What was Keith Moon’s Net Worth?
Keith Moon was an English drummer who had a net worth equal to $10 million at the time of his death in 1978. That’s the same as around $40 million today after adjusting for inflation. Moon was best known for being the drummer for the band The Who alongside Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, and John Entwistle. While Keith was with the Who, they released eight studio albums, including “The Who Sell Out” (1967), “Quadrophenia” (1973), and “Who Are You” (1978), and the band has sold more than 100 million records since their 1965 debut, “My Generation.”
The long-term value of Moon’s estate has been estimated at $70 million to $100 million. Keith released the solo album “Two Sides of the Moon” in 1975, and that year he also played Uncle Ernie in the film “Tommy,” which was based on the Who’s 1969 rock opera of the same name. Moon came in at #2 in a 2011 “Rolling Stone” readers’ poll of “The Best Drummers of All Time,” and in 1982, he was posthumously inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. Sadly, Keith died of a Heminevrin overdose in September 1978.
Keith Moon was born Keith John Moon on August 23, 1946, in Wembley, England. He was the son of Kathleen and Alfred Moon, and he had two sisters, Lesley and Linda. Keith was an imaginative, hyperactive child, and he loved music from an early age. Moon studied at Alperton Secondary Modern School, and at age 12, he began playing bugle with the local Sea Cadet Corps band. After deciding that the bugle was too difficult, he switched to drums and would often practice at Macari’s Music Studio. Keith dropped out of school when he was 14 years old, then he attended Harrow Technical College. He worked as a radio repairman, making enough money to buy his first drum set.
Moon took drum lessons from Carlo Little of the rock group Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages and joined the band the Escorts. In late 1962, he became a member of the cover band the Beachcombers, and in 1964, he auditioned to replace Doug Sandom in the Who and was invited to join the band. The Who’s first album, “My Generation,” was released on Brunswick Records on December 3, 1965. The U.S. version was titled “The Who Sings My Generation,” and it was released on Decca Records in April 1966. The album reached #5 on the UK Albums Chart and was certified Gold. The single “My Generation” was a top 10 hit in the U.K., Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Who followed their debut with 1966’s “A Quick One” (U.K.) / “Happy Jack” (U.S.), which reached #4 in the U.K. and went Gold in France. Their third album, 1967’s “The Who Sell Out,” featured the single “I Can See for Miles,” which remains their biggest U.S. hit, peaking at #9 on the “Billboard” Hot 100 chart. The 1969 album “Tommy” was certified 2x Platinum in the U.S., and it cracked the top 10 in several countries. In the U.K., the single “Pinball Wizard” reached #4 on the charts and was certified Silver. “Tommy” was adapted into a film in 1975 and a Broadway musical in 1992; the film earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, and the musical received 10 Tony nominations, including Best Musical.
The Who’s 1971 album “Who’s Next” reached #1 in the U.K. and #2 in France, and it was certified 3× Platinum in the U.S. The album featured what would become two of their most well-known songs, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and “Baba O’Riley.” The band’s next two albums, 1973’s “Quadrophenia” and 1975’s “The Who by Numbers,” went Platinum in the U.S. and Gold in the U.K. Keith released the solo album “Two Sides of the Moon” in 1975, and it featured performances from David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh, and Harry Nilsson. Moon’s final album with the Who was 1978’s “Who Are You,” which was released just a few weeks before his death. The album was certified 2× Platinum in the U.S. and Canada, and the title track went on to become the “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” theme song in 2000. (“Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” and “I Can See for Miles” also became theme songs for shows in the “CSI” franchise.) Keith composed several of the Who’s songs, including “I Need You,” “Girl’s Eyes,” and “In The City,” and he produced “Baba O’Riley’s” violin solo. Moon collaborated with Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Nicky Hopkins on the 1966 instrumental “Beck’s Bolero,” and he was a background vocalist on the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” in 1967.
Keith began a relationship with Kim Kerrigan after meeting at the Le Disque a Go! Go! in January 1965. The couple was expecting a child by the end of the year, and they married on March 17, 1966, at the Brent Register Office. They welcomed daughter Amanda on July 12th, and she was kept secret from the press for the next two years. Moon was sometimes violent toward Kerrigan, and she left him in 1973. Their divorce was finalized in 1975. That year Keith began dating model Annette Walter-Lax, and they remained together until his death. In 1970, patrons of the Red Lion pub in Hertfordshire began attacking Moon’s car, and as he drove away to escape them, he accidentally hit and killed Neil Boland, his friend, bodyguard, and driver. The death was ruled an accident, and Keith received an absolute discharge. Moon was reportedly “haunted” by Boland’s death and had nightmares about the tragic accident.
Keith was known for destroying hotel rooms and his friends’ homes, often while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Moon enjoyed flushing explosives down the toilet, starting out with cherry bombs and later moving to M-80 fireworks and dynamite, and he once said, “All that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable. I never realised dynamite was so powerful.” Partially due to Keith’s destructive tendencies, the band racked up debt, and John Entwistle said that they lost an estimated £150,000. Moon was also reckless with money, and his profit from the Who’s 1975 UK tour was only £47.35. During the last few years of Keith’s life, his substance abuse began to affect his performance, causing him to pass out in the middle of concerts. In August 1976, he spent eight days at Hollywood Memorial Hospital, and the band worried that he wouldn’t be able to finish the tour.
In mid-1978, Moon moved into a London flat owned by Harry Nilsson; “Mama Cass” Elliott died in the home in 1974. Keith began taking Heminevrin, a drug he had been prescribed to alleviate symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and he had been instructed to take one pill when he craved alcohol. By September, Moon was having trouble playing drums, and roadie Dave “Cy” Langston said in one instance, “After two or three hours, he got more and more sluggish, he could barely hold a drum stick.” On September 6th, Keith and Annette Walter-Lax attended a screening of “The Buddy Holly Story” with Paul and Linda McCartney. After returning home, Keith asked Annette to cook steak and eggs for him, and when she objected, Moon uttered what would end up being his last words: “If you don’t like it, you can f**k off!” Walter-Lax found Moon dead the next afternoon, and an autopsy revealed that there were 32 clomethiazole pills (only six of them digested) in Keith’s system at the time of his death. He was cremated on September 13th at London’s Golders Green Crematorium.
Awards and Honors
In 1978, Moon was named Best Drummer by the “NME” Awards, and the Who earned a Brit Award nomination for British Group in 1977. Dave Marsh’s “The New Book of Rock Lists” ranked Keith #1 on its “The 50 Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Drummers” list, and “Rolling Stone” readers voted him the tenth-greatest dead rock star in 2011. In 2009, the UK’s Heritage Foundation posthumously honored Moon with a blue plaque outside the Marquee Club, where the Who performed in the ’60s.
In 1971, Moon paid £65,000 for an 1,100 square foot home in Chertsey, Surrey, known as Tara. He sold the four-bedroom home to Kevin Godley of the band 10cc in 1975, and it was demolished in 1990.