The untimely loss of one of the world’s greatest ever drummers, Keith Moon, is still something that hits us hard every so often. The Who’s drummer is easily one of the greatest to have ever sat behind the kit the mercurial drummer played one of his last ever shows was not with his band but with the mighty Led Zeppelin in 1977.
Moon was only 32 when he died in 1978 following an overdose of prescription medicine Heminevrin, a drug that was prescribed to Moon to help quell his alcohol addiction. Moon sadly died the day after attending a party thrown by Paul McCartney in honour of The Buddy Holly Story. He had taken 32 of the 100 pills he was prescribed.
In late June of 1977 Led Zeppelin played a huge sold-out, six-show run at the illustrious venue The Forum in Los Angeles. They invited Moon the Loon on stage to sit behind the kit for a rollicking performance. Moon, who allegedly gave Led Zeppelin their name—though we haven’t found a concrete confirmation of this—emerged during the band’s set in L.A. on June 23, 1977, to perform on stage for the last time.
It wasn’t quite the Moon masterclass we’d come to expect from The Who’s explosive sets but it did see Keith play one large drum and a tambourine as part of Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick.’
They continued to smash around as part of Zep’s own iconic drummer, John Bonham’s massive drum solo to take part in the show. Arriving on stage, Moon appeared to be quite drunk and even ripped a mic from Bonham’s kit so he could tell the crowd about “the true meaning of rock and roll”, while Robert Plant did his own Bonham impression on the Zeppelin man’s kit.
This was the only time Moon would appear on stage with Led Zeppelin and they quickly found some room in the encore for ‘Rock & Roll’ and the famously fantastic ‘Whole Lotta Love’. The footage is so poignant, not only because it shows two of the world’s greatest drummers working on the same stage together, but also because its the last tableaux of the pair together. Moon would lose his life just a few months later while Bonham would also pass too soon when he died in 1980.
So, sit back and watch a piece of rock and roll history as Keith Moon joins Led Zeppelin on stage for what would be one of his last ever performances.
Watch rare footage from the gig including a portion of Moon’s sit-in: