Keith Moon’s one and only solo album, Two Sides of the Moon, is often looked upon in a negative manner. With the covers album featuring some rather poignant moments that allow Moon to express another side to himself, the record remains a beautiful project in the eyes of his biggest fans.
The Who drummer’s 1975 solo effort made him the final member of the group to release their own album with John Entwistle already releasing Smash Your Head Against the Wall, Roger Daltrey released his hit album Daltrey, and Pete Townshend had worked on several Meher Baba tribute albums as well as the demo compilation Who Came First.
Keith Moon is arguably the finest figure to ever step behind a drum kit, and, admittedly, is not remembered for his angelic voice. The record was panned when upon release which, on reflection, seems profoundly unfair. The album didn’t see Moon attempt to write his own material and instead covered a series of tracks which meant the most to him.
Cover albums were in vogue at the time of Moon beginning work on the record with John Lennon beginning work on Rock ‘n’ Roll with Phil Spector, and David Bowie and Bryan Ferry had also released cover projects. Therefore, it was a no brainer for Moon to follow suit for his first foray into the world of a solo artist.
“There was a period when I thought I didn’t write melodies, that Paul wrote those and I just wrote straight, shouting rock ‘n’ roll. But of course, when I think of some of my own songs – ‘In My Life’, or some of the early stuff, ‘This Boy’ – I was writing melody with the best of them,” Lennon said about the track to David Sheff in 1980.
It was very appropriate that Moon covered a Lennon heavy Beatles track on the album considering he played a large part in the creation of Two Sides of the Moon. The Who drummer had moved into the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with assistant Dougal Butler in March 1974, to play with Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats on an album that was produced by John Lennon and led to the embers of Moon’s solo debut.
After Lennon found himself ejected from The Troubadour with Nilsson for drunkenly heckling a Smothers Brothers performance a few days before Moon’s arrival, the three, along with Ringo Starr who was also lending a hand on the Pussy Cats record, moved together into a Santa Monica beach house for three weeks which is the same time that Moon began work on the solo album when he covered The Beach Boys song ‘Don’t Worry Baby’.
Moon tragically died just three years later, his life cut so prematurely short at a time he was beginning to flex his muscles in the solo world. Take a listen, below.