Loon,” who died on September 7th, 1978 from a Heminevrin overdose at the age of 32, played practical jokes the same way he played the drums – with manic intensity, flamboyant flourishes and zero concern for potential collateral damage.

While Moon’s reputation for destroying hotel rooms was certainly well earned, he was also fond of pranks that required considerable planning, forethought and creativity. Here, then, are 10 memorable Keith Moon pranks that went well beyond the usual “TV into the swimming pool” brand of rock star barbarism.

[Editor’s Note: A version of this list was originally published March 2016]

From Rolling Stone US

Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Dine and Dash

Not all of Moon’s pranks were destructive, offensive or at someone else’s expense. During the filming of Stardust, a 1974 rock flick in which Moon had a small part, the generous-to-a-fault drummer made a big show of paying for everything whenever the cast went out on the town together. Karl Howman, a young actor on the film who Moon had taken under his wing, finally insisted upon covering an evening’s revel himself – only to discover to his horror at the end of the night that the final bill was going to cost him a month’s wages. Moon, seeing his distress, suggested that they “do a runner”; and Howman, though utterly mortified about leaving the check unpaid, dashed with the rest of the actors to a waiting limo. The next day, Moon took Howman aside and informed him that he’d quietly paid the bill while the actor wasn’t looking; the mad dash from the club was just his way of capping the evening with a bit of extra excitement.