Remembering Keith on his 40th Jahrzeit

Forty years ago today, 7 September 1978, Keith John Moon, rock’s greatest drummer, left the material world at the very young age of only 32. I was sadly born fifteen months too late to have the privilege of sharing Planet Earth with him.

While I’ve felt a soul connection to Pete since February 1994, while I was quite ill with chickenpox, Keith has been my second-favorite member of The Who since late 2000, when I made the transition from longtime casual lawnseat fan to serious, hardcore fan. I love men with soft, boyish facial features, and brown hair and eyes. He also had such a great sense of humor, twisted as it could be.

Keith obviously didn’t have one of the greatest, most classical voices of all time, but when he did sing, it came from a very honest place, and he put his heart and soul into the few songs he sang lead on. His personality made up for his lack of smooth vocals.

Keith trades lead vocals with John in this fun, cute song. He’s more on-key than usual.

Each of the four bandmembers has a theme song on Quadrophenia, and this is Keith’s.

Keith wrote this cute instrumental for the band’s sophomore album, A Quick One.

I have this album on vinyl.

May your beautiful light shine forever, dear Keith, and may your memory be for an eternal blessing. You left us such an incredible legacy with your music, and the many wonderful stories friends and acquaintances have shared.

In memory of Moonie (and future post plans)

In loving memory of Keith John Moon, rock’s greatest drummer ever, who left the material world 38 years ago today. When it comes to The Who, Pete has been my fave rave since age fourteen, but when I moved from casual lawn seat fan to serious, hardcore fan when I was twenty, Keith was the natural choice for my next-fave. He was just such a cutiepie, so sweet, funny, and mischievous, this tragic, haunted clown who sadly was unable to conquer his demons in time.

Since 9 September is my 15-year anniversary with my first Who album, Tommy, I have a special post planned for that day. I know most folks won’t be reading any blogs during the Labor Day weekend, so I’m saving it for Wednesday.

Other future posts include:

A post with more examples of why it’s a really bad idea to create cipher characters and storylines, instead of merely incorporating your interests or bits of your life into a story or character.

Several name-related posts.

A series on writing about body modification.

A list of some of the most overplayed songs on radio.

A post about a disappointing review of The Jazz Singer I recently watched, where the reviewers seemed to be judging it with a modern lens instead of putting themselves into the perspective of someone from 1927.

In that post, I announce my plans for a future series (in 2017) on The Jazz Singer at 90, along with listing a few of the topics I have in mind and asking for any suggestions for potential other topics to cover.

Since I really enjoyed writing and researching my recent series on BOAN at 100 and am looking forward to doing the same with The Jazz Singer in 2017, I’d like to do more series on landmark films, books, albums, and events in big anniversary years. For 2016, I’d like to do a series on Rudy Valentino, seeing as that’ll be his 90th Jahrzeit year. I also am thinking of a series on the 90th anniversary of Greta Garbo coming to the U.S. and becoming a huge star.

Would anyone be interested in anniversary posts or series on Rubber Soul (this year) and Revolver (2016)? As a passionate Monkeemaniac since the 1986 revival, I’d also love to do a 50th anniversary series on The Monkees in 2016.

1927 was such a great year for film, similar to 1939, so there are lots of other films besides The Jazz Singer I could spotlight in 2017. I’m thinking Metropolis (my first silent!), It, King of Kings, Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, The Lodger, October, and The Kid Brother. (I personally find Sunrise, an oft-praised film of 1927, quite overrated and a bit disturbing in its message.)

2016 is also the 90th anniversary year of The Adventures of Prince Achmed, a charming, sweet film animated with silhouettism, so that would also be both an interesting film and an interesting topic to discuss.

2016 is the 80th anniversary of Modern Times, my favoritest Chaplin film and a poignant farewell to the silent era. Of course I’d love to write at least one post about such a special film, Chaplin’s last stand against talkies and a great example of how films might’ve turned out if silents, sound films, and hybrids had been allowed to exist alongside one another.

Is anyone interested in an 80th anniversary post for A Night at the Opera or 90th anniversary posts for The Big Parade, Battleship Potemkin, Ben-Hur, or The Gold Rush in the remaining months of this year?

I’m not giving any clues about what my 2016 A to Z theme will be!

For Keith on his 35th Jahrzeit

The one and only Keith John Moon, rock’s greatest drummer bar none, was taken from this life 35 years ago today. He died a year and three months before I was born, so I was never privileged enough to share Planet Earth with him. It would’ve been nice had I merited being alive at the same time, even for just a little while. It means a lot to me that I shared the planet with John Lennon for an entire year.

When it comes to The Who, I’ve always been a Petey girl, even long before I became a serious, hardcore fan in late 2000. Anyone who knows me well would probably correctly guess that Pete is my fave rave, since he’s a serious intellectual like I am, with a very creative, tortured, artistic soul. But when I was becoming a serious Who freak, Keith was the natural choice for my next-fave.

