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Why The Who drummer Keith Moon requested pictures of fan "moons"

The Who’s late drummer, Keith Moon, was the definition of a wildcard. In truth, he was a nightmare to be around for any prolonged period of time, driving everybody up the wall with his outlandish antics. Despite being a nuisance, Moon was a loveable rogue who was adored by all.

The drummer was notorious for playing pranks and letting loose with or without his bandmates; it’s what earned him the nickname of ‘Moon the Loon’. In a tragic case of duality, it would be this penchant for the perenially crazy behaviour that would not only add a vibrant rock ‘n’ roll colour to his life — but also end it far too quickly.

Moon sadly died at the tender age of 32 after an overdose of clomethiazole, a drug meant to help with alcohol withdrawal. With his passing, a gaping hole in The Who and the whole of the British music scene was left behind. There was truly nobody else like him around.

Alice Cooper once famously said: “Nobody could compete with Keith Moon. Think of it this way: about 40 per cent of what you’ve heard about me, or Iggy, or Ozzy, is probably true. Everything you’ve ever heard about Keith Moon is true, and you’ve only heard a tenth of it.” 

When Moon moved into solo territory in 1975, his craziness was deemed his USP by his record label, who decided to play up to it as they geared up to the release of Two Sides Of The Moon.

The inside of the album featured a shot of Moon with his pants down and, living up to his surname, by having his full moon on show for everyone to see. Meanwhile, one of the adverts for the record read, “Do get caught with your pants down.”

Cleveland Scene teamed up with MCA Records to host a competition that encouraged readers to follow Moon’s lead. “We suggest that you use your imagination and paint, glitter or arrange your ‘pumpkin’ in a pleasing fashion,” the paper suggested. “Posteriors must be totally exposed to be considered valid, and judges will not discriminate between male and female.”

Armin Unger took home the grand prize for the finest moon, and he received every single MCA releases from 1975. Meanwhile, the label dished out 50 copies of Two Sides of the Moon to 50 other participants.

“Hundreds of your moons will be included on a 22×35 colour poster,” the publication told readers, and they promised to give every entrant a “limited-edition collector’s moon poster.”

This kind of promotional technique is outside of the box and certainly of its time, but Two Sides Of The Moon needed every little crumb of press it could get. The label had ploughed over $200,000 into the recording sessions and desperately needed to pull out all of the stops to recoup those costs. Alas, the record was both a commercial and critical disaster after it became evident that Keith Moon was a drummer rather than a vocalist.

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