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Remembering Moon the Loon: Who drummer Keith Moon died 40 years ago today

Michael Putland/Getty ImagesToday marks the 40th anniversary of the death of The Who's Keith Moon, widely considered one of the greatest drummers in rock history. Moon was just 32 years old when he died of an accidental overdose of Heminevrin, a drug prescribed to help relieve the effects of alcohol withdrawal.

Moon was only 17 when he joined The Who in 1964, and his uniquely frenetic and powerful drumming quickly became an integral part of the band's sound. His contributions can be heard on virtually all of the band's material through its 1978 album Who Are You.

The drummer's madcap antics, destructive behavior and rock-star indulgences soon earned him the nickname "Moon the Loon." When guitarist Pete Townshend famously smashed his instrument at the end of many of The Who's concerts, Keith would often join in and destroy his drum kit.

Moon also was notorious for trashing hotel room, with a penchant for blowing up toilets with cherry bombs and smashing TV sets.  He also famously drove a Lincoln Continental into a swimming pool at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, though accounts of what exactly happened that night differ.

Outside of the band, Moon released one solo album, 1975's Two Sides of the Moon, which featured an impressive list of guest musicians but was poorly received. He appeared in several films, including Frank Zappa's 200 Motels and the 1975 adaptation of The Who's rock opera Tommy.

Among the other famous drummers who've cited Moon as a major influence: Rush's Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, Blondie's Clem Burke and current Who drummer Zak Starkey.

Keith was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with The Who in 1990.  Who frontman Roger Daltrey has been talking about making a Keith Moon biopic for several years.

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