So many things about Keith propelled him to that honoured second position, including:

His beautiful big brown eyes and brown hair. Keith was the only bandmember with brown eyes. I know I’m biased, since I’ve got big brown eyes myself, but I love men with dark hair and eyes. Blondes and blue eyes have never really done much for me, though there are a handful of exceptions I’ve made!

He was really cute, looking like some innocent little choirboy, but with that mischievous, devilish look in his eyes. It’s always the ones you least suspect!

I love his sense of humour. He seemed like a really funny, sweet person, in spite of his dark side.

Even though he didn’t have the greatest voice (to say the very least!), he put his whole heart into it when he did sing. His voice just matched his personality perfectly.

I love the name Keith. It’s just so rugged, masculine, and handsome, and very underused these days.

He made trashing a hotel room into a whole elevated artform.

Did I mention he was the greatest drummer ever?

He tried his hardest, even when he was in obvious decline. He knew he was playing like crap during some of the Who Are You sessions, but as he made sure to stress, he was still the best Keith Moon-type drummer possible. Even on his worst days, he could still drum better than most people.

You’ve got to love a guy with the last name Moon!

One of my gifts for Chanukah 2000 was a cute stuffed dog, looking like a Husky or Malamute. (I’ve known most dog breeds by sight since I was 8 or 9 years old, but Huskies and Malamutes look so similar I’m usually tripped-up.) I named him Keith, which kind of surprised my parents. They thought he looked like maybe an Abner, and then they were even more surprised that I’d named him for Keith Moon. When I had my accident, they were also surprised I asked for beat-up old Davy instead of soft cuddly Keith. Yes, Keith is a lot softer and cuddlier, but Davy is Real.

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Keith is on the far right. The picture was taken in September 2005, before my stuffed animal collection included such friends as Roger the tiger, Jerome the chipmunk, Manfred the little red tabby who mews when you squeeze his neck, George the big black and white cat, Simon the gigantic frog, an otter, several guinea pigs, frogs, and turtles, my very own Grumpy Bear (the only Care Bear I never got during their original run), and a number of cuddlies from my ex.

This is one of Keith’s songs from the band’s sophomore LP, A Quick One.

Keith’s other song from AQO, though it’s widely accepted in the fan community that John probably really wrote about 90% of these songs. The album is fun ear candy, but not serious, high-quality, or substantial. It’s best-known for the original closing track, “A Quick One (While He’s Away),” a 9-minute “mini-opera.”

May Keith’s dear soul be bound up with the bonds of eternal life, may he rest in peace, and may his memory be for an eternal blessing. He did more living in his 32 years than some people do in a full lifetime.

For Keith and Rudy, Whenever I May Find Them

It’s 23 August, so it’s time for my obligatory yearly tribute to Keith Moon and Rudy Valentino. Moonie was born on this date in 1946, and Rudy was taken from this life on this date in 1926.

There was a reason Keith almost never sang lead, but when he did, he just put his whole heart into it and did the best he could with the vocal chords he was given. It’s the same way with how Ringo isn’t the world’s best singer either, but just has such a great personality that you don’t really care. The voice just matches the personality. “We Close Tonight,” in which Keith trades vocals with John, is probably the most on-key he ever sounded!

Each bandmember has his own theme on the masterpiece Quadrophenia, and “Bell Boy” is Keith’s. It’s such a natural fit for his voice and personality. Going on 13 years after I finally first heard it, it’s still my favouritest album ever, of all time. There are so many wonderful moments all throughout, but I think my favouritest moment remains that point in “The Rock” where the four themes appear separately, slowly first, then faster and faster, until finally they merge into one. Jimmy’s no longer at war with himself. He’s finally at peace, just in time for the breathtaking conclusion of “Love, Reign O’er Me.”

So sad how Rudy didn’t live long enough to make even one talking picture. These songs are the only known surviving recordings of his voice, though he frequently did radio broadcasts. It would be awesome if there were recordings around somewhere of all those old radio shows! The voice recording technology he used in 1923 wasn’t really accurate or representative of one’s true voice. Had he stepped back into the studio to try again in 1925 or ’26, we’d have a more realistic idea of what he sounded like.

I’ll never forget how my heart literally skipped a beat the first time I saw Rudy in motion, 17 November 2004. I’ll admit he sometimes looks a little weird or stilted in still pictures, like Theda Bara. He’s one of those moviestars who has to be seen in motion to really be appreciated and understood. Rudy is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, and he was beautiful on the inside too. I’m told the great-grandma who died two months before I was born (and who’d really been looking forward to meeting me) loved him too, looked forward to going to Pittsburgh on weekends to see his movies.

I’m now older (though not by much!) than either Rudy or Moonie ever got to be. It’s a kind of sobering reminder of one’s own mortality, and kind of embarrassing when I think of how much they’d already accomplished at such young ages. But I’ve been kept alive for a reason. I really think I’ll end up a dark horse winner like George Harrison, one of my fellow Quiet Ones.

