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Listen to Keith Moon's thunderous isolated drums on The Who track 'The Real Me'

When locked in the discussion about the best rock drummer of all time, the late drummer of The Who, Keith Moon, invariably comes up. One of the most colourful characters of the classic rock period, his short life was lived to such epic proportions that when the news broke earlier this year that a biopic of his life is set to shoot this summer, everybody was excited.

An intelligent rhythmic virtuoso who loathed drum solos, his loose, loud and jazz-inspired style endeared him to fans worldwide, and he continues to be one of the greatest sources of inspiration for budding drummers, a reflection of the quality of his work as it has been some 44 since his passing. There’s a reason why Moon is constantly mentioned in the same breath as John Bonham, Ginger Baker and Gene Krupa, as what he did for the drums was nothing short of pioneering.

The story of Moon’s life is a famous one. Running parallel to his undoubted skill as a drummer was his madcap life, which produced some of the most notorious moments in pop culture history, such as the Lincoln Continental he drowned in a swimming pool. Somewhat affectionately known as ‘Moon the Loon’ by the band and his inner circle, his pranks landed The Who in hot water on countless occasions. 

However, it would be a disservice to Moon and the many musical contributions he made if we were to solely concentrate on his life outside of The Who. What he did for music cannot be understated, and without him, it is certain that The Who would have been an entirely different band from the one we’re discussing today.

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Whilst Moon gave us many stellar moments across his career, one of the finest came in the form of the swaggering ‘The Real Me’. Moon’s drumming on this pulsating track is masterful, and his snare and tom rolls during the chorus are enough to get even the most frigid of people on their feet. 

Taken from the band’s iconic 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia, the track was written by guitarist Pete Townshend, and without Moon’s dextrous ability, there was no way that his expansive creative vision for the song or album would have been fully realised.

The piece has long been noted for John Entwistle’s busy bass performance, but I’d argue that it is Moon’s drumming that is the most eye-catching. He covers every inch of the kit and employs a variety of styles, all the while driving it along at breakneck speed, a clear reflection of his genius. 

Luckily for us, Moon’s isolated drum track for ‘The Real Me’ has been unearthed, and on it, we hear just how hard he attacks the instrument, with his atmospheric rolls on the toms towards the end sending shivers down the spine as the tension builds. You can only imagine what it must have been like to watch him lay the track down in the booth as it’s a truly astounding performance. This is raucous rock ‘n’ roll drumming at its best.

Listen to Keith Moon’s isolated drums for ‘The Real Me’ below.