Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll, and the money to be earned in music have made it such that crime and controversy are never far away. The annuls of pop culture are littered with tales of singers who have either been accused of murder or found guilty of the crime. Hell, you can’t even go through a single awards ceremony without some conflict breaking out. Such a calamity was always made possible by Keith Moon’s irresponsible behavior.
According to Far Out Magazine, Pete Townshend recalled, “Keith Moon, God rest his soul, once drove his car through the glass doors of a hotel, driving all the way up to the reception desk, got out and asked for the key to his room.”
This should have been a warning sign that ‘antics’ were being taken a bit too far; in current times, this appears inconsistent with cancel culture and helps to improve the perception of the word; yet, during the rock ‘n’ roll period, this was regrettably tolerated.
Keith Moon’s highwire acts are very highly known. In reality, he nearly died himself when he flew in a helicopter unannouncedly to Oliver Reed’s house. Reed then attempted to shoot the unwelcome chopper out of the sky while he was standing on his roof in nothing but a bathrobe. His life would also come to represent the extremes of the music industry’s sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll culture.
A gang of neighborhood skinheads blocked Moon’s car in 1970 after a night out in a pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, because they didn’t like his flashy behavior. Neil Boland, Moon’s chauffeur, got out of the car to try to diffuse the situation as Moon stayed inside. Later, the drummer became terrified that the mob would assault him and, in an effort to save his party, he climbed behind the wheel and drove the car through the crowd while inebriated and without a license or insurance.
Unbeknownst to everyone in the automobile, Boland had unfortunately been trapped under the car as he continued to drive. Moon then accelerated away, dragging Boland down the street. That evening, he passed away in the hospital.
Moon was first accused with killing Boland and other related driving offenses. He was ultimately exonerated since the death was determined to be unintentional, but he was nonetheless found responsible for the driving infractions. As stated by the judge in court records: “You had no choice but to act the way you did and no moral culpability is attached to you.”
It would be a devastating incident in Moon’s brief life that would follow him till his untimely death at the age of 32. Looking back on the incident more than 50 years later, it appears to have been careless and tragically in keeping with his career’s ups and downs.