My Cinnimin, one of my quintessential characters, ended up with a 23 August birthday. I assigned her that birthdate quite a few years before I ever became a serious Who freak or Valentino fan! It were like I knew, even before I knew. I later gave all 10 of her kids that birthdate as well, along with quite a few other people in town. It’s now become a bit of a running joke and great continuity at how a good percentage of the neighbourhood shares that birthday!

Cinni was born on Rudy’s fourth Jahrzeit (death anniversary), and I later wrote it in that her young aunt Lucinda got to pick her middle name. It would’ve been Rudolph had she been a boy, but Lucinda was such a fan, even four years on, that she found a way to honour Rudy in a roundabout way. Cinni’s middle name, Rebecca, also has seven letters and starts with the letter R. Hey, that’s the rationale I’ve heard a good many Ashkenazim give when claiming a child is named after a relative with a much different name. Some people only use the first letter or a similar sound. I personally think it’s a bit of a stretch, but whatever.

Keith and Carolina

In loving memory of Keith John Moon, 23 August 1946-7 September 1978, rock’s greatest drummer, who left the material world for his eternal home 34 years ago today. May your beautiful memory be for an eternal blessing, dear boy.

In honor of Keith’s Jahrzeit, I decided to do a little piece about his fictional namesake. This takes place during the future Saga VIII (the 2010s) of Cinnimin. I’ve had the love story of Cinni’s granddaughter Carolina Maria Kevorkian and Keith John Black (little Cora Ann Campbell’s grandson) memorized in my head for about 5 years now. They reconnect in the fall of 2015 at the University of Chicago, and over time their friendship turns into love.

Regular readers may remember Carolina as the baby who was abducted by psycho monkey Sunny in some past Six Sentence Sundays.

***

“I didn’t know you were a big Who fan,” Carolina said as she surveyed the poster on the back of the door. “You always seemed more into indie music.”

Keith shrugged. “It’s kinda a prerequisite when your mother named you after their drummer.”

“My cousin-in-law Daltrey doesn’t have a poster at her house, and her namesake is even more obvious than yours.” Carolina looked at the poster and back at Keith. “You kinda even look like him a little, the same dark hair and big brown eyes.”

“Thanks.  My mom always said one of the reasons why he’s her favorite is because she thinks he was the best-looking.  She always liked dark hair and eyes.” He looked away when he caught his gaze lingering too long on Carolina’s amethyst eyes.

“Does your mother like any contemporary music?”

“Of course.  She just likes the older stuff more.  Like she and Aunt Amber always explained it, it’s not that they didn’t like the popular music of their generation, just that they preferred music that stood the test of time.  Sure some of those popular Eighties bands are still around and well-known, but others are washed-up has-beens.  They couldn’t know who’d be who at the time.  So they went for classic rock.”

Carolina sat on Keith’s chair, trying her best not to look at him too intently. “At least you’ve got a well-known namesake.  Most people have never heard of Carolina Maria de Jesus.  I don’t know much about her either.  All I know is that she was a poor Brazilian who tried to help her country’s poor, and she had three kids out of wedlock by all different fathers.”

Keith grinned. “Your parents probably wouldn’t be happy to hear you know so little about the woman they admired enough to name a kid after.”

“Well, unlike you, I never took much of an interest in my namesake.” Carolina began daydreaming about running her hands through Keith’s thick chocolate-brown hair. “And I obviously look nothing like a Brazilian, unless there’s a tribe of Brazilians with red hair and purple eyes.”

“I like your looks just fine.  I mean, I think you look fine.  You’re my best friend’s kid sister.  I hope you didn’t take that the wrong way.” He wished Carolina weren’t only eighteen and almost two and a half years his junior.

“Of course not.” Carolina cursed herself for thinking Keith would ever think of her as anything but Mike’s little sister.

“Say, would you like me to order some pizza or calzones or something?  Unless you have more friends now and don’t have to sit alone at the dining hall.”

“No, don’t waste your money.  I don’t mind sitting alone again.”

“Then let me come with you.  I don’t think it’s beneath me to eat at the dining hall from time to time.” Keith pulled his jacket out of the closet. “Not all of us upperclasspeople are allergic to the dining hall.  It sure beats always making and paying for your own stuff.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“It’s not a big deal.  It’s my responsibility to look after you so far away from home.  I’d want people to do the same for Rael if she were at college.”

“I won’t bug you so much after I find more friends.  I know it must be embarrassing for you to be seen in public with a first-year student.”

“Like I said, no big deal.  It’s not like you’re a little kid.  Who knows, maybe you’ll even get a boyfriend outta this.  Other guys might see you with a junior and think you’re hot stuff.” He held out his hand. “You coming?”

Carolina picked her jacket up off the floor and shoved it on, then took Keith’s hand.  Even if he wasn’t her boyfriend, at least it felt good to hold hands with him and finally be seen as a friend instead of a little girl.  She hoped other boys would think she was off-limits when they saw her with this cute upperclassman, and wouldn’t even bother trying to ask her out.  Not that she would’ve said yes anyway.  The only guy she wanted was Keith, even if that meant waiting to be a little older, or at least to become closer friends first.